Cardiff Met continued its Ambassadorial Lecture series on Monday, 4th December, when it hosted Slovakia's Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Lubomir Rehak.
The Ambassadorial Lecture series provides a range of perspectives from people with unique insight on issues that affect our community, particularly as the UK navigates its way through Brexit and global geopolitical uncertainty, with cultural diplomacy being an important theme.
Professor Cara Aitchison, President and Vice Chancellor, introduced His Excellency, who spoke to students and staff about some of the challenges that Slovakia has faced in the 25 years since it became an independent country, highlighting parallels between Slovakia's experience and the current situation that the UK finds itself in as it negotiate a Brexit deal.
The Ambassador credited the EU as being vital in the development of Slovakia and asserted that membership remains strategically important to the country.
He remarked that although the UK would be missed, the transformation that the UK is embarking on will come at a cost, and it is important for people to question their governments.
The Ambassador then participated in a Q&A, hosted by Professor Mohamed Loutfi, Pro Vice Chancellor (International). There were a number of questions from the audience on topics ranging from the role of Russia, his favourite country and student mobility. Mr Nigel Payne, Honorary Consul, provided the Vote of Thanks. During his visit, the Ambassador also spoke with Slovakian students studying in Cardiff.
Ambassador Rehak's career with the Slovakian Foreign Ministry has seen him posted in Moscow Lisbon, Minsk, Brussels and Astana before taking the post as Slovakia's Ambassador to the UK in 2015. The Ambassador was recently awarded 'Diplomat of the Year from Europe 2017' at the Diplomat Magazine Awards.
Following the lecture, Ambassador Rehak commented, "While trade, business and prosperity play an important role in our perception of the EU, for us, the European project is primarily about values: freedom and…peace. Freedom and peace create space for trade, business and prosperity – not the other way round"
Prof Loutfi commented, "There is much to learn from the unique insights that our Ambassadorial lectures provide, and Ambassador Rehak has made important points for consideration as we prepare to leave the EU".