After 1989 the freedom of press, arts and education could fully develop.
The Czechoslovak J.W. Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange was established in 1991, with offices in Prague and in Bratislava. I was the Program Officer for the Slovak part of the country. After the split the Czech Republic has become the successor of the agreement. The Slovak Republic and the United States negotiated a new agreement on establishing the Fulbright Commission that was signed on September 22, 1994. I was responsible for the content and the process between the negotiating parties.
During the period 1994 - 1998 there were many obstacles made for non-profit organizations in the Slovak Republic. The constant amendments of law nearly ruined the operation of the Commission. We found a law that allowed the Commission to become so called organization with international element and secure the operation of the Commission based on the bilateral agreement between both countries.
Twenty-five years is relatively a short time, but throughout this period more than 700 grantees from both countries had the opportunity to test their skills and capabilities through various programs of the Commission. There are many prominent alumni of the program that later have fundamentally influenced the Slovak or U.S. academic and / or social environment.
But to be honest, each of the more than 700 scholarship awardees who have decided to study or research in one of the two countries deserve to be honored for the courage and curiosity to discover and inspire our nations.
Photo courtesy Nora Hložeková