Ambassadors gather to assess democratic progress in Slovakia


By Rachel Brichta
Feb 24, 2011

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan is pleased to present a panel discussion titled “Making Democracy Work: Slovakia in the Last Decade” at 4:00 pm on March 15. Past and present Slovak Ambassadors to the United States Peter Burian (2008-), Rastislav Kácer (2003-08), and Martin Bútora (1999-2003), as well as Zora Bútorova will join Ambassador Ronald Weiser for a wide-ranging discussion of Slovakia’s democratic developments in honor of the tenth anniversary of Ambassador Weiser’s appointment as the United States Ambassador to Slovakia.

Since 2001, Slovakia has emerged as one of Central Europe’s most dynamic economies and democracies. After a challenging decade in the 1990s, when democratic practices and economic reforms were threatened, the country embarked on an ambitious program of policy innovation and reform. It became a member of the European Union and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was among the first of the post-communist countries to adopt the Euro, joining the Eurozone in 2009.

Ambassador Ronald Weiser, a graduate of the University of Michigan Business School, was the U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia from 2001-04. In addition to his diplomatic responsibilities, he was active both in preserving the cultural heritage of Slovakia and Poland, and in organizing three international investment conferences attended by investors from hundreds of companies. In recognition of these awards, he received the White Double Cross in 2004 from Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, the highest award given to non-Slovaks, and the Cultural Pluralism Award from the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. In 2008, Ambassador Weiser and his wife, Eileen Lappin Weiser, made a gift to establish the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.

PLACE: Forum Hall, Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor

SPONSOR: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies

WEB LINK: www.ii.umich.edu/wced

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) combines academics with practical applications. The center promotes scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance, past and present. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Initially focusing on transitions in Europe and Eurasia, it will subsequently expand its scope to other emerging democracies across the globe. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wced.

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies-European Union Center (CES-EUC); the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wcee.

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