A Warm Welcome to the 22nd Visegrad Summer School

A warm welcome to the 22nd Visegrad Summer School for the year 2024! This time around, the Visegrad Summer School is guided by the theme The Future of Media, iterating the significance of media which has grown substantially as a sociopolitical entity in democracy.

The day began with an address from the Director of Villa Decius, Dominika Kasprowicz, who thanked esteemed guests and partners who are able to ensure the durability and quality of the Summer School. This year we gather with participants and experts from all over Europe: Hungary, Ukraine, Macedonia and Turkey, to name a few.

The opening debate this year centered on the V4 members; Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic and the panelists included H.E Břetislav Dančak (Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Poland), Madam Consul Lenka Pifkova (Consul of Slovakia), Márta Ritecz-Sekulic, (Consul of Hungary in Krakow), and Rafał Dominiewicz (Deputy Director of the European Policy Department in Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Adam Balcer (Program Director at the Jan Nowak-Jezioriański College of Eastern Europe) was the moderator. The arguments generally pointed at the future of the Visegrad group given the contemporary situation of Europe.

Professor Michal Vašečk was invited once again this year to speak to our participants on The Future Trajectories of Central European Cooperation and the Myth of Central Europe. The issues raised about regional, state and cultural identities probed an engaging discussion among them, and many thoughtful questions were raised concerning the direction of media and its ability to sustain or diminish identities.

The next segment was more relaxed, as its objective was to encourage the integration of the participants through activities including a game of bingo, name-recall, and even a short miming activity. The group was well-engaged with each other and by the end of the integration exercises, the participants found more similarities than differences among them in culture, character, and personal endeavours.

This day was certainly just the cusp of the challenging discussions ahead as participants will continue to delve into the realm of media and journalism, the freedom of press, and ultimately the pillars of democracy that are buttressed by technology.

For the constant support of the Summer School, we give thanks to our generous donors the Visegrad Fund and the Executive Director Petr Mareš, and Grupa Zue. We also thank the crucial partners who make this Summer School a possibility: The Václav Havel Library, People In Focus, the Bratislava Policy Institute, the Magyar Centrum, the cityof Krakow, and the Municipality of Małopolska. Additionally, for the extensive media coverage Respublica, TVP 3 Krakow, Polskie Radio: DLA Zagranicy, and Visegrad Insight have our utmost gratitude. Last but not least, we thank Villa Decius for graciously playing host once again to this prestigious event.