Conference participants

The Masaryk Days 2023: The responsibility of intellectuals

Political scientist and university teacher. His work focuses on modern Czech politics, municipal politics, the relationship between church and state, and the study of non-democratic regimes. His professional career is linked to Masaryk University, where he has been the Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies since 2019. In addition, he is also the editor of the journal Kontexty and the author of numerous scholarly publications.

Professor of Neurology and since 2019 Rector of Masaryk University. Already when he took up the position of rector, he defined the topic of the social role of the university as one of the most important in his mandate. His research specializes in motor disorders, Parkinson's disease, dystonia, essential tremor, and spasticity. Since 2015, he is also an adjunct professor at the Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota Medical School.

Barbara Day, M.B.E., Ph.D.

British theatre scholar, translator, writer, and teacher. She graduated in dramatics from the University of Manchester and then, in the mid-1960s, studied Czech theatre in Prague. She worked in theatres in London, Bromley, Stoke on Trent, and Bristol, where she later applied to university and wrote her dissertation on the Czech theatre of the 1960s. Since 1985 she has worked for the Jan Hus Educational Foundation. After the Velvet Revolution, she moved to the Czech Republic and was involved in the development of the non-profit sector. She has been teaching for many years at CERGE-UPCES in Prague and at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts. She works as a translator for a number of renowned institutions and publishes. In 1998, she received a commemorative medal from President Václav Havel.

Jiří Hanuš is a professor of general history in the Department of History at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University. He specializes in 19th and 20th century religious and cultural history and his current research is focused on the roots of modern European culture and education in historical, philosophical and anthropological perspectives. He is also a member of the Brno journal Kontexty’s editorial board and currently holds the position of the Vice-Rector of MU.

Mgr. Daniel Kroupa, Ph.D.

Philosopher, politician, and university teacher. After he was not allowed to continue his studies after 1970, he was active in the circle around Václav Havel and Jan Patočka, participated in the organisation of housing seminars, and became a signatory of Charta 77. After 1989, he served in the Czechoslovak and Czech parliaments, as a deputy and senator, and briefly as a member of the European Parliament. After leaving politics, he focused on social services and teaching, especially at the J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, where he headed the Department of Political Science and Philosophy until 2015.

He studied political science and history at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. After his studies, he took several professional courses in the field of security policy and management. In the past he worked at the Military Academy in Brno and CEVRO Institute, o.p.s. He currently teaches at the Department of International Relations and European Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University. He specializes in international security, history of armed conflicts and civil-military relations.

She studied International Relations and European Studies and Political Science at the Faculty of Social Studies of MU, where she has been an assistant professor at the Department of International Relations and European Studies since 2007. Her research focuses on the foreign policy of the Russian Federation after 1991 with regard to Russia's relations with the European Union, the changes in the European Union's legislation, its common agricultural policy, and its activities east of the EU's borders. Since 2004, she has also been a research fellow at the independent Centre for the Study of Democracy and Culture in Brno, where she is an analyst.

Mgr. Jaroslav Kurfürst, Ph.D.

Diplomat and political geographer. Before joining the diplomatic service, he worked as a teacher, then at Czech embassies in the Russian Federation, the United States, and Belgium. He has also written about Russian geopolitics and transatlantic security in his books. He currently holds the position of Deputy of the European Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Ing. Jiří Müller

Jiří Müller studied at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. He was expelled from his studies after 1968 for his activities in the student movement and graduated in 1990. From 1971-1976 he was imprisoned for subversion of the republic. After his release, he signed Charter 77 and with his wife Bronia organized a samizdat publishing house and an underground university. From 1981 until December 1989 he was prosecuted at large for subversion of the republic in association with a foreign power. In 1985 he founded the samizdat edition Prameny in Brno, which included political, political science, philosophical, scientific and artistic texts. After 1989 he was one of the representatives of the Civic Forum. Since 1990, he has been involved in politics (he served on the Czech National Council), intelligence services (he was director of the Czechoslovak counterintelligence), and non-profit organizations (the Charter 77 Foundation, the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, and the Adra Foundation). His most intensive cooperation with Masaryk University was in 1999-2001, when he was a member of its Board of Trustees. He is a recipient of the Brno City Prize. He is proposed to be awarded the Roger Scruton Medal for his contribution to the defence of human dignity and human rights.

