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2013 Scholarships

Dear Professors, Alumni, and Potential Scholars:

On behalf of the Friends of Slovakia (FOS), a US based non-profit organization devoted to promoting good relations between Slovakia and the US, we are writing to inform you of an opportunity that we hope you will bring to the attention of your students and friends. Every summer since 2004, FOS has provided partial support for one or more Slovak students to participate in the summer programs of the Fund for American Studies (TFAS). We are able to sponsor four, possibly five, students for the 2013 program. For one of the slots, we will give special consideration to candidates who are planning a career in education. Students must meet the criteria set by TFAS in order to be considered for an FOS Scholarship.

Starting in 2013, the TFAS programs will take place at George Mason University’s campus in Arlington, VA, and students will be housed at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The program allows participants not only to increase their knowledge by taking courses on topics of interest but also to interact with students from many of the top universities in the US. The program includes both classes and an internship, which gives the student some practical work experience in the United States.

Students who are interested should complete their applications as soon as possible as instructed on the TFAS website at www.dcinternships.org. The application deadline for international students is 7 February 2012. A copy of the applications should also be sent by email to Dr. Sharon Wolchik at swolchik@gmail.com, Dr. Sharon Fisher at sharon.fisher@ihs.com, and Bill Tucker at tuckintl@radix.net. Students may also send a printed copy of their applications to Dr. Sharon Wolchik, IERES, 1957 E Street, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052.

Slovak students who have participated in this program have found it to be extremely beneficial. We hope that you will make your students and friends aware of this opportunity and urge those whom you think would benefit to apply.

Thank you for your help with this. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sharon Wolchik and Dr. Sharon Fisher

[download letter in MS Word format]

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The following is a brief description of the five TFAS institutes. If you would like a brochure with more details about the programs, please click on the following link: http://www.dcinternships.org/tfas/brochure/index.asp

  • Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES)
    This Institute is intended primarily for students interested in careers in government, international affairs, public policy, and academia. Students take two courses which offer a thorough understanding of the American political tradition and exposure to market economics through comparative study.
  • Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ)
    The quality of public discourse in a free society depends heavily on the accuracy of information provided by the news media. The Institute on Political Journalism was established in 1985 to ensure that future journalists apply basic ethical principles to their reporting and have the tools to accurately cover issues involving economic concepts. The Institute selects many of the best journalism students in the country to attend this Institute each summer, where they attend classes in economics and ethics and serve in internships in major news organizations. Participants also attend weekly lectures at the National Press Club and attend regular briefings at principal news sites such as Congress, the State Department, and the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Bryce Harlow Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA)
    The First Amendment guarantees the right "to petition the government for redress of grievances," a right vital to a free society. The Bryce Harlow Institute on Business and Government Affairs exposes students to the processes by which business exercises this important right. Through academic study, internships in corporate governmental affairs offices and trade associations, and in panel discussions with leaders in the profession, students gain an appreciation for the essential interplay between business and government, and its effect on our nation's future.
  • Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS)
    This Institute is for students interested in non-governmental organizations or civil society. As part of the Institute experience, students attend exclusive site briefings, guest lectures and participate in the Institute Philanthropy Project. The project is designed to allow students to directly impact the DC community through fundraising activities and service projects. At the end of the Institute, students award a grant to a worthy community program with the money raised.
  • Institute on International Affairs and Economics (IEIA)
    This institute helps prepare students for careers in international policy issues and diplomacy. The program offers internships with international policy groups, think tanks, embassies and global non-governmental organizations throughout the Washington area.

2012 FOS Slovak Scholars

Friends of Slovakia (FOS) sponsored five Slovak students in 2012 who attended one of the summer institutes offered by The Fund for American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC. FOS was able to do this from proceeds raised at the 2011 Slovak-American Awards Dinner and through the generous support of the Slovak American Foundation, William and Lia Poorvu, and other donors to FOS. Mr. Poorvu's contribution honors U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Tod Sedgwick.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) sponsors five summer Institutes for undergraduate students both from colleges in the U.S. and from international institutions as well. These institutes specialize in comparative political and economic systems, on political journalism, on business and government affairs, on philanthropy and voluntary service and on economics and international affairs.

They prepare young people for leadership in the life of their communities and their nation by providing them with opportunities in our nation's capital for enlightenment and enrichment.

