Category Archives: Alumni

JAN KMENTA (1928 – 2016): THE LONG JOURNEY FROM HOME AND BACK

Jan Kmenta started and finished his life in Prague.

Still, his life was everything but provincial – shortly before his final days, in one interview he confessed: I spend one third of each year in Australia, one third in Michigan and one third in Prague. I am very lucky.

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A Night of Gaiety for 25 Years of Satisfaction: CERGE-EI 25th Anniversary Gala

On Friday the 27th of May the CERGE-EI community united once more to commemorate 25 years of world-class economics research and exceptional education. Filled with superb speeches, exquisite cuisine, musical performances, and dancing, this affair was no doubt a delightful occasion for all. Qatar, Spain or Canada, no matter where they reside now, alumni journeyed from near and far to reconnect and revive their student memories. Joined by local faculty, students and staff as well as visiting US members and supporters, all were summoned to take full advantage of the lambent halls of Schebek Palace with a charming spring evening at the 25th Anniversary Gala. Continue reading A Night of Gaiety for 25 Years of Satisfaction: CERGE-EI 25th Anniversary Gala

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Interview with Veronika Jelínková on co-founding Metalearners.com and studying MA in Applied Economics at CERGE-EI

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Taking a bit of time out of Veronika Jelínková’s busy lifestyle in global innovation hub, San Francisco Bay Area, we caught up with the Czech economist on launching Metalearners.com and studying at CERGE-EI.

Veronika, who studied the MA in Applied Economics at CERGE-EI after graduating from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, recently co-founded Metalerners.com, a movement that connects people who apply metalearning in their work. Metalearning is simply the art of learning anything smarter. It is a complex know-how that includes various areas such as emotional intelligence, biohacking, pareto rule, neuroscience, psychology, biology and other cool fields that help people unlock their superpowers.
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The light and dark sides of the shadow economy

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It’s not often you get the chance to sit in a room with a collection of today’s most influential minds and hear their thoughts and opinions on current global issues. But that’s what I was able to do this week at a panel discussion in London organized by CERGE-EI Alumni with the Legatum Institute and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “The Shadow Economy – Impact on Innovation, East and West” was moderated by Edward Lucas, senior editor at The Economist, with contributions from Andrei Kirilenko (MIT), Peter Sanfey (EBRD), Tina Fordham (Citibank), Giles Andrews (Zopa) and CERGE-EI’s own Jan Švejnar. Continue reading The light and dark sides of the shadow economy

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Moving On: Recent CERGE-EI Graduates Take Impressive Job Posts

The past three months have been busy ones at CERGE-EI. Since the beginning of June, six CERGE-EI PhD candidates have successfully defended their theses and received their Doctorate in Economic Science. This enormous personal achievement is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and an endless thirst for knowledge. It is the pride of the whole CERGE-EI community to recognize these newly minted alumni and commend them for their stellar work and passionate commitment to their studies. They are: Anna Bogomolova, Martin Kuncl, Gurgen Aslanyan, Pavla Vozárová, Sherzod Tashpulatov, and Dragana Stanišić.

With their CERGE-EI doctorate in hand, several of these talented young minds have already secured jobs at impressive institutions across the world:

Martin Kuncl is working as a Senior Analyst at the Bank of Canada. His post is in the Macro-Financial Studies Division of the Canadian Economic Analysis Department.

Gurgen Aslanyan has taken a post as a lecturer at the Dilijan Research and Training Centre of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia.

Pavla (Nikolovová) Vozárová is an Assistant Professor at the Czech Technical University (ČVUT). She is working in the Department of Software Engineering at Faculty of Information Technology.

Dragana Stanišić is working at Accenture, a multinational management consulting firm. She will work as a Research Specialist for Growth and Strategy.

Anna Bogomolova is an assistant professor at the Economics Faculty of Novosibirsk State University.

Learn even more about where CERGE-EI graduates are working here.

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Petar Stankov’s 2014 Graduation Gala Speech

About 9 years ago, my world was my cubicle. I was relatively happy with my job at a think-tank in Sofia and I had stable career prospects. But one day I got an email from a friend saying Hey, have a look at this school, you might be the right applicant. I applied, and soon my cubicle was these awesome walls and ceilings in this historical building. But I quickly realized CERGE-EI had much more than a classic cubicle to offer. Between these walls there was substance, there was challenge, there was ambition which matched my personal drive for progress.

CERGE-EI gave me the most powerful combination of tools for personal progress: a critical mind and unmatched determination. That particular frame of mind transformed the dreamer in me into an achiever. CERGE-EI has that special talent: it transforms dreams into goals, and goals — into achievements.

My greatest achievement which I owe to CERGE-EI is that now I can spread its Western education style, spirit and work ethics back in my home country. Now that I am employed full-time in academia, I can influence the people in my department through my research and CERGE-EI has taught me how to do it. My teachers here taught me in the art of asking the right questions and gave me the methods to answer them. My colleagues and friends from here are still the smartest people I have ever met. I learned universes from them. I went to conferences I would not have dreamt of going to; I talked to economists about whom I have only read in textbooks before. Last but not least, the school administration was perhaps the most helpful staff I have ever worked with.

