AmCham Slovakia


Building resilience and seeking balance

The events of the past year have significantly altered our standard ways of life and made us reconsider how we work. Things that we took for granted suddenly became hard to imagine. We are now learning how to live in the era marked by constant uncertainty and surprises. However, we have a unique opportunity to make the most of this new experience and turn it into a new vision for our future – to build upon the debris of a crisis that has claimed many victims but which, at the same time, has also brought new perspectives for the future.

The building of such a new type of resilience, however, is not possible without a thorough analysis of what needs to be changed, and without subsequent adjustment of processes. Slovakia is a country of regional disparities, and the new situation should help us understand the strength and necessity of links between regions, cities and rural areas and comprehend our existence within a wider global context. 
We also have an opportunity today to grasp the differences between people  living in these seemingly disconnected worlds. We have a chance to learn how to deal with these differences and turn them into an opportunity that connects rather than divides.

Resilience against change means being ready to exist and thrive even in uncertain times; it means the ability to adapt to new circumstances and to make the most of the inputs we have to achieve the best result.

If we want to use this change for the best, we must reconsider current teaching methods and approaches to education and start preparing young people for the 21st century by providing them with the skills they will really need in their work and personal lives. It’s high time to introduce communication, creativity and innovations into education. It’s crucial to link the system of education with practice, schools with employers, and employers in turn with the high-quality research and innovation potential of labs and start-ups.

By endlessly repeating the mantras that we don’t want young people to leave our regions, we only achieve the exact opposite. When we open ourselves up to the world and let young people from other countries come here while allowing our own youth to travel elsewhere for education and experience, we will return to the tried and tested ways that worked well in the past. Moreover, we will gain new stimuli; we open up what is closed and let in the wind of change. A diverse environment is and always has been the only environment suitable for life in the biological sense of this word, and this reading works in other areas, too. The resulting world that we hope for will also be attractive enough for educated young people to come back to.

Strong and experienced actors should get a chance to demonstrate their natural responsibility and serve as an example for those who are only beginning to come to terms with their strengths. At a time when convention is no longer so important, we don’t need to divide strong stakeholders by their industry or regional affiliations. On the contrary, we have a chance to form collaboration platforms which allow them to look for common ground when seeking visions, topics, common approaches or solutions. And we should not forget the weaker among us, too, and those who need help the most. Let us make way for solidarity and humanity, for our society will only be as strong as its weakest link.

Apart from its traditional support programs, Carpathian Foundation works with its corporate partners to respond to the current situation by establishing the Crisis Fund, aiming to help the most vulnerable in adverse situations. Join our efforts and help us to help more people. Let’s stop seeing differences as barriers and let’s turn otherness into a power that can open the gates for new ideas, trends and processes. Let’s learn to see the world differently.

The year 2020 was the last of its kind. We will remember it as the last year before the pandemic that changed all of us. But it was also a year which saw the climax of the efforts to warn mankind about the climate crisis, which, unlike the partial crisis brought by the pandemic, will require our full attention in the long term if we want to make it as a society.

Let’s see 2021 and the years that follow as a chance we’ve been given to react to the surprising developments with the rational analysis of facts we already know and by preparing quality and progressive scenarios for the future we are still to discover.

We all care about the good quality of our life and future, which will be better than the present. Let us trust science, whose results have brought us to this stage, and let us give it another opportunity to discover new ways that will be more moderate, more environmental friendly and more progressive and innovative when it comes to building our common happiness index. 

Laura Dittel, Director, Carpathian Foundation (Košice)