Diplomatic Protocol of the Havel Presidency

Jakub Hladík

Jakub Hladík

On April 10th, 2013 MUN Prague had the pleasure of meeting with Jakub Hladík, the former Head of Diplomatic Protocol at the Presidential Office of Václav Havel. The lecture has been organized in cooperation with one of our supporters; the Czech United Nations Association (CzechUNA).

Mr. Hladík got us acquainted with some of the basics of protocol guidelines and etiquette used during important conferences and meetings of key diplomats, political representatives and heads of states. He also revealed a few behind the scenes stories that he has experienced during events such as the IMF Conference of 2000 and the NATO Summit in 2002, both of which were held in Prague. Apart from numerous students who visited the lecture, the Dean of the Faculty of International Relations with his wife decided to join us for this special occasion.

Hadik started his presentation with an explanation of the coincidences that have led to his employment at the Prague Castle. Given the circumstances after the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the communist regime there was a lack of trained staff in diplomacy weren’t members of the party. This opened up possibilities for less experienced individuals to rise in the ranks of the civil service. Many of the tasks Mr. Hladík was supposed to be overseeing were new to him and his colleagues, which meant they had to learn as they went along with the re-establishment of the democratic regime.

The role of a diplomat must combine the adequate knowledge of the rules of proper conduct and stance with an understanding of the people one works with in order to ensure smooth relations and cooperation. While most officials have a good background in the former, but considerably less in the latter. In Hladik’s experience the person with a finesse for dealing with various characters was Ivan Medek, the Chancellor of Václav Havel and a well-known Czech journalist. He has managed to act friendly and generously towards others while preserving his authority and professionalism. Mr. Hladík has always tried to maintain Medek’s attitude that has made his work at the Castle a wonderful life experience.

At the end of the lecture it was our pleasure to announce for the first time the creation of the Prague Model United Nations Crisis Session (MiniMUN). All of the participants were invited to the one day conference simulating the 1st committee of the UN GA – DISEC.