The Institutes are intense, combining lectures, coursework, internships, evening lectures and site briefings at key institutions of national government. Each Institute offers courses for academic credit. Through the internships, students gain practical experience that prepares them for their careers. Students live in the Georgetown University dorms, which promotes interaction between the US and foreign students.

In 2012, the FOS-sponsored students attended the following institutes:

Name: Mikulás Curik
School: VSM/City University-Bratislava
Major: Business Adminstration
Hometown: Bratislava
Program: Institute on Business and Government Affairs
Sponsored by: Slovak American Enterprise Fund

Name: Monika Izakova
School: University of Economics in Bratislava
Major: Economics
Hometown: Vrable
Program: Institute on Economics and International Affairs
Sponsored by: Friends of Slovakia

Name: Diana Madarászová
School: University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava
Major: Mass Media Communication
Hometown: Dvory nad ?itavou
Program: Institute on Political Journalism
Sponsored by: Friends of Slovakia

Name: Helena Reichlova
School: University of Economics in Bratislava
Major: International Economic Relations
Hometown: Presov
Programs: Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems
Sponsored by: Friends of Slovakia

Name: Martin Teren
School: VSM/City University-Bratislava
Major: Business Adminstration
Hometown: Bratislava
Program: Institute on Business and Government Affairs
Sponsored by: Slovak American Enterprise Fund



The following are some comments by former FOS Slovak scholars about how they program has influenced their lives:

Anna Stancakova (2006) - Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA). Now working as an attorney with Vojcik & Partners, s.r.o. Kosice.

"To me, attending the Fund for American Studies program is one of the most determining experience acquired during my studies or career so far. Currently I work as attorney and last three years I have been also a full-time PhD. student at Law faculty of University of P. J. Safarik in Kosice. Among my school responsibilities as a PhD. student has also belonged teaching. I was teaching Civil law and Street law Clinic. While preparing my classes I was constantly coming back to days of taking classes at Georgetown, because those became for me an example of quality classes attractive for students."

"Being back to school as PhD student I have been again facing a fact, that studies at universities in Slovakia are focused mostly on acquiring theoretical knowledge, while students get their first opportunity to acquire some practical skills with focus on values of professional ethics only as graduates in their first job. My experience at TFAS program convinced me of utility of gaining the practical skills during the studies concurrently with the acquisition of theoretical knowledge and at the same time showed me how such connection can be realized. Therefore I decided to get involved in creating a new course at our Law faculty - Legal Clinic in the near future (from January 2013 to August 2013) and its leading (since September 2013). At designing this course I would like to pursue a meaning of the TFAS program slogan "Live. Learn. Intern." in such way, that participants of the course shall attend (i) internships (in law firms, offices, nonprofit organizations etc.) one day in a week throughout the whole academic year under the auspices of the faculty and (ii) once-a-week classes which shall be focused on reflection their practice, addressing related problems or other practical activities" "I hope to turn this experience into success in my future plans described above."

Martin Korcek (2007) - Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service. Now employed at the Chancellery of the National Council of the Slovak Republic

"I helped some former scholarship recipients with contacts on MPs. I cooperate with Jana Sebosikova from Candole partners Prague, Miriam Svetkovska from US Embassy Bratislava and couple of others."

Jana Hays (formerly Sebosikova) (2007) - Institute for Business and Government Affairs

"Attending the TFAS institute was the single most important semester in my studies and it would not have been possible without the help of the Friends of Slovakia. The experience directly shaped my choice of career. On a more personal basis, it strengthened my confidence in my own abilities and in the necessity of ethical conduct (this may sound a bit out of context but, living in the post communist part of the world, I have found this to be particularly important)."

"I am in regular contact with several graduates from several years. I was very sorry to miss this year's alumni meeting in Bratislava but I hope that there will be another opportunity soon."

Martin Socuvka (2008) – Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems

"During Summer 2008 I had an excellent opportunity to attend the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Politics and Economic Systems. I would not have had this chance to come to Washington, DC without the FOS’s generous sponsorship."

"I have stayed in touch with Miriam Svetkovska and my brother Ondrej."

Lubos Kuchta (2009) – Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. Now employed at Slovak State Health Insurance Company

"TFAS summer program was very intense, but allowed all participants to better understand life in Washington, DC and meet amazing people, either among very intelligent students, or interesting and successful people from academia, politics and business."

