A Visit to the Czech Center Museum Houston by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg, at a Dinner and Reception on Sunday, May 29, 2011 was the highlight of the month, and it is believed to be a really good day for Houston, for Texas, and the USA as two historical events took place. The first event began in the Comenius Library in Pilsen Hall with the signing of a collaborative nuclear energy research effort between Texas A&M University officials Vice President Michael O’ Quinn,and Nuclear Power Institute of Texas A&M, including Professor Radek Skoda, the South Texas Project in Bay City, and the five Czech Nuclear Scientists representing five Universities in Prague, Pilsen and Brno. The presence of His Excellency First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Mr. Schwarzenberg, newly appointed US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norman Eisen, newly appointed Czech Ambassador to the US, Petr Gandalovic, our Texas Czech Honorary Consul General Raymond Snokhous and Louisiana Czech Honorary Consul General Ken Zezulka, besides numerous business people and glasses of champagne sealed this important moment for posterity and hopefully all good results for the future.
The second event proceeding from Pilsen Hall, the group went to a reception to Brno Gallery for pure Texas hors d’oeuvres and wine while the Minister toured every room including the outdoor Honor and Memorial Wall Courtyard, even interested in how our beautiful pink roses upfront were propagated from the time of my tiny seventeen-year-old immigrant grandmother, who brought a cutting of her family Rose from her Czech land via Galveston in the 1800’s. Mr. Minister entered the reception with great energy trying not to miss a personal handshake. You would think he was a Texan. Brno Gallery was filled with the piano repertoire of geophysicist Herman Vacca. Onto Prague hall with “Fanfare for a Prince” (He truly is Prince Karel of Schwarzenberg in all countries but the US and the Czech Republic!) performed by Boardmember Robert Dvorak and wife Donna. There is Entertaining and there is Entertaining, to entertain a Prince is to entertain! What a privilege and pleasure to be honored by a visit of this Mr. Minister. Long tall and friendly as any Texan ought to be, he looked great in the Stetson hat, belt and silver buckle, likewise Ambassador Gandalovic, presented them by our Consul General Snokhous.
Following the reception, we had an elegant dinner of completely Southwest-South Texas Cuisine including the wines. There was beautiful music, harp, piano and vocalists Robert Ermis and Christiana Gentry dressed in kroj. There was so much camaraderie, every table including Mr. Schwarzenberg’s, chatting with Roy and Mary Cullen, Hugh and Ann Roff, the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Katerina Weissova, Effie and Bill Rosene, Cora Sue and Harry Mach and Jack Loftis, all having a good time. Mr. Snokhous and Louisiana counterpart Mr. Ken Zezulka did the same with their new Ambassador tables. It was a great blend of Houstonians and people from abroad! An email from the Czech Embassy stated “The Minister greatly enjoyed the evening and was overwhelmed by the hospitality, touring extensively the Museum and touched by the collections you have there.” We were touched with his graciousness and by the remarks of the new Ambassadors. Incidentally, the wife of Astronaut Andrew Feustal presented our guest the Czech mole (Krtek) flying in space at that moment. Yes, you can find those darling Krteks in our Gift Shop.