On the 5th of March, an event called Through Dialogue to One’s Own Identity, a panel discussion between respected public figures, members of academia and especially students, took place in the main auditorium of the University of Pardubice.
The event drew a lot of attention, students filled the auditorium to the last place. Those who did not get in watched the discussion on screens in the corridors. Various socio-cultural and ethical issues were addressed, the legacy of T. G. Masaryk was discussed and some speakers also touched on domestic and global political affairs. The goal of the event was to foster individual values and cultural and political awareness so as to “empower the individual to break free from the role of a small and powerless person”.
The panelists included prof. RNDr. Libor Grubhoffer, CSc., Rector of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Šimon Pánek, Managing Director of the non-profit organization People in Need and the best known Velvet Revolution student leader, or prof. PhDr. Karel Rýdl, CSc., Vice-Rector for education and student affairs, who is also a scholar in the history of education. The discussion was hosted by prof. Ing. Miroslav Ludwig, CSc., Rector of the University of Pardubice.
Students and the elite
The representatives of academia reminded the audience of the times when freedom of speech was suppressed, and encouraged the students to boldly step up and make their opinions known. This is important because the key tool to engage in a public debate is the refinement of public dialogue, which should go hand in hand with the ability to clearly and accurately formulate one’s own ideas and opinions. It is the students, the future elite, who are expected to actively participate in the public dialogue. “Our goal is to foster individual values and cultural and political awareness of our students so that our cultural identity is reinforced, which would in turn lead to decrease in dangerous plebeian and seemingly democratic attempts at manipulation,” explained Ing. Andrea Koblížková, Ph.D., organizer of the event.
Students asked intriguing questions
The students also joined in the discussion and asked the panelists various questions. To do that, they could use the microphone or pass their questions on in writing. The speakers commented on current domestic and global events, discussed the media, and responded to several specific questions regarding studying at the university. The speakers tried to answer all questions they received.
Because the event drew a lot of attention, all participants agreed that a similar discussion should be held again in the future.
Rector of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice prof. RNDr. Libor Grubhoffer, CSc. and Rector of the University of Pardubice prof. Ing. Miroslav Ludwig, CSc.
Jan Bílek, student contributor
Department of Promotion and Public Relations of the University of Pardubice