“Czech Cultural Evening: Beer as Cultural Diplomacy”

(Berlin, ICD House; April 25th, 2013)

The Event was organized by Ludmila Vávrová
On the evening of Thursday, April 25th, 2013, ICD intern Ludmila Vávrová hosted a Czech Cultural Evening as part of the Europe Meets Russia Conference: A Forum for Young Leaders. The aim of the event was to inform and educate participants about several elements of Czech culture, placing particular emphasis on one of the country’s most well-known exports- beer. The evening began with a short presentation from Ludmila which gave the audience a brief introduction to the culture of the Czech Republic. The audience learned that the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, and is also the source of the world’s first Pilsner beer. Towards the end of the presentation, several members of the audience debated whether Czechs should be proud of being so well-known for their love of beer, considering that several Russian members of the audience stated that they disliked the stereotypical association of Russia with vodka, and this debate provoked several impassioned arguments from participants.

After the presentation, the audience sat down to watch the Czech film Kolya, which won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film focuses on the relationship between a Czech-speaking man and a Russian-speaking boy who is placed in his care, and their gradual warming to one another despite initial language barriers. The film was therefore highly fitting, as it presents Cultural Diplomacy in a variety of ways.

After the film screening, participants headed downstairs where they were treated to a variety of Czech beers, as well as delicious Czech potato pancakes and traditional sweet cakes which were specially homemade for the event by Ludmila. This conclusion to the Czech Cultural Evening allowed the Russian and European participants of the EMR Conference, as well as ICD interns and staff, to discuss the film and other elements of Czech Cultural Diplomacy in an informal and relaxed setting.