On 31 May in Prague, during the inauguration of the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group the International Visegrad Prize will be awarded. This is the most prestigious award in whole Central Europe, which was established by Ministers of Culture of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary in 2004 and is awarded annually to individuals and institutions for their actions for the development of cultural cooperation of the Visegrad Group countries. This year’s prize winner is the Villa Decius Association of Krakow, whose flagship programmes focus on the cooperation of V4. The most important among them is the Visegrad Summer School which has been carried out for 11 years enjoying an unflagging popularity and respect, as an international platform for informal study and a place to create new macro-regional initiatives.
Annual creative scholarships, awarded since 1998, also provide significant contribution to the cultural development of the region. By 2011, the Association has hosted more than 130 writers from Central and Eastern Europe, including Central European artists like: Michal Hvorecký, Jiri Hajicek, András Pályi, Barbora Gregorova, David Zábranský, Jonas Hájek.
The Villa Decius itself is also a place of meetings, as well as political and social debate. Here since 2006, the Association has been organising international conferences and seminars devoted to the idea of freedom, which are also an opportunity to meet prominent intellectuals and politicians. Among the most prominent were, among others: Jiri Dienstbier, Jan Kavan, Jara David-Moserová, Petr Uhl, Martin Butora, Andrej Ban, František Ružička, Magdalena Vášáryová, Laszlo Rajk, Andras Lánczi, Géza Jeszenszky, Csaba Gy. Kiss, Danuta Hübner, Adam D. Rotfeld, Adam Michnik and Bogdan Borusewicz.
The Association also often plays the role of a strategic partner or initiator of such projects as: Visegrad Insight, Visegrad Visibility, Ethnicity in the City and, the latest initiative of the International Visegrad Fund, the Visegrad Literary Residency Program. These programmes are related to promotion of the Visegrad Group and are carried out with the help ofoutstanding partners from Bratislava (Pre Výskum Etnicity and Culture Centre), Budapest (Cracovia EXPRESSZ Alapítvány, Európai Kulturális Alapítvány), Prague (Asociace Pro Mezinárodní otázky, Multikulturní Centre Praha) and Kiev (Institute Euroregio Ukraine) and also supported by the International Visegrad Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic missions and consular posts, Polish and foreign institutions and local authorities.
These, as well as other activities, make the Villa Decius a leader in the cooperation of the Visegrad Group. Through promoting V4 countries’ partnerships, which have implications that reach beyond the borders of Central Europe, the Association became a promoter of culture of the whole region. The Prize, which confirms such assumption, will be received by the Director of the Association, Danuta Glondys, PhD.