Monday, July 24, 2006

A Lesson in Czech History

Well, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a Central European map and background info for the many people who have either not heard of magical city of Prague or have no idea where the Czech Republic is located. Considered the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic is nestled between the East and West, boarder by Poland and Germany to the North and Slovakia and Austria to the South.

Following the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution."

Non-violent protesters are "fighting with flowers" against armored policemen

On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. (Source: CIA - The World Factbook)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

An International Internship Offer

As a participant of the International Association for the Exchange of Student of Technical Experience, I will be interning at the Institute of Chemical Technology in the heart of Europe, Prague. Acting as my personal scribe, this blog will record my observations, thoughts and discoveries while overseas.