"I am in personal contact with my Slovak colleague and in online contact with some classmates via social networks. Last month we had wonderful opportunity to meet Ms. Fisher, Ambassador Sedgwick and other TFAS/FOS alumni from Slovakia. This week we are going to meet with TFAS president Mr. Ream in Bratislava."

Pavol Babos (2009) - Institute for Political Journalism. Currently finishing Ph.D. in Political Economy at Comenius University

"Attending the TFAS program taught me a lot, however, I would like to mention two important points. Firstly, I learnt a lesson about how American students approach their studies and knowledge-building process, since this is considerably different in Slovakia. This helped me in my further studies, especially my post-graduate studies. Secondly, the work experience in Radio Free Europe was a fantastic lesson of professional and top-level journalism which is also quite different from the home experience I had had before. And although I am not currently active in journalism, the experience of working in such inspiring and professional environment is helpful in other fields as well."

"I have stayed in touch with a few graduates from the same cohort, including both American students and international."

Michal Demo (2010) - Institute on Business and Government Affairs. At present Financial Controller at ELDISY, a company that provides the automotive industry with car sealing

"It was a great opportunity to discover academic environment, political system, cultural identity and the way of living in the USA. I also got to know some inspiring people."

"I met the former scholarship recipients at the reception of U.S. Ambassador on August 22, 2012 in Bratislava. I am going to meet them at the reception of TFAS President on September 6, 2012 in Bratislava. And I will also meet some of them during the session of Youth Advisory Council on October 4, 2012 in Kosice."

Pavol Gavor (2011) - Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA). Now Project Manager, AT&T, Bratislava

"It was a great opportunity to experience US schooling system and acquire new skills from business and lobbying environment in DC. I benefited from all the opportunities to meet Slovak representatives at the Embassy in DC, found new friends from abroad and even friends in business area in DC."

"I am in constant contact with some of the Slovak and international attendees. Me and Veronika Korcekova reunited with two other participants from Poland and Estonia this summer in Tallin, Estonia. We spent some time together and refreshed our memories from last summer in DC. We have decided to set up an annual reunion held in home countries of particular participants - on rotation basis. Next year shall be the reunion held in Slovakia."

Veronika Korcekova (2011) - Institute of Philanthropy and Voluntary Service

"TFAS summer program was for me a wonderful opportunity to broaden my knowledge about philanthropy, gain practical working skills and meet new and interesting people. I am sure this experience will shape my future."

Martin Teren (2012) - Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA). Accountant, Deutsche Telekom Shared Services, Bratislava

"Great experience for the future."

Monika Izakova (2012) - Institute on Economics and International Affairs

"It changed my life and helped me to be more competitive."



2011 FOS Slovak Scholars

In June, three FOS scholars will begin their studies at the program organized by the Fund for American Studies at Georgetown University and internships. Bohdana Jakoncukova (from Hummene) will study at the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES). She currently studies International Economic Relations at the University of Economics in Bratislava, where she will complete her degree in June 2011. During her studies, Bohdana was active in student government and worked at the American Chamber of Commerce and the Euroatlantic Center. Veronika Korcekova (from Zvolen) will attend the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS). She will receive her Master’s degree in International Development Studies at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic in June 2011. In addition to her studies in the Czech Republic, Veronika also studied abroad in Austria and interned at Euromontana in Brussels, Belgium and at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bratislava. Pavol Gavor (from Poprad) will study at the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA). He completes his Master’s degree in Political Science at Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica in June 2011. Pavol has participated in study abroad programs in Belgium and Poland and has interned at the Slovak Foreign Ministry and the Educational Initiative for Central and Slovakia. The three students received scholarships from FOS to attend these programs.

The Georgetown summer institutes are offered by the Fund for American Studies, an organization dedicated to educating young leaders on the values of freedom and free-market economies. Approximately 760 students will attend the Fund for American Studies' summer institutes in Washington, DC and abroad this summer. Students hail from 46 different states representing 295 colleges and universities.

Former Friends of Slovakia ( FOS) Slovak Scholars include Ondrej Socuvka, currently Economic Advisor at the US Embassy in Bratislava; Eva Majernikova who is working at the US Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia; Anna Stancakova, Associate Attorney at Vojcik & Partners; Jana Sebosikova, Consultant at Candole Partners in Prague; and Miriama Svetkovska, Case Handler at the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office. These summer study opportunities for the Slovak Scholars are made possible through FOS membership fees, special contributions and FOS fundraising efforts.