prof. Mgr. Petr Oslzlý

Theatre dramaturg, scriptwriter, actor, and teacher. During his studies of theatre science, he was already in contact with the Brno experimental theatre scene, from 1972 he worked as a dramaturg of the Husa na provázku Theatre, later he repeatedly became its artistic director and stands behind its key productions. During the 1980s he participated in the organisation of the "underground university". In 1989 he co-founded the “Občanské forum” and in the early 1990s, he was a cultural advisor to President Václav Havel. He lectured at the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University and especially at the Faculty of Theatre at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts, where he served as a rector between 2017 and 2022.

doc. JUDr. Petr Pithart, dr. h. c.

Politician, lawyer, and writer, one of the most important personalities of Czechoslovak and Czech post-socialist history. In the early 1960s, he first worked at the university ground at the Prague Law Faculty. After 1989, when he had to leave the academic sphere, he contributed to samizdat publications, signed Charter 77, and was an important personality of Czech dissent. During the Velvet Revolution, he was involved in the “Občanské forum”, and subsequently became chairman of the Czech government and deputy chairman of the federal government of Marian Čalfa. After the establishment of the Senate in 1996, he was elected its first President and then Vice President. In addition to his political career, he returned to Charles University in the 1990s, where he headed the Department of Political Science and Sociology until 2011.

PhDr. Miroslav Pospíšil

Miroslav Pospíšil studied English and German at the Faculty of Arts of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Brno. He worked at the faculty for a short time, but had to leave it due to its negative personnel profile. In the 1980s, he co-organised seminars of the underground university with Jiří Müller and Petr Oslzlý. In 1987 he returned to the faculty and worked there until 1994. In November 1989 he was a member of the strike committee of the Faculty of Philosophy and a member of the Brno Civic Forum. In 1989-1991 he held the position of Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. In 1990 he co-founded and headed the Czechoslovak Jan Hus Educational Foundation until 2001. At the same time, he was active in many organizations and boards of the non-profit sector in the Czech Republic and abroad. After leaving the Foundation, he first worked for a year as a research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and upon his return he founded the Centre for Nonprofit Sector Research, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, which he headed until 2014. The proposal for the Roger Scruton Medal is for his contribution to the defence of human dignity and human rights.

Sophie Scruton

Sophie Scruton worked with Sir Roger Scruton from 1999 to establish Horsell’s Farm Enterprises, a firm that brought together all their interests. While Roger gave lectures around the world building a network of followers, Sophie built strong links with farmers, conservationists, and local historians. The small farms surrounding Sundey Hill Farm, the Scruton family home, were struggling in the business of turning grass into meat and milk. The solution, they felt, was to turn grass into ideas, and bring profit to the farm and the neighbourhood. Their project culminated in the Scrutopia Summer School programme where philosophy and friendship are cultivated.

Russian historian, religious scholar, and teacher. He studied international relations in Moscow and served as head of the Department of Religious History at the Russian Orthodox University. He collaborated with Alexander Solzhenitsyn on the preparation of the important publication History of Russia in the 20th Century and subsequently became its chief editor. He has long been opposed to the current political leadership of the Russian Federation, which led to his forced departure from the country. He now works at Masaryk University, where he lectures on modern Russian history.

Mgr. Michael Žantovský

Diplomat, psychologist, translator, publicist, and politician. After studying psychology, he worked in the 1970s at the Psychiatric Research Institute in a hospital in Bohnice, Prague. He then worked as a translator, interpreter, publicist, and songwriter. During the November revolution, he worked as a spokesman for the “Občanské forum”, then became a spokesman for President Havel, and subsequently held the post of ambassador to the USA and later to Israel and Great Britain. In 1996 he was also elected to the Senate for one term. He has been taking care of Václav Havel's legacy for a long time, and since 2015 he has been managing the library named after the first Czech president.

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