Press Advisories

4. 4. 2016 1:45

Prime Minister greets Czech compatriots in Washington, DC, Minneapolis and LA

Předseda vlády Bohuslav Sobotka se v neděli 3. dubna 2016 v Los Angeles setkal s krajany.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka Sunday 3. April 2016 in Los Angeles met with compatriots.
During his working trip around the United States, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met Czech compatriots at all stops along the way. This was the Prime Minister’s way of appreciating the contribution made by the numerous compatriot associations that help to raise the profile of the Czech Republic and spread its reputation abroad.

At meetings in Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Prime Minister Sobotka acknowledged and thanked compatriot organisations, which maintain warm relations with the Czech homeland and, in their activities, contribute to a better understanding between the Czech Republic and the US. Historically speaking, they also played a hand in the emergence of the independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 and, after 1989, supported the Czech Republic’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. “The Government values highly the work that these associations do and treats them as an important component of Czech-American relations,” said Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, noting that meetings with compatriots are a regular feature of his trips abroad. He had also greeted Czech compatriots in the US during his first visit in November 2014.

“Generally speaking, numerous prominent figures of Czech and Czechoslovak origin live in the US, and they all deserve our thanks for representing our shared homeland in such a dignified way,” added the Prime Minister.

In Washington, DC, the Prime Minister met one of the best-known compatriots, the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Prime Minister held talks with Fred Malek, Chairman of the American Friends of the Czech Republic, which is one of the most active compatriot organisations, drawing together not only emigrants from the Czech Republic and their descendants, but also figures from both countries who work to promote the development of Czech-American relations.

In Minneapolis, the Prime Minister met over two hundred compatriots at a building run by Sokol. This is the physical-education association’s oldest functioning facility in America and the hub of Czech compatriot life in Minnesota, providing a backdrop for a raft of Czech clubs. Minnesota and the American Midwest were historically generally one of the natural centres of Czech immigration in the 19th century, and to this day there is still a town here called New Prague, along with smaller, originally Czech settlements called Trebon, Budejovice, Beroun and Veseli.

During his visit to California the Prime Minister greeted compatriots in Los Angeles and tomorrow in San Francisco will open the fifth year of the successful film festival Czech That Film, held to promote recently shot movies by Czech directors.

The US is home to the world’s largest Czech compatriot community, numbering some 1.7 million people. There are approximately 200 Czech compatriot associations in the country, too. The Government makes regular contributions to their cultural and educational activities through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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