Sir Robert Scruton and Andrej B. Zubov

The Masaryk Days 2023: The responsibility of intellectuals

This year Masaryk Days is dedicated to two important personalities - Sir Roger Scruton and Professor Andrej B. Zubov. They represent examples of intellectuals who have resisted or defied undemocratic regimes and create role models not only for male and female academics but also for students and all those who are not indifferent to the principles of freedom, justice, and human dignity.

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Sir Roger Scruton

Masaryk University will commemorate Sir Roger Scruton, its honorary doctor who contributed to the preservation of the university idea in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s, on Thursday 2nd of march during the first day of the Masaryk Days programme. The commemorative contributions will present his life story, work, and inspiration.

Sir Roger Scruton (1944–2020) was British philosopher, aesthetician, political scientist, and writer, after studying aesthetics at Cambridge, he lectured at universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. For nearly 20 years, his name was also associated with the conservative journal The Salisbury Review, and he wrote more than 50 books dominated by conservative perspectives. From the late 1970s he was involved in the activities of the so-called Underground University, which was organised by the dissent in formerly communist Czechoslovakia, for which he was awarded the Medal of Merit after the Velvet Revolution. His links to the Czech environment continued after 1989 when he co-founded the Jan Hus Educational Foundation and was active in the Czech PEN Club and the Society for Science and Art. In 2016, he was knighted for his merits in the field of education.

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Andrej B. Zubov

The theme of the second day of Masaryk Days is the current state of democracy in Russia and the role of Russian intellectuals at home and abroad. The keynote lecture will be given by Andrej B. Zubov, whose theses will be responded to by guests from Prague and Brno.

Andrej B. Zubov is a 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.

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