ECP mourns Karel Schwarzenberg

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It was with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of our Czech Patron Karel Schwarzenberg. Karel Schwarzenberg became our Patron in 2013, following the death of Václav Havel thanks to whose initiative the English College in Prague was established in 1994.

Karel Schwarzenberg took his patronage of the ECP very seriously and, despite his poor health in recent years, he always tried to come to important school events – the College’s Founders’ Day or the Graduation Ceremony.

Thanks to his generosity, the Karel Schwarzenberg Scholarship was added to our list of scholarships in 2020. Two years ago, we jointly created the annual Karel Schwarzenberg Award, which goes to a student who not only has an excellent knowledge of history, but who also understands historical contexts well, is able to apply them to the present and is interested in public affairs. Karel Schwarzenberg believed that these abilities are the prerequisites of a good politician.

As a politician, he was one of the most prominent faces on the Czech political scene. He always tried to improve the political culture and even though he was not successful in the presidential election, he set a political and moral example to many young people.

At the same time, he was respected by European and world politicians for his balance and wisdom. Carl Bildt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, said of him, “He was the wisest European – in the deepest sense – that I have been fortunate to get to know.” Former British Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said that “Karel Schwarzenberg was both one of the wisest and and one of the wittiest colleagues I worked with on European and international affairs.”

Karel Schwarzenberg enthusiastically supported our students in their efforts to raise money for the Václav Havel Scholarship, intended for Roma children. He recently took the time to talk to the students who organised the Václav Havel Scholarship Fund and explained to them personally why the Roma community was close to his heart. It was an unforgettable meeting for everyone present.

He always took an active interest in what was happening at the College. He was very pleased with our academic achievements, but above all, with the activities of the students, in whom he saw such great potential for the development of our country, and especially with the charitable projects they undertook for the benefit of all humanity.

Just two weeks ago, he supported a team of students preparing a Model United Nations student conference and sent them a donation towards the costs. The news of his death reached them on the last day of the conference. His support for our students’ activities has always been a great boost to everyone involved.

His legacy for us will be his life of service, as service to the community and the importance of reciprocity is also our priority at the English College. We will always remember his sense of duty to his country and his message will live on in our school.

We also think of the Prince’s family and express our deepest condolences to them.