Czech Republic: Canadian Ambassador attends International Romani Day event, embassy displays Romani flag
On Friday 8 April 2016, Canadian Ambassador Otto Jelinek displayed the Romani flag on the building of the Canadian Embassy in Prague to mark International Romani Day. He was joined by David Tišer of the nonprofit ARA ART organization and Adriana Trejtnarová, an intern working on Romani projects at the embassy who is a student at the Czech Agricultural University.
Jelinek also attended the celebration that ARA ART held on Friday at the La Fabrika theater in Prague. He opened the evening with the following declaration: "I've lived here in the Czech Republic for a long time and I collaborate with Romani people all over the country. I really like you very much because I respect what you know how to do and what you are, I respect your individuality. I am proud of you and I think you should be proud of yourselves. You know how to do many more things than the world realizes you can."
Born in 1940, Jelinek is a Canadian entrepreneur and politician of Czech origin. He became Ambassador to the Czech Republic in August 2013.
In his youth Jelinek dedicated himself to figure skating and won the World Championship together with his sister in the pairs' competition in 1962 and 1965. The Jelinek family had emigrated to Canada after 1948 when their factory producing aluminum and cork stoppers was nationalized by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
After completing his athletic career, Jelinek dedicated himself to the sports goods business. He was elected a member of the lower house of the Canadian Parliament for 20 years beginning in 1972 before being appointed Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister of Sport (1984-1988), Minister of Public Works (1988-1989) and Minister of Finance (1989-1993) in the various cabinets of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Jelinek first returned to the Czech Republic in 1994 as the head of the Czech branch of the Deloitte & Touche consulting firm. He was also Chair of the company's Board of Directors for Central Europe.
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