20. 11. 2009 11:51

The Prime Minister Jan Fischer awarded world-renowned scientists with the Prime Minister's Medal.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the communist regimes in East-Central Europe

and the holding of the international conference, "DROPPING, MAINTAINING AND BREAKING THE IRON CURTAIN: The Cold War and East-Central Europe twenty years later", the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer, has decided to award the "Memorial Medal of Karel Kramář" to the following internationally-renowned scholars who have been, or sadly in the case of one posthumous award who were, particularly prominent in promoting a knowledge of modern Czech (Czechoslovak) history on the international stage.

Memorial Medal of Karel Kramář

The historians awarded are:

Thomas Blanton is Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Besides his expertise in the area of American policy during the later phases of the Cold War, Thomas Blanton has, by means of an adroit application of pressure where appropriate, contributed significantly to law enforcement and to the right of free access to information. Since becoming Director of the National Security Archive, he has played an outstanding part in disseminating a sound knowledge of modern Czechoslovak history internationally, and has been responsible for the publication of several key source works on the history of post-war Czechoslovakia.

Saki Ruth Dockrill (in memoriam): a British historian of Japanese origin who was based at King’s College in London, Professor Dockrill was a pre-eminent authority in the field of strategic studies and in the history of international relations. In five major academic monographs she examined, among other matters, British and American security policy in the 1950s and 1960s, and the reasons why the Cold War ended. Other studies of hers looked at the policy of Great Britain and the West towards Czechoslovakia at the end of the 1960s, and most recently at the threat of nuclear conflict posed by North Korea. It had been her intention to present a paper at the Prague Conference entitled The lingering controversy over the ‘End’ of the Cold War. Regretfully, however, Professor Dockrill passed away on 8 August 2009 at the age of 56 after losing her four-year struggle with leukemia.

Mark Kramer is a leading historian of the Cold War epoch. As well as being a professor at Harvard University, he is the director of The Harvard Project for Cold War Studies and is also a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. His analysis of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in the context of the Cold War is a landmark in comparative research. In his writings, Professor Kramer has paid particular attention to the Prague Spring of 1968 and indeed was one of the guiding lights behind the creation and publication of The Prague Spring: a National Security Archive Documents Reader.

Vojtěch Mastný is probably the most well-known historian of Czech origin working in the international arena today. He is the founder and director of The Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (currently The Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security). Through his highly esteemed books and studies, he has not only fundamentally deepened understanding of post-war Soviet expansion into the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia, but has also added considerably to the store of knowledge in many other areas of interest, such as, for instance, Czech national resistance during the years of the Nazi Occupation.

Alex Pravda is the director of the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at St Anthony’s College of Oxford University. He is a leading expert in current research into the former Soviet Union and in the explication of political processes in contemporary Russia. On the international level he takes his place among the most notable scholars of Czech origin active in the field of humanities and social science.

Vilém Prečan is a distinguished Czech historian and editor of archival material. His numerous publications and source editions have illuminated many key episodes in the history of modern Czechoslovakia, especially activities of home and foreign resistance and dissent, and most recently also the events in Czechoslovakia in 1989 in the international context. After moving to Germany in 1976, Vilém Prečan set up and directed the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre of Independent Literature. Later, on his eventual return to his homeland, he became the founder and the first director of the Institute for Contemporary History of the Czechoslovak (from 1993 Czech) Academy of Sciences.

William Taubman is a professor of political science at Amherst College and a distinguished U.S. contemporary historian. In his books and articles he provided insightful analysis of the power mechanisms that operated in the communist regimes of the post-war decades, particularly in the period of Sovietization of Central and Eastern Europe, the Khrushchev era and most recently the dissolution of the Soviet block.

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