But perhaps even more importantly, I can spread the Western education spirit through my students. CERGE-EI is a well-known place among them. I know that in some of those students lives the same dream that brought me to Prague. They know that they can have a world-class education not so far away from home, and they can get it in a city which immediately embraces you and makes you feel at home. They know that they can shape their future and the future of their country by going West, by coming to CERGE-EI. But part of CERGE-EI’s mission also means coming back and giving your best. That is why some of my students also share my credo which CERGE-EI shaped in me: Go West, Come Back, Kick Ass. Because that’s what we do best.

I thank you all for being a significant part of my life and for being here tonight. And now I wish you one kick-ass evening.

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Jan Novotny’s ‘Alumni Speech’ at the 2014 Graduation Gala

Dear fresh graduates, students, professors, honourable guests and alumni, welcome at the second Graduation Gala at our beautiful Schebek Palace.

This is a second year, we all meet here and we can proudly say we have all together established an amazing tradition at CERGE-EI. This event gives us an opportunity to celebrate fresh graduates, for some of you to get a new push to keep the pace towards your future graduation, and for some of us time to recall our memories, when we were graduating. We can just envy that the Graduation Gala was not already back in our times, when we were receiving our diplomas.

With graduation, part of the life ends but a completely new and exciting part just starts. What I have seen around me, many of us started to explore new countries, competing on new markets, exploring completely unimaginable career paths full of uncertainty. After the graduation, we have gone all over the world. Colleagues I was meeting in hallways ended up in the United States, various countries in Europe and even in Asia or Africa. In my case, I got to Cass Business School in London. London is a terribly big city.

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CERGE-EI Panel Discussion & Alumni Reunion in London!

We did it! After several months of careful planning, numerous meetings and Skype calls between London and Prague, we finally did it. On November 28th, we kicked off CERGE-EI’s first ever UK Alumni Event!

But make no mistake, this was no ordinary alumni gathering. We wanted an event that would play to the main strength of so many talented CERGE-EI economists: spirited intellectual discussion. With that in mind, we organized a special Panel Discussion and invited experts and special guests to join the debate.

Thanks to Alan Brown (Board member of the CERGE-EI US Foundation) and his enthusiastic support to host the event at Schroders, we could meet in the heart of London, a few steps from St. Pauls Cathedral. Susan Walton, also a Foundation Board member, worked tirelessly to make it all happen. And of course, we all wanted to see each other. Many of us have not seen each other for years and some of us have never met before. Our senior alumni Anita Taçi thus held opening remarks to welcome all the guests in the name of the Alumni Community.

And what have we discussed? The title of the debate was “Is German Discipline Enough?” The Euro is off the front pages – for now.  The balance of payments crisis in the periphery is easing, the sense of crisis has abated, and the Eurozone has bought some time. However, we know that the true crisis is not yet over. Before the next shock strikes, what are the prospects that the Eurozone will use the time to establish a Banking Union, and to move towards a proper fiscal Transfer Union? All these issues are truly important for the future of Europe and stability of the old continent. Therefore, our second opening remark was held by Czech Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency, Michael Žantovský, who recalled the ideas of the Czech president, Václav Havel, and related the topic to the problem of leadership and the ideas a leader represents.

With so many esteemed speakers, the panel discussion proved highly provocative. Alan Brown moderated the discussion and introduced all four speakers, who provided different views on the same problem. The first speaker was Petr Zemčík, Director of Economic Research at Moody’s Analytics in London but whom many of us remember from his time as a professor at CERGE-EI. He discussed the role of Germany and suggested that rebalancing the export imparity between Germany and the periphery would not solve the Eurozone’s biggest problems. The missing transmission mechanism and incomplete banking integration means that deposits in different states of the Eurozone have different values, and so the entire system remains fragile.

The second speaker was Prof. Jan Švejnar, one of the founders of CERGE-EI and currently the Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia University. Prof. Švejnar provided a parallel between the US and the Eurozone. He stressed that recent incomplete integration in the Eurozone is certainly an unstable equilibrium and either deeper integration is needed or the Eurozone must go the opposite direction. Then, John Nugée took the podium. He opened his speech by pointing out that the Eurozone monetary policy is causing a positive feedback for all its countries. The widely discussed internal devaluation of the periphery is not a solution for the Eurozone. He concluded with a logical chain of unions which Europe has to undertake, starting with the currency union and leading through the monetary, banking and fiscal union, on an inexorable march towards full political union. According to Nugée, full political union is the inevitable endpoint on the Eurozone’s path to a stable solution.

Andrew Lilico, Director and Principal of Europe Economics, discussed the lack of ideas behind current European integration. He stressed that two generations ago, the leaders were breaking down walls and restoring democracy throughout Europe. One generation ago, the leaders were unifying Europe and creating the big ideas of the European Union, and, consequently, the Eurozone. The current generation, by contrast, has no more big ideas left and is mired in small problems and technocratic issues. In the end he also cited full political union as the only viable solution.

Long and spirited discussion between speakers and the audience emerged. Audience members put difficult questions to the panel about the future of Europe and democracy. After the formal discussion ended, the debate continued informally at a lovely wine reception. Many of us then ended up in a nearby watering hole, which is, however, an issue for a different blog post…

All agreed that the first UK Alumni Event was a huge success and has set the bar high for future Alumni gatherings, whether in the UK, in Prague, or in the many other places where CERGE-EI alumni are working to change the world. See you there next time!

View more pictures from the event here!

 

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