President Petr Pavel Engages in Thoughtful Debate at Palacky University in Olomouc Region

President Petr Pavel embarked on a two-day visit to the Olomouc Region, commencing with a vibrant exchange of ideas with students at the Faculty of Arts of Palacky University. The event, which took place today, witnessed an enthusiastic turnout, with the auditorium, accommodating around 200 seats, filling up within minutes of the registration launch.

The President’s visit to Olomouc includes engagements in the northern part of the region on the same day, with a return to Olomouc scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to visit the headquarters of the ground forces command.

During the discussion at the Faculty of Arts, students addressed a spectrum of political topics, including matters concerning the Western Balkans, China, and the funding of universities. President Pavel expressed his conviction that it is the right time for a comprehensive dialogue on university funding, emphasizing the importance of involving external experts not affiliated with government institutions to devise effective mechanisms for the system.

Regarding the recent proposal by Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova for the Czech Republic to exit the UN in response to its resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict, President Pavel underscored the significance of critical opinions that drive societal progress. He expressed that despite the challenges faced by the UN in certain areas, the solution does not lie in withdrawal but in seeking ways to enhance the organization’s effectiveness.

Slovak students inquired about President Pavel’s perspective on the direction of Slovakia following the general election in September. While acknowledging the sensitivity of commenting on another sovereign country’s internal affairs, the President expressed hope that any heated rhetoric was part of the election campaign and that cooperation between the two nations would remain open and unified.

Dean Jan Stejskal, who heads the Faculty of Arts, highlighted that this visit marked the third high-profile visit to the faculty, with previous visits by Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century and President Vaclav Havel, who received an honorary doctorate from the faculty during his term.

The faculty introduced a reservation system due to the auditorium’s limited capacity, and seats were swiftly booked, reflecting the significance of the visit. Dean Stejskal expressed satisfaction at being part of the President’s program, interpreting it as a sign of respect for Palacky University and the humanities and social sciences it champions.

President Pavel’s visit itinerary also includes meetings with the Olomouc Regional Office, interactions with residents in the Jeseniky mountain area, and a debate with inhabitants in Javornik, Jeseniky, to conclude today’s program. On Tuesday, the President will visit a company in Jesenik, engage in discussions with mayors from Jesenik and Sumperk, and tour a manually operated paper mill in Velke Losiny, near Sumperk.

Article by Prague Forum

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