Czech Ambassador Marie Chatardová arrived in London in October last year from New York, where she was stationed as the Czech Republic’s permanent representative to the UN. She notes that throughout her diplomatic career, “at least one of our three children has always moved with us, but for the first time I moved alone with my husband because all of our children are now adults.” The Ambassador is ‘grateful’ to have taken part in the Jubilee celebrations, also marking the occasion by ‘planting a lime tree – the national tree of the Czech Republic – in the garden of the Residence as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project “.
Czech Ambassador Marie Chatardová arrived in London in October last year from New York, where she was stationed as the Czech Republic’s permanent representative to the UN. She notes that throughout her diplomatic career, “at least one of our three children has always moved with us, but for the first time I moved alone with my husband because all of our children are now adults”. The Ambassador is ‘grateful’ to have taken part in the Jubilee celebrations, also marking the occasion by ‘planting a lime tree – the national tree of the Czech Republic – in the garden of the Residence as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project “.
The ambassador considers how her life was “divided into two periods: before and after November 1989”. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, she remembers how “our country was unwittingly behind the so-called Iron Curtain. My mother was the daughter of a landowner and the Communists nationalized all her family property. I never thought that I could go into diplomacy because I am convinced that a good diplomat must be proud of his country. After the Velvet Revolution, I suddenly felt like anything was possible and within reach. We could travel and think freely. As a result, Ambassador Chatardová became a commercial lawyer and, after working in this field for several years, she “joined the MFA in 1994 to proudly represent my new country”.
Throughout an impressive career, Ambassador Chatardová has held several high-level diplomatic positions, including Director of Diplomatic Protocol, and Ambassadorial appointments to Sweden and France (also accredited to Monaco, the UNESCO and the International Organization of La Francophonie). “Each host country is, of course, very different,” she notes, “but my experiences have been extremely valuable, both in running the embassy itself and in promoting Czech interests. . At the same time, it is necessary to establish a new set of priorities in each destination and to create a network of professional and social contacts.
During a “multifaceted” assignment as Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN (2016-21), the Ambassador held many different roles and participated in a wide range of events, d diaries and conferences. In July 2017, she was elected President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), “the third most important organ of the United Nations. The Czech Republic had not held such a high position since 2003 and I was only the third woman to chair ECOSOC in its 72-year history, which was a great honour. Established in 1946, this body makes recommendations to Member States regarding global economic, social and environmental challenges and is the main body where progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is reviewed.
Since her arrival as Ambassador to the UK, she has observed “the combination of traditional and modern approaches, both in architecture and in society” here in the capital… The British mentality is more like that of the Czechs, including a sense of humor and irony, which helps enormously to open doors. Overall my work experience in the UK has been excellent so far.
Regarding her plans for the appointment, she says “without doubt a top priority is the development of bilateral relations with the UK, which are already excellent, but there is always a way to deepen them. foreign policy, our foreign ministers signed a declaration of intent, which sets out the main areas of cooperation. In addition, economic diplomacy, including trade and mutual investment, is also crucial. Not only the United Kingdom Uni is one of the largest investors in the Czech Republic, but Czech investment in the UK is also increasing Another priority is the area of science, technology, innovation and cybersecurity, as well as culture, tourism and the global presentation of my country throughout the UK We are on the right track, as last year the London magazine Time Out chose Prague as the most beautiful city in the world!
She continues: “We have good defense cooperation, which is strongly rooted in our common history. During World War II, thousands of Czech soldiers came to fight alongside their British counterparts. At the end of June, we launched a project called “Children of Heroes”, which maps the fates, memories and attachment to Czech roots of the families of our heroes who have settled here. Their stories are fascinating.
Although the Ambassador notes that “Brexit has made some aspects of our cooperation more difficult, I am happy to say that we have managed to maintain an intense bilateral relationship and are constantly developing it. We are, after all, natural allies in the face of the same global challenges.
Ambassador Chatardová had a busy schedule this summer as the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU started on 1 July. “We will continue to present and promote our priorities on various occasions, whether in the European committee of the House of Lords, in the respective committee of the Scottish Parliament or in all kinds of other formats with our partners here in the Kingdom. We marked the start of our presidency with a jazz concert by Emil Viklický and are planning other cultural events in conjunction with Czech Center London.However, she notes that her country took over the rotating presidency at “a exceptionally challenging. But we have identified the following five priority areas: Managing the refugee crisis and Ukraine’s post-war recovery; Energy security; Strengthening European defense capabilities, including cybersecurity; Strategic resilience of the economy of the EU and the resilience of democratic institutions.”
Reflecting on her career, Ambassador Chatardová remarks: “I have many beautiful memories. But if I had to choose one, it would be the day in 2016 when I received the Legion of Honor – Commander – for the significant development of Franco-Czech relations. I was the first Czech woman to receive this French prize. I cherish this moment as a reminder of all the hard work and a representation of the advances in diplomatic relations that we have contributed to. »
You can find the original version of the interview here.