Foreign Ministry hands out Gratias Agit Awards

Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický on Friday handed out Gratias Agit awards to Czech expatriates and foreigners for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.

Among this year’s recipients were three Russians who in 1968 protested against the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia, paying a high price for their courage and solidarity.

Tatyana Bayeva, Pavel Litvinov and Viktor Fajnberg are the last three surviving protesters of a group of eight who staged a protest on Moscow’s Red Square. They were punished by severe jail sentences or locked up in psychiatric institutions.

Other laureates of the Gratias Agit Awards are physician Watheq Al-Qsous from Jordan who is the chief coordinator of the government’s medical aid program Medevac which has helped thousands of Syrian refugees, Estanislao Kocourek, an architect of Czech origin and the builder of the first high-rise buildings to appear in Buenos Aires and Jiri Šíma one of the leading experts in the field of water management and environmental protection who has been applying his experience in Ethiopia, South Africa and Namibia.