The 1995 SVU Conference in Košice

The greatest SVU event of 1995, in my opinion, was without doubt the SVU Conference in Kosice, held on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great scholar Pavel Josef Safarik. The Conference was convened at the institute of Veterinary Medicine, during 21-24 August,1995, under the general theme "Technology - Humanity - Art - Tolerance". The responsibility for the logistics and the program was in the hands of the Kosice SVU Chapter, under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Karol Marton.

Some eighty SVU members and guests from Slovakia (Kosice, Bratislava, and elsewhere), the Czechlands (Prague, Brno, Ostrava), United States, Canada, Austria, and Sweden took part in the meetings.

Following the festive opening, the participants heard over forty presentations in a variety of disciplines, bearing on the central theme. The papers were generally organized by such topics as technology transfer, environment and population explosion, information technology - integrative and disintegrative, the art of tolerance, arts and tolerance, the Prometheus complex in biology and medicine.

The socio-cultural program included touring of the Ko~ice City, a concert at the Budimir's Church, and the excursions to the Spis and the High Tatras. There was also a gala buffet dinner to which were invited the Mayor of Kosice, the Rectors from various Universities, and other dignitaries. The social happening ended with the wine tasting of the enchanted Slovak Tokay wine in a cozy wine cellar and the song, with the accompaniment of a guitar, in the charming gardens, amidst a picturesque setting of a renovated historical chapel. The upshot of it all was that everybody dropped their prestigious academic degrees and parted as Karol, Alex, Miriam, Mila or Franta.

The Conference participants had also an opportunity to participate in a special SVU workshop relating to management and financing of research which I had the pleasure of directing with the assistance of Frank Mucha and Jiri Nehnevajsa..

We took the advantage of the Kosice meeting to also hold our Annual SVU General Assembly Meeting. It was a historical meeting, inasmuch as it was the first meeting of its kind to be held on the territory of the former Czechoslovakia.

Speaking on the whole, the Conference, with its varied programs, was an unqualified success: prof. Dr. Karol Marton, and his colleagues (Klara Tkacova, Marianna Martonova, Miriam Galova,   Oliver Racz, Marian Gajdos, Alexander Tkac, as well as Dr. J. P Skalny, who represented me on the Organizing Committee, did an excellent job, in terms of logistical arrangements, as well as program preparations.

Cooperation, voluntarism, professionalism, altruism, humility, mutual respect and camaraderie, which I witnessed on every step, was a great inspiration to me. As a consequence, I became afflicted with a serious case of optimism, which, I hoped, would also soon affect   the others, with the strong belief that SVU entered a new phase of Renaissance.

Furthermore, I was left with a definite feeling that the ties between the Czechs and the Slovaks are real and unbreakable, and that SVU could strengthen them even more.

Mila Rechcigl