Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovič and his wife held a gala dinner as part of the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2016- Martina Navrátilová in the Czech Embassy’s hall to recognize the achievements and inspirational leadership of Martina Navrátilová, the best tennis player of all time. Before numerous distinguished guests, the Ambassador praised that, “As a citizen of our two states, a proud Czech and a proud American, Martina literally represents what the Mutual Inspirations Festival is about.” Reflecting on a similar thought, the Director for Central and Northern European Affairs of the National Security Council, Brian Johnson, read a Message about the festival from US President Barack Obama, stating, “For generations, the Czech and American peoples have drawn meaning from the examples set by one another in the arts, in athletics, and through achievements spanning disciplines and mediums across our societies.”
The keynote address was delivered by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who offered moving words, referring to Martina Navrátilová as a “barrier breaker” for her outspokenness as well as an inspirational leader who inspires others to go where they ought to go. Utilizing her own Czech background, Secretary Albright also delighted the guests with lighthearted remarks such as that Czech women and tennis go together like “vepřo, knedlo, zelo” (referring to the beloved Czech traditional dish of pork, dumplings and sauerkraut). Martina Navrátilová was distinctly touched and thanked everyone for the honors.
During the evening, Martina Navrátilová and Secretary Albright autographed a wooden oversized tennis racket, specifically manufactured for the Mutual Inspirations Festival by the Czech company Artis nostalgically in the design dating back to the days when the tennis legend first started playing. At the conclusion of the dinner, Ambassador Gandalovič, on behalf of the Embassy of the Czech Republic, and Martin Pabiška, the Director of the Czech company Elton, presented Martina Navrátilová with a special, joint gift, a custom designed wristwatch of the world famous brand PRIM. Martina Navrátilová will celebrate her 60th birthday in October.
Photo courtesy of Lillis Werder