Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček handed out Medal of Merit awards
to 14 people who assisted the Czech Republic’s entry to NATO 20 years
Among the laureates was the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who was a leading voice in advocating for expansion of the military alliance to central Europe, former NATO secretary general Javier Solana and his successor in the post George Robertson, officials who headed NATO at the time of the country’s admission and during its first years in the alliance.
On the home scene, the awards went to the former foreign ministers Jaroslav Šedivý, Jan Kavan and Karel Schwarzenberg, former defence ministers Vladimír Vetchý, Alexandr Vondra and Luboš Dobrovský as well as former army chiefs of staff Jiří Nekvasil and Jiří Šedivý.
Among the recipients of the state awards handed out by President Miloš Zeman on October 28, was Karel Lánský – a legend of Czech Radio broadcasting. For eight dramatic days after the Soviet led-invasion of Czechoslovakia Lánský and his team kept independent Czechoslovak Radio on the airwaves, broadcasting from secret locations in Prague and running the operation from his flat close to the radio’s Vinohrady headquarters.
The Czech Republic capped of celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding on Sunday with display of fireworks – and firepower – after a weekend packed full of parades, memorial acts and speeches, and concerts, as well as a dazzling video mapping on the façade of the newly re-opened National Museum atop Prague’s iconic Wenceslas Square.
Sunday’s celebrations of 100 years of Czechoslovak independence will also bear witness to the traditional state decorations ceremony at Prague Castle, which President Miloš Zeman will bestow on selected members of the public. This year’s recipients include universally respected personalities such as the two-time Olympic gold medallist, Ester Ledecká, retired tennis player Radek Štěpánek, or head of the anti-Nazi resistance movement, Josef Bílý, but also controversial figures including businessman Pavol Krúpa and singer Michal David.
President Miloš Zeman will present pop singer Michal David with state
honours on October 28, the day marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s
David, whose birth name is Vladimír Štancl, studied at the Prague Conservatory in the 1970s where he formed a jazz band. He became a major pop star in the 1980s with synthesizer-heavy disco tunes such as “Non stop”.
His made a comeback in 1998 when he composed and sang the "hymn" for the Czech national ice hockey team, which that year won the Nagano Winter Olympics. Since then, he has composed and produced several hit musicals.
Zeman said in an interview with the tabloid Blesk that he would be honouring David for his life’s work in making Czech people’s lives better.
Twenty-one leading personalities from the field of science, culture, sport
and public life were awarded the Silver Commemorative Medal of the Senate
by the chairman of the upper chamber, Milan Štěch, on Thursday evening on
the occasion of Czech Statehood Day on September 28.
The tradition of honouring people who excel in their profession and have contributed to promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad was established in 2012.
This year‘s laureates include the rector of Charles University, Tomáš Zima, Olympic medallist rower Ondřej Synek and musician Vladimír Mišík.
President Miloš Zeman says he will bestow the highest state honour in
memoriam on interwar politician Antonín Švehla on October 28, the
centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Speaking at an agricultural
trade fair in České Budějovice on Thursday, Mr. Zeman said he wished to
honour Švehla as the founder of the Agrarian Party and a supporter of
In an address, the president also said he would support projects of all sizes aimed at combating drought, including a canal linking the Danube, Odra and Labe (Elbe) rivers, which he has long backed.
Antonín Švehla was prime minister of Czechoslovakia for six years during the First Republic and headed the Agrarian Party from 1909 to his death in 1933.
Snowboard champion Ester Ledecká, footballer Petr Čech and poet Karel
Sýs are among the 28 nominees for a state award proposed by the lower
house of Parliament. War veterans Josef Ocelka, Josef Bernát and
Květoslav Prokeš have been nominated for state awards in memoriam.
The country’s highest state distinctions – The Order of T.G. Masaryk, the Order of the White Lion and medals of merit are traditionally handed out by the president on October 28th, Czechoslovak Independence Day. Nominations are put forward by both houses of parliament and the president.
This year the anniversary will be especially important since it marks 100 years since the birth of Czechoslovakia.
President Miloš Zeman awarded high state distinctions to 39 Czech and
foreign personalities on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day. The
gala ceremony at Prague Castle marked 99 years since the founding of
Among the foreign laureates were the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the former president of Slovenia Borut Pahor and the former mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl who all received the country’s highest state distinction, the Order of the White Lion.
Among the Czech personalities who received awards were speed-skater Martina Sábliková, singer Jaromír Nohavica and film director Zdenek Troška.