Participants of the twelfth year of the Czech German Young Professionals Program (CGYPP) met in Ostrava on September 9 – 12, 2021. Together with the organisers, the group went through an exciting program shaped by the main topic – Ways out of the crisis. Thanks to modern technologies, the ten participants on-site were joined by three online participants who could not come to Ostrava for various reasons.

For the first debate, two local guests joined the group in Centrum Pant in the centre of Ostrava. Karolína Pláničková (this year’s CGYPP participant) hosted a discussion held by Sylvie Vůjtková from Arena Theatre and Andrej Harmečko from Cooltour association on the topic of the impact of covid-19 on performing arts. Both guests and participants defined crucial problems present in this area during the pandemics and discussed possibilities and challenges lying ahead.

On Friday, the program of the Ostrava seminar continued with a field trip to Třinec. There we discussed topics connected to the community level and the impacts of the pandemics. Firstly, we visited the community centre Borek in a socially excluded locality, where local community workers Lenka Szotkowská and Iveta Kowolová with their team are doing incredible things. With Zuzana Stanková from the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Studies at the University of Ostrava, we discussed causes and ways out of the problem of social exclusion. During an interactive workshop at Borek, participants had an opportunity to brainstorm ideas on tackling social exclusion and talking to locals and their experiences. Social housing, public-private partnership, education and promotion of good practice examples were among mentioned ideas.

The afternoon part of the program took place at the working place of Jan Delong – this year’s CGYPP participant at Knihovna Třinec. The library is an important institution in the life of a local community. Jan and his colleagues try to engage all age groups in the life of the library – from small kids, teenagers, adults up to older people. After a guided tour, participants got an opportunity to present their Pecha Kucha presentations to others on topics of my biggest dream/ challenge; what I learned from the pandemic and what Europe looks like in 2040. In the evening we experienced a concert by a local jazz band at the Třinec library!

Saturday morning launched at the office of BeePartner in the area of Lower Vítkovice in Ostrava. Discussion with Daniel Konczyna, hosted by Václav Bacovský, focused on transformation of the region from coal mining and steel production towards bigger sustainability. In his presentation, Daniel Konczyna highlighted the importance of public engagement in strategic planning for areas in transformation. Ostrava offers various sights from the area of former industrial production. Nowadays, these are spots for cultural and community life. Together with Jan Lenard from Ovatrip, we experienced a guided tour across the town and got familiar with its dynamic past.

On Saturday afternoon, we concluded the program with the last guest lecture held by Filip Šebok, an expert on China foreign and domestic policy, from the Association for International Affairs (AMO). In his lecture, he explained the role of China in the pandemic, changing the relationship between the Czech Republic and Germany to China in the previous decade.

The program of the twelfth year of the annual Czech German Young Professionals Program (CGYPP) ended on Sunday morning when participants presented their feedback to the last seminar held in Ostrava. As long as the program’s important role is in networking, Michael Murad and Zuzana Lizcová from the organisational team presented opportunities for further interaction, also with vivid alumni network across the Czech Republic and Germany.

We would like to thank the Centre PANT and Eurocentre Ostrava for their help in the preparation of the seminar and the Borek Community Centre and the Třinec Library for the opportunity to learn more about

The program is initiated and financed by the Czech-German Fund for the Future. Seminar was organised with the support of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, too.