On August 14, 2019, the International School Network visited the Embassy of the Czech Republic to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Martin Tomčo.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo explained that education in the Czech Republic is a significant focus, as apparent by its free tuition universities. The nation is also very innovative, with its strengths in natural and medical sciences. H.E. Mr. Tomčo noted that there are many Japanese students, including medical, cultural, and linguistic students, who study in the Czech Republic.
As a nation with over 1000 years of history, H.E. Mr. Tomčo noted that culture is "almost everywhere" in the Czech Republic. Czech art is rich in various forms, including classical music and architecture. H.E. Mr. Tomčo recommends tourists to visit the castles in the Czech Republic, which the nation has about 2000! H.E. Mr. Tomčo stated that "every Czech is a musician." There is also an internationally well-known Slavik painter, Mucha, whose art exhibitions are popular in Japan.
As a nation in the heart of Europe, H.E. Mr. Tomčo explained that the Czech Republic is a globalized nation united in the diversity of languages and cultures. H.E. Mr. Tomčo noted that cuisine in the Czech Republic is also influenced by central Europe, with famous sweets and cakes similar to those in Austria.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo described Czech people as being honest, open, and straightforward. This is also well-captured in the nation's motto, "Truth Prevail." H.E. Mr. Tomčo also noted that Czech people are very welcoming and pleasant.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo indicated that relations between the Czech Republic and Japan are longer than people expect. The first Czech was a Jesuit who arrived in Japan in 1802. Since then, the two countries have shared strategic partnerships and shared focuses on technology, innovation, and education.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo noted that all humans seek peace. He hopes that humanity can unite to stand against terrorism.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo introduced that the Czech Republic is one of the first countries in the world to have high gender equality. In 1919, it was the 10th country in the world that implemented women's suffrage. As a sovereign and proud country, H.E. Mr. Tomčo explained that equality is an essential value for Czech people.
H.E. Mr. Tomčo has always wanted to work in a humanitarian way to help his society. As a child, he wanted to become everything, including a street cleaner and astronaut! At age 25, H.E. Mr. Tomčo concluded that it is not what you do that is important, but how you do it. He explained that working with passion, and doing as well as you can, is the essential part of contributing to society.
As the Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Tomčo hopes to develop stronger relations between the Czech Republic and Japan. H.E. Mr. Tomčo has been interested in Japan since his childhood, especially in the culture, such as Japanese tea and karate. He also had many Japanese friends growing up who had studied in the Czech Republic. Having the profession and hobby to travel, H.E. Mr. Tomčo had been familiar with Japan. He expressed his appreciation for Japanese politeness and positivity. He hopes that more Japanese people can go to the Czech Republic.
The International School Network went to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tokyo on June 30, 2014. We interviewed the Ambassador, Ms. Katerina Fialkova. She kindly answered our questions about the geography, culture, economy, and education of the Czech Republic, and about the country’s relations with Japan.
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country, and there are few natural barriers that separate the country from the rest of Central Europe. The Czech people are very open minded and are interested in going abroad. The people in the Czech Republic value individuality, and so education, club activities and when to start work are up to each individual and their family. Tourist attractions in the country include beautiful cities, mountains, rivers, lakes, country sides, and architectural sites.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)
Czech Republic - Ambassador of Czech Republic and her message
The international school network visited the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tokyo. There, Katerina Fialkovà who is the current Czech Republic Ambassador to Japan, welcomed us warmly in her embassy which has just been reconstructed.
Although the official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, our interview was done in English as Ms. Fialkovà manages 5 other languages which include: English, German, French, Russian and Greek. We discussed governmental issues, comparing the systems in two countries Japan and Czech. Our main subject was the importance of compulsory education for children, as they are the future generations of the country. In Czech Republic, children start their education at six and have an compulsory education for ten years. We talked about how compulsory education gives equal opportunity for everyone, especially for women, and also let students explore their own interests.
Lastly, Ms. Fialkovà taught us about the importance of becoming an independent woman. She stated one name, Mitsuko Coudenhove Kalergi. She is one of the first Japanese women to emigrate to Europe, after marrying an Austrian diplomat. I think she is a person who we should all admire for being brave, stepping in to a new culture and environment at that time while being a women. Ms. Fialkovà her self is known as the first women ambassador from her country. Throughout the interview she taught us that women should have their rights, and we should not stop or give up just because of our gender. Always, “to reach for the stars and go far as you want. ” (Kate Shimizu)
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kate Shimizu 11th Seisen International School
Mirai Ono 9th Saint Maur International School