Students who wish to apply for a FOS scholarship to partially fund their participation in the programs of the summer institutes should apply to the Fund for American Studies and also send an application to Drs. Sharon L. Fisher (sharonlfisher@yahoo.com) and Sharon L. Wolchik (swolchik@gmail.com).

The application deadline for international students at the Fund for American Studies summer 2012 session will be 13 January 2012. More information about their programs can be found at http://www.dcinternships.org/.

2010 Friends of Slovakia Slovak Scholars

On June 6, Alexander Platzner and Michal Demo, the two 2010 FOS Slovak Scholars, began their studies and internships at the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) and the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) at Georgetown University. Both students received a scholarship from FOS to attend the program.

Michal Demo just graduated with a Masters Degree in Controlling, Corporate Finance and Economics from the University of Cologne and is also a graduate of the Technical University of Kosice in Slovakia. Alexander Platzner is a 2010 graduate of Comenius University where he majored in political science.

On June 17, Juraj and Julie Slavik hosted a garden reception at their home to welcome the 2010 FOS Slovak Scholars to Washington, DC. The reception was attended by FOS board members, Fund for American Studies officials, Slovak Embassy personnel and other supporters of FOS.

Slovak Students Will Again Study in Washington DC (Summer 2009)

As in past years, Friends of Slovakia is pleased to help two outstanding Slovak students participate in a rigorous program of study this summer organized by the Fund for American Studies. Held at Georgetown University, the program offers participants a chance to do a practical internship as well as take courses with other excellent students from all over the world.

This year Pavol Babos (Comenius University, Bratislava ) will participate in the Institute on Political Journalism, and Lubos Kuchta (Economics University, Bratislava) will participate in the Institute on Business and Government Affairs.

These students were chosen by a joint committee of Friends of Slovakia and the Fund for American Studies for their outstanding records and the importance of their career objectives. Friends of Slovakia is able to help support these students as the result of the generous contributions of its members and supporters. While in Washington, the students will meet with the Slovak Ambassador to the US as well as with members of the Board of Directors of FOS. We look for ward to welcoming them shortly.

Thank You Letters From Our Summer 2008 FOS Scholars

A Thank You Letter From Our Summer 2006 FOS Scholar

"Live in the nation's capital, study at Georgetown University, and intern getting real-world experience". For more than 30 years, the Engalitcheff Institute of Comparative Economic and Political Systems has brought together student leaders from across the United States and the world. Friends of Slovakia, in partnership with the Fund of American Studies and Georgetown University, has been supporting scholars attending a program that combines hands-on professional experience, Georgetown courses and exclusive briefings.

Being a Friends' scholar has been a great honor for me. I wished to gain in-depth knowledge in the field of comparative economic and political systems. This has also been the focus of my PhD. studies at the University of Economics in Bratislava as well as at the University of Sergio Arboleda in Bogota, Colombia.

FOS's support has given me the opportunity to deepen my classroom knowledge through various dialogues with your members about Slovak -U.S. related issues. Exchange of opinions, participation in seminars about the elections in Slovakia and about the Slovak -U.S. current political trends organized by the National Endowment for Democracy, CSIS and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in the US in partnership with the FOS has been a truly memorable experience.

My Georgetown program consisted of courses focused on the advantages of capitalism and a history of the free market as well as on exploration of the development of American politics from the conception of the U.S. Constitution to the current centralized federal government. In addition to classes, we have been attending briefings with politicians and policy makers in the White House, congressional offices, State Department, Federal Reserve Board and several foreign embassies here.

At Voice of America I worked with business journalists, helped produce talk shows on various political, economic and cultural topics. It was insightful to me to be at this institution that had played an important role in the history of Slovakia in its spearheading of democratic values - values shared by U.S. and Slovak citizens alike. I would like to thank Friends of Slovakia for its support that gave me the opportunity to gain this high quality academic and professional experience. Eva Majernikova

Funds Raised for FOS Scholarships at Dinner on August 3

Ambassador Rastislav Kacer hosted a fundraising dinner for the Friends of Slovakia Slovak Scholarship Fund at his residence on August 3. $1,250 was raised for the FOS Scholarship Fund from the 25 people in attendance.

