President of Czech Republic to Give Inaugural Economics Lecture

September 15, 2011 - News Release

A new annual visiting lecture series on international economics has been created by the University of Guelph’s Department of Economics and Finance with support from the College of Management and Economics. The series is intended to stimulate discussion among faculty, students, international economic leaders and the general public on global research and policy issues.

The inaugural Distinguished Visiting Lecture will be delivered by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Arboretum Centre. Klaus’s lecture, titled “The Serious Challenges Faced by the European Union,” will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We are honoured that Dr. Klaus has taken time out of his busy schedule to come to Guelph,” said Prof. John Livernois, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance. “As a professional economist and one of the longest-serving heads of state in Europe, he is in a unique position to give us insights into what lies ahead for the world economy.”

Livernois added that it’s important for universities to promote discussions and debate about key global issues. “This new lecture series will support critical thinking in all disciplines and encourage people to ponder their own ideas and beliefs as well as those of others. Having a prominent world figure as the inaugural lecturer is a dynamic way to start.”

Klaus is known for forthright views and a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. Born in Prague in 1941, he studied economics in Prague, Italy and the United States, and completed a PhD at the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1968.

From 1970 to 1989, he worked as an economist at the Czechoslovak Central Bank and the Czech Academy of Sciences. In 1989, he served as finance minister in the revolutionary government of Vaclav Havel, leading the transition of the Czech economy from state-run central planning to a free-market system.

He co-founded the Civic Democratic Party in 1991 and was elected prime minister a year later. He was elected president of the Czech Republic in 2003 and was re-elected in 2008. In 2009, he served as president of the European Union.

Among numerous international awards, Klaus has received honorary doctorates from 35 universities in Europe, the United States, Canada and elsewhere. He has written 20 books on economics and politics.

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