New US ambassador visited Palacký University

Left to right: Vice-Rector Michal Malacka, US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Bijan Sabet, US Cultural Attaché Natalie Wilkins, and Vice-Rector Jiří Stavovčík. The photographs below were taken at the American Center Olomouc.
Photos: Martin Višňa
Thursday 20 April 2023, 8:00 – Text: Martin Višňa

Olomouc and Palacký University are among the first places to give a warm working welcome to the new US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Bijan Sabet. During his visit, he met with vice-rectors Michal Malacka and Jiří Stavovčík, gave a lecture for high school students at the American Center, and took part in the Václav Havel European Dialogues debate held at the Faculty of Arts.

The ambassador arrived at the university accompanied by cultural attaché Natalie Wilkins. They were welcomed at the Rector’s Office by Vice-Rector for Strategy and External Relations Michal Malacka and Vice-Rector for Internationalisation Jiří Stavovčík.

“We discussed university development in the sense of our alma mater’s societal and community outreach to the city and region of Olomouc. We also talked about possibilities of cooperating with the US Embassy to bring American investors to the city and region. In this connection, the ambassador was also interested in the joint efforts of the university and local government to keep young people in the region,” Stavovčík summarised.

After the Rector’s Office, Sabet traveled to the American Center, which opened its premises last year at 8 tř. Svobody Avenue, where students from Olomouc’s Čajkovského high school awaited him. The students were interested not only whether the ambassador had learned some Czech, but also whom or what he missed being away from home. The ambassador spoke on a broad range of topics, from the possibilities of studying in the USA to the economic growth of China. “Meeting young people has always charged me with positive energy. You asked me some pretty tough questions, for which I truly thank you. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed for your further education,” the ambassador told the audience, which included his wife Lauren.

In the afternoon, Sabet took part in the debate “Europe in a Clash of Two Worlds”, hosted by Prague’s Václav Havel Library together with the Department of Political Science and European Studies at the Faculty of Arts. The ambassador praised the first Czech president as a visionary and recalled his influence on the transformation of Central Europe.

Ambassador Sabet did not spend all his time in Olomouc in the ivory tower. He enjoyed the view from the tower of St Wenceslas Cathedral, and did not shy from sampling Olomouc’s celebrated pungent cheese.


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