Anna Stancakova and Eva Majernickova, the 2006 FOS Slovak Scholars, attended the dinner as guests of Friends of Slovakia. The two students informed the dinner guests about their experiences and impressions of the Fund for American Studies Institutes at Georgetown University where they were summer students. The students praised both the academic standards of the institute and the internship opportunities which provided them with practical work experience in the United States.

FOS expects to continue supporting Slovak scholars who qualify for the Fund for American Studies program in future years.

2006 FOS Slovak Scholars

As in the past two years, FOS has, with the help of generous donations from our members and sponsors, including those who contributed to the Gala Dinner held in November in Bratislava, made two scholarship awards to Slovak students to enable them to participate in the summer programs of the Fund for American Studies. Ms. Eva Majernikova, an International Economic Relations major at the University of Economics in Bratislava, was accepted to the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. Ms. Anna Stancakova, a law student at the University of Pavol Jozef Safarik, was accepted to the Bryce Harlow Institute of Business and Government Affairs. The students will be in Washington from June 10 to August 5. In previous years, the FOS Slovak scholars were Ondrej Socuvka (2004), who completed an internship with US Steel in the US after the program and later served as advisor to Prime Minister Dzurinda for foreign direct investment, and Martin Mikulas (2005) who won a scholarship to study in France following his attendance at the Fund for American Studies Institute.

The programs of the Fund for American Studies take place at Georgetown University and allow participants not only to increase their knowledge through courses but also to interact with students from top universities in the US. The program is organized to allow the students to intern in the mornings, and take classes in the afternoons. The internships allow the students to gain some practical work experience, which is of particular interest to the students from other countries like Anna and Eva. Anna is interning at the Washington office of U.S. Steel and Eva is interning with Voice of America.

On June 14 Ingrid Aielli, a member of the FOS Board of Directors, hosted a reception for the two students at Teatro Goldoni, her restaurant in Washington, DC. In addition to the two Slovak scholars, the reception was attended by the following members of the FOS Board of Directors: Tom Skladony, David and Jana Frankel, Scott Salmon, Ken Bombara, Sharon Fisher, Ingrid Aielli and Bill Tucker. Ambassador Julian Niemczyk, Member of the FOS Board of Advisors, Anne Meesman and Ann Johnson also attended. The students expressed their gratitude for the financial assistance provided by FOS and are very excited about the program at Georgetown University.

Slovak Exchange Student Helped By FOS

Friends of Slovakia awarded its second scholarship to help support a Slovak student for summer study in the US to Martin Mikolas. Martin completed a Master of Arts in International Relations and Economic Diplomacy at the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Economics in Bratislava. He also received a certificate in European Law and Economics at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

While in the US, he participated in summer courses at Georgetown University under the auspices of the Fund for American Studies. We anticipate that we will be able to provide partial support for another student to study in the US during the summer of 2006. Interested students are urged to contact Dr. Sharon Wolchik, Chair, FOS Scholarship Committee, at wolchik@gwu.edu.


First Annual Friends of Slovakia Scholarship Awarded to Ondrej Socuvka

Washington, D.C. -- The Friends of Slovakia (FOS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., has awarded its first annual scholarship to Ondrej Socuvka, a Slovak student, to attend the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Politics and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. This annual summer Institute is sponsored by the Fund for American Studies (www.tfas.org) and is intended primarily for students interested in careers in government, international affairs, public policy, and academia.

Ondrej Socuvka is a graduate of the University of Economic in Bratislava (Master's Degree in Corporate Finance, Faculty of Business Administration) and has attended programs at the University of Sacro Cuore (MIBP PECO scholarship) in Milan, Italy and at the University of Udine (Socrates Scholarship), also in Italy. Since January 2004 Ondrej has worked as an International Analyst at McGuire Woods LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, D.C. and plans to return to Slovakia following his studies at Georgetown.

Socuvka has been selected by the Fund for American Studies to mentor the approximate 25 foreign students attending the three Institutes. Ondrej is the first Slovak to be asked to fulfill this role.

The Fund for American Studies is a nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C. which has been educating young leaders on the values of freedom, democracy, and free market economies since 1967. In addition to the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Politics and Economic Systems the Fund also sponsors two other summer Institutes in partnership with Georgetown University (the Institute on Political Journalism and the Institute on Political Journalism), and sponsors institutes in the Czech Republic, Greece and Hong Kong.

