The Shape of (Central) Europe 2021

On December 2 the Annual Conference THE SHAPE OF CENTRAL EUROPE 2021 took place summarising this year’s work of the Aspen Institute Central Europe team. The goal of the conference, organized in partnership with the media house Economia, was to provide an overview of the political, economic, and social development of the Czech Republic in the context of Central Europe. As well as the last year, the panels were based on the studies prepared by Aspen Institute Central Europe expert groups and McKinsey & Company.

You can find below the outcomes of the individual studies and the recording of the whole conference so you can watch the most important discussions of the former government members and experts from the business, academia, and non-governmental sector.

The main topic of this year’s annual conference was FUTURE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CIVIL SERVICE.

Recording with interpretation to English  Recording – original, without interpretation

Program of the conference

Studies that we introduced this year brought an overview of the followed topics and specific recommendations for improvement

Central Europe – Future of Civil Service

Effectiveness of Civil Service

 Education / Educational Leadership

Security – Innovation / Artificial Intelligence in Defence

Summarizing study

Studies to individual panels:

Former government members, as well as experts from the business, academia, and the non-governmental sector, joined the individual panels of this year’s conference. As a follow-up to the previous six years, we analyzed political, economic, and social development in the context of Central Europe at the Annual Conference The Shape of (Central) Europe 2021.

Central Europe – Future of Civil Service  Education / Educational Leadership  Security – Innovations / AI in Defence

This year’s Annual Conference which took place again via online broadcast only without live audience was opened by President of the Board of Aspen Institute Central Europe Ivan Hodáč, President of media house Economia Zuzana Řezníčkováand Executive Director of Aspen Institute CE Milan Vašina.

The opening ceremony continued through the opening speech presented by former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who emphasized that democracies all around the world face a large pressure from the populist forces. “No political system is perfect, there will always be unsatisfied people listening to sweet promises. There is a threat that the historical pendulum will move from democracy to autocracy. I’m an optimist believing in the power of reason and democracy which remains the best political system. If we leave it, we will become prisoners of fear,” said Madeleine Albright and reminded us that the foundation of democracy is the rule of law and no politician stands above it.

➡ Central Europe – Future of Civil Service

🗯️ The debate was based on a study “Civil Service in Central Europe” by McKinsey & Company and you can read it here or you can watch the introductory video by Dan Svoboda, the managing partner of McKinsey & Company.

In the panel participated:

🎤 Marek Belka, former Prime Minister of the Polish Republic
🎤 Mikuláš Dzurinda, former Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic
🎤 Vladimír Špidla, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

You can watch the debate of former Central European Prime Ministers here.

➡ Effectiveness of Civil Service 

🗯️ The debate was based on a study of Aspen Institute CE expert group, the outcomes of which are summarized in this introductory video by Pavel ŘehákPresident of Direct Pojišťovna a.s., and Vice-President of Aspen Institute CE.

The panel discussion was joined by:

🎤 Michal Bláha, Founder of Hlídač Státu
🎤 Jakub Drbohlav
, Vice Director, Department for Management of Education system at The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS)
🎤 Danuše Nerudová
, Rector at Mendel University in Brno
🎤 Silvana Jirotková
, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic
🎤 Petr Pavel
, General, (Ret.)

You can watch the debate on the topic of the Effectiveness of Civil Service here.


➡ Education / Educational Leadership

🗯️ The discussion was based on a study ‘Czech Principal: Competences, Results, and Good Practice’ from Daniel Prokop’s team, Head of the Aspen Institute CE expert group / founder of PAQ Research. The introductory remarks were made by Daniel Münich, member of the Aspen Institute CE expert group/ director of think-tank IDEA at CERGE-EI. 

The speakers in this panel were:

🎤 Naděžda EretováEditor-in-chief of Řízení školy magazine
🎤 Ivo Jupa
Director of the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic
🎤 Daniel Prokop,
Head of the Aspen Institute CE expert group / founder of PAQ Research
🎤 Jiří Vymětal
School Principal of an elementary school in Olomouc /  Absolute winner of the Director of the Year 2018/19
🎤 Renáta Zajíčková
Member of the Chamber of Deputies / Mayor of Prague 5

You can watch the debate about Education / Educational Leadership here.

🗯️ Maggie JohnsonVice-President of educational and university programs for Google / COO for the Research PA, talked about the responsible approach to AI in her opening speech ‘AI: Opportunities, Challenges, and Civil Service’.

You can watch her whole speech here.

➡  Security – Innovation / Artificial Intelligence in Defence: 

🗯️ The debate was based on a study “Defence and AI” by Tomáš Pojar, Head of the Aspen Institute CE expert group/ Vice-President of CEVRO Institute, who talked about this issue in the introductory video as well.

The following speakers discussed this topic:

🎤 Tomáš Pojar, Head of the Aspen Institute CE expert group/ Vice-President of CEVRO Institute
🎤 Miroslav Feix, Commander Army Cyber and Information Operations Command, Czech Armed Forces
🎤 Filip KulštrunkVice President Defence & Intelligence, SpaceKnow Inc.
🎤 Jan Mazal, Head of Department of Informatics and Cyber Operations, University of Defence
🎤 Martin Rehák, CEO and Founder of Resistant AI
🎤 Kristina Soukupová, President of DefSec Innovation Hub

You can watch the panel discussion on the topic of Security – Innovation / Artificial Intelligence in Defence here.

➡ Aspen Central Europe Leadership Award 2021

🗯️ Part of the conference was bestowing the Aspen Central Europe Leadership Award 2021 for amazing results to young leaders for outstanding success in the field of responsible active citizenship and value-based leadership with a clear social impact. This year’s laureates are Slovak diplomat Ľubica Karvašová and Polish activist and expert on the inequality of opportunity Jan Mencwel.

You can watch the recording of the ceremony here.

The whole conference was chaired by Michala Hergetová whom we thank for her professional approach and interesting questions in the panel discussions.

We are grateful to our general media partner Hospodářské noviny, our main media partner Česká televize and our media partners: Hlídací, Český rozhlas.

The participants of the conference could pose questions via the application

We are looking forward to seeing you at next year’s conference in 2022!

Team Aspen Institute CE

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