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On the 13 of September 2016, a discussion was held in Prague, Czech Republic with Andrew Hirsch Schapiro, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Czech Republic, concerning the U.S., diplomacy and the current state of relations between our countries. This discussion was held at the American Centre.

I am writing on behalf of the attendees with this article, to whom I many thank you for these information.

The environment was very pleasant and everything was beautifully prepared in the classic American style. His Excellency was very open with us and spoke with charm – but as a diplomat, he knows very well what he is talking about, and how best to deliver a diplomatic message. We spoke about several different topics including HE Mr Schapiro’s family roots in the Czech Republic and terrorism as not the only threat currently endangering the world, but also safeguarding of the environment for the benefit of future generations. Principally, we spoke about exports from the United States to the Czech Republic as the U.S. is number one from non-EU member states as an exporter to this country.

His Excellency graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was a classmate of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. After the election of his classmate to the highest office in the land, His Excellency became Ambassador to the Czech Republic in September 2009.

HE Mr Schapiro’s mother was born in Prague in 1934 and, for this reason, he wanted to become more in touch with Czech realities through travelling, speaking with local citizens and getting to become better acquainted with Czech behaviour and mentality.

At the outset, we noted that the Czech Republic has high quality relations with the U.S. as we see in terms of NATO and the Czech Republic’s support in Afghanistan; these kinds of actions are very risky for medium-to-large state like  the Czech Republic, but we can see that the country has always played its part and this has only deepened its positive relationship with the USA. The Czech army received a sum amounting to 2 billion Czech crowns from the U.S. Additionally, the U.S. is the largest non-European Union investor in the Czech Republic. Also, TTIP is very important in that it is reducing trade barriers between the European Union and United States and at the same time it is increasing opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship on both sides.

For a solution to the refugee crisis in the global view, we have to solve the problem at its source, and that is in Syria. The civil war in Syria/Iraq has to be dampened down and solved immediately. The U.S. has already provided humanitarian assistance to Syria and the surrounding region to the tune of around $5 billion. There was also a high level summit of the United Nations concerning Refugees and Migrants on September 19th, at which Barack Obama strengthened the U.S.’s position on migrants; the U.S. seeks to welcome annually more than 100, 000 refugees and migrants into their country.

The American Centre, where the discussion was held, houses a library, which includes not only books and periodicals, but also an electronic library for the U.S., from which online resources can be located. The discussion was guided by American principles of naturalness, a kind of informality, and a positive spirit of encouragement for the future days of our lives. The main idea of the discussion  which HE Mr Schapiro wanted to convey to us was that of multiculturalism for “immigration policy”. His Excellency also noted that the U.S. has an enormous wealth of famous people who came from different countries from all over the world:  why did they rise to such success? This is simple: the U.S. enabled them to recharge their batteries and these people grabbed the opportunity and achieved their goals.

The Ambassador cannot say what he or she personally thinks, but has to represent their country’s position within the current political system and situation. At the end of the discussion, HE Mr Schapiro told us that in the U.S. it is usually when people want to achieve something that they do not succeed at the first, second, or third attempt – and there is no shame in that: the main point is never to give up.

Subsequent topics that we discussed included the American Presidential election and how His Excellency was barred from entrance to Prague Castle by the current Czech President Miloš Zeman; however, the main topic was that of global warming which is the top priority of current President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Diplomatic Academy Prague