Recent events

2021 CONFERENCE OF THE COMENIUS ACADEMIC CLUB

The annual conference of the Club took place on 13-14 November 2021 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, the program was uninterrupted and all scheduled speakers arrived.
The J.A. Comenius National Pedagogical Museum and Library provided a beautiful and comfortable venue for the meeting. The only change was that the planned reception and dinner were replaced by a modified meeting with refreshments served in accordance with the prevailing sanitary measures.
During the first section of the conference, Libor Grubhoffer summarized the history of vaccination and its application in the fight against infectious diseases. Lukáš Kovanda analyzed the effects of the pandemic on the economy of the Czech Republic and concluded that the future will involve many challenges. Barron Boyd introduced the current situation of learning and instruction at the American universities and pointed out that, despite economic hardship at smaller institutions, most institutions survived the pandemic thanks to cooperation with local health authorities. A lively discussion ensued.
In the afternoon section, Jan Brábek introduced a novel approach to therapy of solid malignant tumors, which focuses on mobility and invasiveness of tumor cells with an attempt to prevent their spread throughout the body. Vladimír Tesař summarized in detail the etiology, signs. and treatment of the complex lupus erythematosus disease. He informed the audience of recent progress in treatment outcomes. The ensuing discussion was well focused and interesting.
The traditional panel on the evaluation of science and universities in the Czech Republic was summarized by Jiří Málek. He explained what has transpired since the famous ”coffeegrinder” method of evaluation, which was introduced at the first conference of the Club in New York in 2013. He was assisted by Pavel Doleček,the vice-minister of education. While their conclusions were in general agreement, differences in approach and power by an “ academician”, on the one hand, and a representative of the state authority, on the other, were apparent.
On Sunday, the focus of the presentation was the Battle of White Mountain and the Czech defeat. Petr Vorel presented the importance a previously overlooked factor, namely the economic bankrupty of the ruler, rather than religious differences. Jaroslav Pánek analyzed the entire “White Mountain syndrome” and differences of future developments in the Czech Lands and Hungary within the Habsburg Empire. The debate on the topic was the longest of the entire meeting and the audience learned many new facts and were presented with novel interpretations of this period of Czech history.
At the end of the meeting, Francis Raška summarized the state of the Comenius and its distribution to libraries at major universities in numerous countries.
It was decided that the 2022 conference will be held in June in the Czech Republic in conjunction with other Comenius celebrations.
On behalf of the Club, I would like to thank Markéta Pánková and the J.A. Comenius National Pedagogical Museum and Library for hosting this year's meeting.