Since 2009, students of the Faculty of Information Technology, CTU in Prague (FIT CTU) have been involved in the activities of Czech-American TV (CATV US), a US non-profit organization, by using the outcomes of their theses and in this way raising awareness of the Czech Republic and its regions. As a result, FIT is the first-ever faculty in the Czech Republic that has received an award for the long-term promotion of the Czech Republic. The award has been presented by John Honner, an American producer and founder of Czech-American TV.
FIT CTU is the only institution collaborating with CATV USA that has received the award recognizing its commitment from the organization’s founder, John Honner. Students of FIT CTU have been closely collaborating with the organization for 11 years, using the outcomes of their bachelor and master theses. They have come up with technical solutions for the development of the broadcaster’s website. They have devised a system to make broadcasting more efficient and in this way, they have contributed to building the reputation of the Czech Republic abroad.
CATV US also has a small-scale collaboration with universities in Hradec Králové, Brno and Ostrava. The public non-commercial broadcast takes the form of video documentaries in which English-speaking audiences can learn about Czech regions, towns, monuments and gastronomy. This contribution to the promotion of Czech culture and history is rather unique and original. Doc. Marcel Jiřina, dean of FIT CTU, comments:
“For me, this award is proof that the faculty has capable and talented students that work enthusiastically and proactively. I am proud that our faculty can contribute to the promotion of the Czech Republic abroad.”
Karel Vrabec, a bachelor student of FIT CTU, is one of the people involved in the collaboration with CATV USA. He also received an award for the best webmaster at CATV US from the hands of John Honner. He adds:
“CATV US also has two internet radio stations on their website. However, they had no administration and there were a lot of errors. For this reason, last year CATV US published new topics of student theses related to the reconstruction of these two stations,” Vrabec says, adding: “So I chose a topic of my bachelor thesis in which I programmed web administration of these two radio stations.”
Czech-American TV has broadcast programmes about the regions of Bohemia and Moravia and their cultural heritage in the US since 2013. This public non-commercial broadcasting is watched regularly by 2.5 million households in 60 American cities every week. The internet streaming service and programmes in English attract additional tens of thousands of viewers around the world.
“Our organization contributes to spreading the renown of the Czech Republic also through other activities, such as teaching the Czech language in the US in cooperation with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a project focused on searching for Czech ancestors and their roots in cooperation with the State Regional Archives of the Czech Republic, or promoting traditional Czech cooking in cooperation with the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň,” CATV US founder John Honner lists some of the non-profit projects currently underway.