In September 2017, the BEC opened its 8th official season. However, Brnopolis, the non-governmental organisation standing behind and running the BEC, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The chairman of the board of Brnopolis, Vlastimil Veselý, looks back at the past ten years.
In 2007, we started our weblog publishing posts about interesting foreigners who settled down in Brno. Our first event took place in spring 2008. It brought together foreign personalities with the locals from companies or public institutions active in the city’s international development.
Over the next four years, we published around 400 posts including two series of interviews – “What expats say” (in English) and “Brno people abroad” (in Czech). Take a look at seven parts written by Slava Slavik (written in Czech) – Slava was a Zoner Software manager who moved to Atlanta. We are always looking for people from Brno who are living abroad now and might be willing to share their views and comparisons.
In 2009, Brnopolis appointed a jury consisting of 39 local personalities with different backgrounds who voted for the Achievements of the year – projects and venues making Brno more attractive for creative professionals (the winners: Museums Night and Statues in the Streets). The jury also awarded the long-lasting stars of the local scene (the winners: Observatory and Cinema Art).
Ten years ago we began with publishing stories and interviews on the blog. Later, we started meeting people face to face at more or less regular public events. That pushed us to organise informal OpenCoffee meetings, similar to those that took place in hundreds of cities around the world. We also hosted five TEDxBrno conferences with over 70 speakers and 1000+ attendees, becoming a part of the global network of 1000+ TED-related events.
We founded Brnopolis as a group of patriots who brought together knowledge for enhancing Brno’s attractiveness for foreign personalities and businesses. We were convinced that the city’s international development depends on experience and a network of foreign experts, artists, managers, entrepreneurs etc. who are used to collaborating on international projects. That is why we need foreign talents who choose our country and city and are interested to work and live here.
Brnopolis is an apolitical NGO. We are a professional service helping skilled foreign talents to settle down within the national migration policy and within the priorities of the city of Brno. I am proud we have built a community of talented and creative professionals from over 120 countries who find a new home in Brno and readily link themselves to the city on their journeys abroad. The majority come from Europe, the US and India; nevertheless, there are representatives from all continents and cultures.
I hope the upcoming years will bring an exciting time for us — with new projects making Brno and the Czech Republic a prosperous and safe hub attracting more talented expats to relocate here. Our state is celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence this year and that is an opportunity to share stories of our history and traditions with all newcomers. Let’s keep our eyes opened.