Farewell Message from Marianna Neupauerová

The International Visegrad Fund, as an international organisation at the heart of Central Europe, is a unique place where people are able to challenge themselves while keeping up with times and trends. Ask questions and look for answers. Discuss. Succeed and celebrate. Fail and stand up. All behind those pink walls in a wonderful company of a young team and under the leadership of inspirational directors. I am grateful for every single day we could spend together with the team discussing and solving new issues; and for working with open-minded and courageous directors.

During these difficult times, regional cooperation and partnerships are being questioned and doubted, and  long-term plans seem utopic. Allow me to point out that if we had given up the traditional mission and vision of the Fund, hundreds of people´s connections around the Visegrad region, Eastern Partnership, and Western Balkans would not have been established. We neither would have created unique and quick medical and paramedical Covid-support scheme for Eastern Partnership countries in 2020 and 2021, nor the extraordinary program for organisations helping Ukrainian refugees in March last year. We would have not supported V4 scientists in their joint RDI projects with Japan; have raised the number of fellows and their financial support at the Open Society Archives in Budapest and Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence; have set up a V4 Generation mobility scheme for primary and secondary schools; have raised our Visegrad+ engagement with the generous support of the Republic of Korea; or have created a new fashion residency program in Milan.

My gratitude goes indeed also to the four capitals, as the Fund would not continue to grow and innovate without the support of their Visegrad teams, as well as Embassies of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in the countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership.

Last but not least, there is a special word of appreciation from my side to every single grantee, resident, scholar or fellow whose project and path I could follow. Dear all, I very much appreciate your commitment to the region, as well as your cooperation and support.

I wish you all many more years of successful regional partnerships to come!