These Institutes prepare young people for leadership in the life of their communities and nation by providing them with opportunities in America's capital for enlightenment and enrichment. The Institutes are intense, combining lectures, coursework, internships, evening lectures, and site briefing at key institutions of national government. Students take two courses which offer a thorough understanding of the American political tradition and exposure to market economics through comparative study. Through the internships, students gain practical experience that prepares them for their careers. Students from universities throughout the U.S. attend the Institutes at Georgetown University, in addition to students from many foreign countries.


Ondrej Socuvka - FOS Scholar
Student Testimonial, November 16, 2004

My name is Ondrej Socuvka, and it is my privilege to share my recent experience of studying, working and living in the United States with you. I came to Washington, DC in February with a set of great expectations. I wanted a taste of the U.S. during an election year and a taste of DC as a center of world international relations and politics. In the beginning, I started my work experience with Mark Brzezinski who offered me an internship in the framework of the Central European Leaders program that he created. I'm very grateful for experience working of with him. Later on, I extended my experience in summer school at Georgetown University and in another internship with US Steel Corporation. This has been done with the gracious support of the Friends of Slovakia, and thanks to the support of Mr. Scott Salmon, who also sits on the board of directors of Friends of Slovakia.

I've spent the past few days reflecting on the investment in my one-year experience - the investment made by my family, by my professors here at Georgetown University, by the Fund for American Studies, and by the Friends of Slovakia. These are people who have given of their time and money for my benefit. So in reflecting on my past year, my question becomes: what are the returns on that investment? Was it worth it?

Since the first week of my stay in DC, every aspect of my experience with The Fund for American Studies has amplified the theme that ideas are powerful, and freedom is essential. First, through my internship: this summer I was the international analyst at McGuireWoods, working with Mark. During the internship, where I worked mainly with the regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia, I witnessed the complexity of international relations. Coming from Slovakia, a country that lived more than 40 years under the brutal communism regime, I was privileged to see the U.S. position with respect to other transition countries and I was motivated to help the other countries deal with issues of socialism. My recent internship sponsor, US Steel Corporation (USS), made a huge investment in Slovakia in 2000. Ask any Slovak about US Steel Kosice, and you will always get a positive answer. People in Slovakia appreciate regular salaries, highly competitive but secure jobs, fair relations with management, and last but not least, very active involvement of US Steel in community. Therefore I am so proud to work for US Steel, as a company driven not only by profit but also by high corporate standards.

Second, through my Georgetown University classes: My classmates and I at Georgetown University took classes of economics, politics and public policy this summer, and learned much from very talented professors and from lively discussions in those classes. My Leadership class challenged me to realize that ideas are necessary, but ideas are not enough. Ideas require persons with strong motivation, high moral standards, constancy, and last but not least, discretion to be implemented in the real world.

Finally, I learned the power of ideas through my experience of living at Georgetown: I will go home with pictures and memories of so many people I shared the summer with, people who both encouraged me in my thinking because we were like-minded and others who challenged me to think differently. I was particularly blessed and challenged by all my American classmates, because of our different cultural backgrounds and different heritage. In a time when many are concerned about the international politics of the U.S., I am so grateful to have spent almost a year with The Fund for American Studies, living with American students from all across the America. Our relationship was a constant exchange of ideas and cultures. It meant me talking about politics, explaining the opinions of Central Europeans, and talking about life in a transition economy. It also meant my US friends making me my first typical American breakfast and trying to explain to me the rules of the baseball at an Orioles game. My friends, and I didn't solve any of the world's problems this summer, but the ideas expressed were important and the dialogue allowed me a tiny glimpse into the US perspective on the world and on my own country. And I am better for it.

I still don't know if I will be working in private business or in the government. All I know is that I am changed by interacting with the ideas that drive politics, and that I understand in the years to come the importance of freedom. I am prepared to make the best use of the experience and knowledge I gained here in DC in order to help Slovakia in its transition, and help also the other Central and Eastern European countries to realize the importance of the ideas and freedom.

So I came to Washington DC eight months ago expecting to be challenged and expecting to grow. Now it is time for me to return to Slovakia in December. I will return convinced that I was here in DC for a reason. All this would not be possible without the help of Friends of Slovakia Scholarship program. I'm so thankful for the people who chose to invest in my life this summer. Thank you.

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