CERGE-EI at the Ball Game – HeavyHitters Slowpitch Softball Tournament

The spring tournament of Heavy Hitters raised its curtains on 5th of May, 2013. Together with another 15 international teams, the CERGE-EI Softball team played on the stage of this long-lasting charity tournament in Prague. The tournament had a rainy start and a shiny finish, which is also a perfect metaphor of CERGE-EI’s performance this year.

Facing injuries, unexpected quits and bad weather, CERGE-EI softball team seemed to have a gloomy journey at the beginning. However, our team fought through its way and ended up with a 10th place among 16 teams. It is not as easy a task as it looks – two opponent teams in our divisional pool approached to the final four and one of them won the title of the tournament. Away from the champion trophy, the spirit of sports, team work, and joy of the games are equally precious gains from the tournament. And here I would like to record all my wonderful teammates: Krajcovicova Zuzana, Kuan-Heng Lin, Dejan Kovac, Georgi Burlakov, Ilir maci, Ulianiuk Pavlo, Richard Stock (DNP, injury), Tomas Fiala (DNP, injury). I have reason to believe that we will have an even more successful tournament in the fall of 2013.

Written by Ba Lei

Read more about the event in an article from the Prague Post 

Nobel Prize Laureate Eric Maskin Visits CERGE-EI

At the end of April 2013, we had the honor to welcome Prof. Eric Maskin (Harvard University) to CERGE-EI in Prague. On April 29, Prof. Maskin gave a public lecture titled “How to Make the Right Decisions without Knowing People’s Preferences: An Introduction to Mechanism Design”.

To begin his lecture, Prof. Maskin contrasted the field of ‘mechanism design’ with other more familiar parts of economic theory. Whereas the bulk of economics takes existing institutions as a given and aims to understand and explain outcomes delivered by those institutions, mechanism design reverses the direction. It starts by identifying outcomes one wishes to achieve and asks whether institutions are able to be designed to achieve the desired outcome(s) and, if so, what these institutions ought to look like. In this sense, mechanism design can be called an “engineering” component of economic theory.

To further illustrate the concept, Professor Maskin offered three concrete applications of mechanism design theory. They were, in the order presented, (1) how can you divide a plot between two people in a way that neither of them envies the share of the other?, (2) how can a government sell a license to allow transmission over a band of radio frequencies to a company which values it most?, and (3) how to choose a public energy source when individual preferences are different and optimal choice depends on the unknown state of the world? Professor Maskin explained how insights from mechanism design theory can provide answers to these intractable questions.

Simple as they are, these examples illustrate key features of mechanism design. First, a designer of the mechanism does not know what the optimal outcomes should be. Secondly, the designer must proceed to indirectly convince participants to reveal necessary information. Finally, participants have their own goals and motivations which may not coincide with those of the designer. Therefore, the mechanism must be ‘incentive compatible’—in other words, it should recognize those goals and reconcile them with those of the designer.

The examples presented during the lecture displayed transparent mechanisms that are implemented to achieve the designer’s goals. For those interested in a general way to understand whether a goal is implementable and, if it is, how to find a mechanism to implement it, Professor Maskin referred to his seminal paper, “Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality.” Professor Maskin concluded with some further examples of possible future applications of mechanism design theory, namely the development of an international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions and the design of policies to prevent financial crises.

While here, Professor Maskin also sat down with CERGE-EI student Maxim Guryunov for a brief interview. Check out the highlights on our CERGE-EI Youtube Channel:

Find the full list of Distinguished Speaker Series at CERGE-EI here

Graduation Gala Is Approaching! Read Why Some Of Our Guests Are Excited to Attend…

The CERGE-EI First Annual Graduation Gala is on Saturday, June 1st ! Students, family members, alumni, faculty and staff, and members of CERGE-EI’s governing bodies are all warmly invited. Don’t miss it! Here are some reasons why our guests are excited:

I am really looking forward to seeing Shebek Palace return to its past glory for one night of beautiful dining, music, drinking and dancing to celebrate with good friends in the grand atmosphere! I am so proud as a trustee if the foundation to have my husband and friends from London to join us in Prague for the Gala.

-Susan Walton, CERGE-EI Foundation Board Member the Gala Commitee Head

I will come to CERGE-EI Gala to meet old friends and to support an institution that I believe makes a real difference to people that attend it and to society at large.

 -Martin Kalovec, CERGE-EI Alumni, & Partner at Boston Consulting Group, CERGE-EI Alumni

After a few months spent on my mobility I am really looking forward to meet with all of you. I definitely like the idea of the Graduation Gala and I believe it to be the event everybody would like to attend each year. Come and help us to set up a nice tradition. Hope to see you all there.

-Tomas Miklanek, CERGE-EI student, former Student Representative

There comes a day in every CERGE-EI student’s life when you want to replace your every day worn jeans, messy hair and heavy books with a glass of champagne and a glamorous dress. It’s a chance to celebrate with your working colleagues and professors in beautiful surroundings.

-Jasena Kukavcic, CERGE-EI student

I am excited about graduation day and looking forward to the Graduation Gala, when graduates will make a symbolic walk to the next chapter of their life.

-Sophio Khozrevanidze, 2nd Year CERGE-EI PhD

I look forward to sharing the Graduation Gala with the students and faculty I’ve been privileged to know for the last two years. Shaking their hands and meeting their families and friends is my way of saying to them: Well done. Welcome to what comes next.

-Tamta Bakhtadze, 2nd Year CERGE-EI PhD

Shall We Dance? By Irina Momotenko, CERGE-EI PhD Student

Have you ever watched small kids when they hear music?  A big smile appears on their little faces as they move happily and naturally to the music.  We are all born to dance, but somehow as we grow up, become self-conscious about our bodies or our ability to do it well, many of us forget the joy and the fun of dancing.  For me, dance was love at first move. I was 11 when I attended my first dance class and since then I’ve never stopped dancing (well, except for the first two years at CERGE-EI for well-known reasons). With CERGE-EI’s first Graduation Ball on June 1, now is the perfect time to access your perhaps long-forgotten joyous dancing spirit. (Special note to guys:  women adore men who know how handle a lady on the dance floor!)

Need to brush up on your waltz or foxtrot?  Maybe you’ve always wanted to try something completely new like Latin dance or hip-hop but didn’t know where to start? Fortunately, Prague is full of dance schools and studios. Here’s a list to start and all of them are in the centre. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner, a regular attendee or a professional – all schools present a wide range of dancing courses for everyone. Usually you can either sign up for a course or attend several classes. The price per class can vary from 120 kc to 250 kc depending on the school and class you choose. Some schools also conduct open classes and seminars, which will give you a general understanding of the course and allow choosing the one you like best.

CENTRUM TANCE (http://www.centrumtance.cz/tanec/default.asp) and TANECNI ŠKOLA VAVRUSKA (http://www.vavruska.info/) are very good for beginners and regulars, and the courses are not expensive. The information on the website of Centrum Tance may say that it is not possible to attend a class while not being signed up for a course; however, if you come to the school and talk to the receptionist, she usually allows attending the class.

Continue reading Shall We Dance? By Irina Momotenko, CERGE-EI PhD Student