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Regional values

The second day of the Visegrad Summer School opened with an informational lecture on the International Visegrad Fund by Zbigniew Machej. From the beginning of the lecture Mr. Machej outlined the various aspects to the Visegrad group starting with its history. An in-depth analysis of the complex history of the four V4 countries was provided by Mr. Machej, in a manner that was cleverly arranged in order for the participants to fully engage with the topic. Going back as far as the 14th Century, Mr.Machej certainly provided a considerable background for those unfamiliar with the complex history of these countries. Once this part of the lecture had concluded, the lecture shifted focus and proceeded to examine the background to the formation of the International Visegrad Group in 1992.
The formation of the International Visegrad Group essentially came about after the events of 1989 and the struggle for freedom that defined all Visegrad nations. Machej outlined the crucial dates during this period and explained that once a split of the countries had occurred then the formation of the Visegrad Group was inevitable. However, progress wasn’t easily managed and it wasn’t until 1999 and the formation of the International Visegrad Fund that a united Visegrad area began to truly emerge. Once a context had been provided, the rest of the lecture outlined the main components of the International Visegrad Fund today. Explaining the variations in grants and programmes, Mr. Machej provided the audience with sufficient detail to truly comprehend the importance of the International Visegrad Fund in the V4 region today.
Certainly different in style and content to a typical lecture, nevertheless it fulfilled its objectives of educating the audience on the fundamental facets of the International Visegrad Fund. Arguably not the most captivating of lecture’s, but nonetheless it served its purpose. By the culmination of the lecture all in attendance were now aware of various dynamics that exit behind the International Visegrad Fund today. A link to this lecture can be found here: http://visegradsummerschool.org/sites/default/files/ivf_new_dimensions_and_old_values_for_v4_cooperation_zmachej.pdf
The Visegrad Insight seminar was led by Martin Ehl and Wojciech Przybylski and after a brief introduction into the background behind Visegrad Insight they proceeded to change the traditional format of a lecture and encourage the participant’s participation in a carefully designed workshop. In terms of the introduction to the topic, Mr. Ehl explained how the project Visegrad Insight a quarterly published journal on the issues facing the Visegrad countries today received funding from the International Visegrad Fund under strict assurances that the editors of the publication would be free to choose which way the journal would be edited.
The workshop divided the participants into four groups, and they had to complete a 1,000 word editorial aimed at their own generation; to interest them in the unique nature of the publication that is Visegrad Insight. Each team had a diverse mix of participants and this helped aid the content of the editorials which in turn made for an engaging and exciting workshop. Both tutors Mr. Ehl and Mr. Przybylski were on hand to offer their own expertise in this field, but fortunately a large number of participants had previously worked in this area and therefore the workshop proved to be a popular choice.
After being afforded a considerable amount of time to come up with their 1,000 word editorial, each group had to make a presentation to the rest of their colleagues that was done in a light-hearted but focused manner. Encouraged by both tutors, each presentation earned warm rounds of applause and all editorials were skilfully crafted. However, the focus of the workshop was not the presentation, but the teamwork that involved all 46 participants being divided into four groups. While the presentations only lasted for a couple of minutes, the response was tremendous. Both tutors were delighted at the efforts each participant had made and the presentations reflected their efforts.  Additionally the participants were also delighted by the seminar. Victoria from Ukraine and Ziemowit from Poland both agreed that the editorials were a ‘’fantastic idea’’ and both really enjoyed the ‘’team work involved’’. Another interesting view both raised was that the Visegrad Insight Journal was a good idea as it is a new initiative that is not just focused on one country but on all the countries of the V4 region. Clearly the participants enjoyed the challenge of coming up with ideas to make Visegrad Insight an appealing proposition to their contemporaries and by their enthusiastic comments each editorial certainly accomplished their aim.
This seminar provided the participants with a practical challenge one which all excelled at. Both tutors expertly managed the groups and in turn provided a unique perspective on the newly publishing Visegrad Journal. Certainly different than the lecture that had preceded it; this seminar was more practical yet still managed to be informative on the subject of Visegrad Insight. 

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