The second CGYPP seminar in Prague at the end of June 2016 was devoted to a broad palette of issues related to the rise of populism, extremism and other threats to both Czech and German society.

The introductory debate with Prof. Ivo Budil dealt with the role of modernity in the context of the so-called“migration crisis” and the related topic of the future of the European integration.

Approaching the topic of societies at risk from a broader perspective, the film director Václav Marhoul offered a less optimistic picture of future developments as he spoke about his work on a new historical film. He drew a parallel between the preparation of the script and the current society-wide anti-immigrant sentiments, pointing to the refusal of difference that characterizes both of these matters. He also pointed out the influence of his membership in the reserves of the Czech Army on his artistic work, particularly the portrayal of Russia as an enemy.

Covering the practical details of the current political developments of Czech-German relations, particularly as they relate to the “migration crisis”, we had the opportunity to discuss these topics with an expert on Czech-German relations Vladimír Handl who is with the Institute of International Relations, and an expert on the Muslim integration Zora Hesová who is Research Fellow with AMO. The debate tacked the different perspectives and strategies in dealing with the “migration crisis” employed by political parties on either side of the border. We explored the reasons for such a minor overlap in understanding the refugee and migration issues, despite the otherwise vibrant Czech-German relations where there is a high level of mutual understanding.

Later, we discussed the wide public’s participation in the planning of the city development. Pavla Pelčíková who works at the Prague Institute of Planning and Development presented a city council’s perspective. During the discussion, a wide scope of issues were raised, relating to the involvement of the public in urban planning in a manner that satisfies both the citizens and the investor and how to pay attention to political will and demands.

We also involved several CGYPP Alumni in the seminar program. Jakub Kučera, a 2015 CGYPP participant and RSJ Analyst, delivered presentation on high frequency trading on stock markets and the ethics involved in such trading. Jan Krčmář, a 2011/2012 CGYPP participant and employee of the Photon Energy then talked about the role of solar and “green” energy sources’ role in the Czech energy policy and the instability in the rules and procedures created by the public administration.

The second part of the seminar was oriented on the development of participants’ projects. They have come up with two different ideas they are going to work on over the summer and which will be completed during the third CGYPP seminar in Dresden and Liberec at the beginning of September. These activities are designed to, among others, contribute to development of the CGYPP Alumni network.

The project is organized by the Association for International Affairs (AMO) in cooperation with the European Academy of Berlin (EAB) and co-funded by the Czech German Fund for Future and Hanns Seidel Foundation Prague.