Nebraska City residents greeted Petr Gandalovic, U.S. ambassador from the Czech Republic, at a breakfast at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center Monday morning.
Gandalovic, a former physics teacher and city mayor, has served as the Czech agricultural minister. He has been ambassador since May of 2011.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry invited Gandalovic, who later addressed the Nebraska National Guard in Lincoln and visited the Czech Days festival in Prague.
Fr. Steve Thomlison, assistant pastor at St. Mary's Catholic Church, opened with a prayer on behalf of the two great nations and Mayor Jack Hobbie presented the ambassador with a glass with the Nebraska City motto, “Where Great Ideas Grow.”
Gandalovic urged people to foster the trans-Atlantic relationship.
“This is something we have taken fro granted for some decades, but actually, as generations change, the younger generation no longer feels the pressure of the Cold War or even the war itself, people may become complacent and say we do not need each other,” he said.
“People may say let Europe deal with its own problems at the same time we have China and other new economic centers, which not only begin to dominate the economies, but bring a little bit different values that what we have been brought up with,” he said.
He recommended student exchanges and military exchanges.
The Nebraska National Guard has been linked with the Czech Republic through the National Guard State Partnership Program, a U.S. Department of Defense program that connects American States with countries around the world for the purpose of supporting security cooperation objectives.
Also attending were Paul and Deb Salansky, Dan Kelly of St. Mary's Community Hospital; Doug Farrar of Arbor Day Farm, Joe Johnson, city administrator; Dan Hanson of Peru State College and Tim Pendrell of Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce.
John and Janet Palmtag organized the breakfast and attended a tour of Arbor Lodge with Randy Fox and Gandalovic on Sunday.
Congressman Fortenberry said he arranged for the amabassador’s overnight stay in Nebraska City. “I wanted him to see one of our great gems,” he said, during is welcome on the terrace at Lied Lodge.