What a privilege and a pleasure it was to be given the opportunity to sit down with His Excellency Mr.LiborSecka,Ambassador of the Czech Republic in London at their fascinating Embassy building. The Czech Republic may be a modern state, but it grew from the ashes of the collapsed Austro – Hungarian Empire and its recent modern history has been quite tumultuous.
Libor took up his position as Ambassador on 5th January 2016, having been posted in similar roles in such diverse countries as Mexico, Spain and most recently China. There are very close links between the people of the Czech Republic and the UK, especially right here in London and its quite clear that Libor and his family have a love and passion for our great city.
It’s not every day that we get to hear the personal stories from the people who represent significant cultures that make our capital city so wonderful, so pour yourself a coffee, pull up a chair and listen in as Libor opens up on his time in London. This is Your London Legacy.
“This was the real change – the moment of absolute change of our society.”
Libor has been celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution – something that started as a peaceful demonstration by students in Czechoslovakia in November 1989 and ended up changing the entire system of government—a new parliament and president. Libor wasn’t demonstrating at the time but saw how the revolution changed the country for the better. The first visit to London was in March 1990 – and so to commemorate the event, Libor will be celebrating with the Queen with a lunch on the same day in March 2020.
Czechoslovakia was established in 1918, and the first interactions with England weren’t perhaps the best. International interactions are always complex, Libor is quick to state, but during Word War II many Czech pilots flew missions based out of London, and about 350 military graves are marked around the UK including London. Libor is currently making a precise count for an initiative that will take a rose to each gravesite to show respect and gratitude.
“We say – my home, my castle.”
Now the number of Czech immigrants living in London is about 10-15,000. With the Czech Republic being situated more at the center of Europe they see many travelling through – and while Libor says many citizens do go out and travel, there is definitely a longing for home; a call back to the familiarity of one’s garden and way of life that keeps many from permanently immigrating elsewhere.
Libor is definitely of the more adventurous sort, however. He was stationed in China before coming to London – and he warned me that he could talk for hours about his experiences there. Politics aside, he found the people and culture to be an absolute journey of discovery, and one that welcomed him with open arms. He also speaks Russian, Italian, and has even got a little German under his belt. He’s a stunning example of an ambassador – and points out that as an Ambassador, he has a lot of structured work to be done – but goes well out of his own way to create stunning events and commemorations that further bond people and cultures separated by lines drawn on a map. He’s whole heartedly dedicated to foster and improve political communication between ministries and departments regardless of what way elections and laws sway.