Czech Heroes and Leaders
Have you ever wondered how an ordinary person becomes a heroic figure? Is leadership a set of characteristics or is it an activity that can be learned? What is the relationship between heroic leaders and the deepest values that people hold? In Prague, Jan Hus stands in the middle of Old Town Square, Milada Horáková appears on large banners, and Václav Havel’s name and image appear on trams, in movies, and frequent remembrances. Who were these Czech heroes? What do they have to offer us today? Join us to find out.
|Date||April 13-15, 2021|
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There is no better place to study the practice of courageous leadership than in Prague, Czech Republic. The people here have had to endure the direct turmoil of both of the 20th Century’s most infamous tyrants: Hitler and Stalin.
This was the capital of an empire, a democracy, under a totalitarian regime, and back to democracy. In the midst of dark and challenging times, leaders in Prague have mobilized others to live by their principles, to live in truth even if it meant risking their lives and families.
This module explores the lives of three people who have shaped Prague and the Czech people in a profound way. The legacies of Hus, Horáková and Havel are very much present today in banners, movies, remembrances, protests, and dialogue about the future of this country and its democracy. Who were these people? How are they remembered here? What can their decisions, collaborations, and message teach us today?
The Czech Heroes and Leaders series presents an opportunity to learn about the lives and significance of leaders who show us possibilities and hope even in the darkest of times.
- Analyze the dynamics of leaders and followers by zooming in on the decisions, symbolic actions, perspectives, and tactics of leaders and collaborators within their context
- Interpret the themes of living in truth, authenticity, and inclusivity in the practice of leadership
- Articulate our own values and principles through the human stories of these individuals
- Apply a thoughtful understanding of leadership through the lives of leaders to current leadership issues
This is an online academic course led by a professor of AAU who will provide insights from research, historical accounts, and leadership literature.
Schedule and Course Content
What is leadership and why does it matter? Jan Hus: Living in truth as a principle of leadership (2.5 hours)
We will explore together some key questions:
- Is leadership possible without courage?
- How do heroes emerge and why are they important?
- What does Hus’ legacy teach us about the role of truth in leading others?
What are the unique challenges of women in leadership roles? Milada Horáková: Authenticity and courage under fire (2.5 hours)
We will explore together the following questions:
- Do women lead differently than men?
- What were Horáková’s unique challenges as a woman in the Czech senate?
- What is the role of authenticity in effective leadership?
- How does Horáková’s courage during the Show Trials challenge us today?
- Horáková article online
- Assessment in class
How do you mobilize others to take the risk of change? Vaclav Havel: Inclusivity and giving the work back to the people (2 hours)
We will explore the following questions together:
- Was Havel’s Letter to Gustav Husak as form of leadership and why?
- How do leaders go from mobilizing a small group of people to a movement?
- What were Havel’s strategic strengths and weaknesses?
- What role did inclusive leadership play in the Velvet Revolution?
- Havel readings online
Havel’s Prague (4 hours)
This experience will be unlike any guided tour you’ve been on in Prague. We will have special guests, go to unique places that will bring out the character of Vaclav Havel and the people he inspired and mobilized. The four hours will be enlivened by discussion and role plays.
- Walking shoes
AAU Academy Instructor, LovePrague Courses
AAU Lecturer & Institutional Research Specialist
Josh Hayden earned his doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University in the U.S. and has published and taught in the field of leadership students for the past ten years. His research interests are Václav Havel’s moral leadership, leadership ethics and change, self-awareness, and adaptive leadership theory and practice. Josh led the Quality Enhancement Plan on Scholarship, Learning, and Academic Mentoring at Cumberland University and built executive education leadership programs at Lipscomb University, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He has worked with the community, educational and organizational leaders in Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Brazil. His wife and 4 children love the outdoors, the arts, sports, traveling, and he plays the banjo in his spare time.
See what our students have to say
We do almost all of our projects in small international teams, and we work together like we would in a business company and synergize our different ideas. There's flexibilities to meet with teachers outside of class, and ask them questions, not just specifically things we learn in the class.
Business Administration, United States of America
AAU makes networking incredibly easy to do. I was able to participate in various events that don't necessarily connect to my coursework like conferences, literature festivals, debates, lectures, etc. When I was President of the Diplomatic Club, AAU helped me get in touch with event-organizers, which, for example, allowed us to host an event during the Festival of Democracy organized by the famous Forum 2000 conference.
Business Administration, Russian Federation