Friday, March 13, 2009

Ongoing in Slovakia

I finished teaching my workshop for young people on Sunday, March 8. My next obligation was to make 2 scholarly presentations on morning and afternoon panels at the conference New Perspectives for the Development and Future of Europe and the World in Brno, Czech Republic (I report on that conference here <-- click). On one of the free days between the workshop and the conference I had the blessing to visit Devin, Slovakia (<-- click). You can see from these maps that only the Danube separates the former Communist Slovakia from free Austria. For all its beauty and history, there remains in Devin the presence of intense drama from the Cold War era where just like at every such border in the world at that time, people were killed by their fellow countrymen while trying to escape to freedom.

This river (where the Morava meets the Danube) flows with remarkable speed at this point (you must click the photo to see the movement of the river):

From river speed of the morava in devin

There are a good many sculptings on the river that depict this struggle. The most dramatic is the monument to those who gave their lives for Slovakian freedom in this era. Here are some images of that monument:

Here are all the pictures from Devin. You will see that it was originally a Roman fortress and walled city. (The silliness about the coffee cups was my infantile excitement over all these coffee products having the same name as me):

From there we drove to Bratislava and wandered around the city center.

Here are the pictures from Bratislava. The first building is the Peace Embassy of the Universal Peace Federation (presently under construction). Next is a school of engineering at the university, the national theater, and finally (and perhaps most important and most wracking for me) is the monument at the site of "one of the most beautiful synagogues in all Europe" leveled by the Communists to build a bridge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Identity Workshop in Slovakia

From March 5 - 8, 2009 I taught what was called an"Identity Workshop" for young people in their 20's, students and professionals, single and married,

About 60 people from 5 countries attended. Arrangements were well managed as an honest and forthright balance of costs and expenses needed to support the range of logistics required for a successful educational program, promotion, travel, housing, production, archiving, and publicity.

The workshop proper was comprised of 4 "blocks" of 3 hours each, designed to address matters of identity, spiritual growth, and daily life for the individual, family and community.

Part of the program included small group breakout sessions and reports.

This community of young people are remarkable in their incisive and complex reflection on the development of a socially conscious identity grounded in virtues and principle as the basis for self, family, and the construction of a just and prosperous society.

Here are a few pictures of the workshop: