Successful collaboration between UP and Moravian University (USA): More than three decades

Pictured, UP students Karolína Uvízlová and Eliška Čermáková, who studied at MU in the 2021/2022 academic year; also Miroslav Konvalina, who heads the Czech Center New York, and Czech-American Eva Marik Leeds, professor of economics at Moravian University. Photo: MU Archives
Tuesday 13 February 2024, 8:00 – Text: Ivana Pustějovská

Dozens of students who were given the opportunity to expand their knowledge; an honorary doctorate for the first post-communist UP rector Josef Jařab; mutual exchanges of academics from various fields and participation in conferences – this is just a shortlist of activities that have been connecting Palacký University Olomouc and Moravian University, Pennsylvania, for more than thirty years.

Palacký University has several partner schools overseas. Cooperation with American partners is one of its long-term priorities, bringing opportunities for mutual exchange visits of students and academics, and the creation of joint study programmes and research activities. One example of successful internationalisation in practice is its collaboration with Moravian University.

“The school was founded in 1742 by the Moravian Brethren, who came to Pennsylvania from Saxony. It is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is the sixth oldest university in the United States. It has more than two thousand students. It was a college until 2021, when it received university certification and became Moravian University. At present, its most important fields of study are nursing and business,” explained Jiří Stavovčík, Vice-Rector for internationalisation.

For UP, this school has also been their base for the Merrill Scholarship Fund, which was founded more than thirty years ago by American philanthropist and friend of Palacký University Charles Merrill, and which allows UP students to go to the USA for study stays.

Over the years, UP’s relationship with Moravian University has extended beyond business contacts. The two universities “understand” each other, and their representatives regularly meet on various occasions. One of the most recent ones was the celebration which took place in New York in autumn 2023 on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the establishment of Olomouc’s university, and was attended by Bryon Grigsby, Rector of Moravian University. Last autumn, UP Rector Martin Procházka visited their university.

“I am delighted to have been able to continue the successful collaboration with schools in the USA initiated shortly after the Velvet Revolution by Prof Josef Jařab, an American Studies scholar and UP Rector Emeritus. We continue to systematically expand the portfolio of American universities with which we carry out mutual student and academic exchanges and develop partnerships in science and research. Needless to say, our long-term relationship with Moravian University is clearly one of the closest,” said Rector Procházka.


The students who have benefited from the support of the Merrill Scholarship Fund greatly appreciate this opportunity. They have summarised their impressions and advice for their colleagues on the UP website dedicated to international cooperation. Here are a few:

I remember the moment I learned that I had been selected for a semester-long study abroad programme at Moravian University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. I knew that this was going to be a great opportunity for me, which would open the door to a new world with many new possibilities. But it went beyond my expectations. Now, after spending a semester there, I have rich memories of Moravian University imprinted on my mind. Those memories are full of happy moments of everyday life on campus spent with new friends and exploring new parts of the world. Moreover, it was a continuous process of learning and gaining new experiences. They say that a semester goes fast, but this time with all the experiences, it went by in a snap of the fingers. Within four months, I found a corner of home at Moravian University, thanks to the people around me. It was a unique experience, and it is hard to sum up so many happy moments in words. It was something unforgettable to step out of my comfort zone, to face culture shock and all the changes, but also because of all that, the semester became one big adventure that I will never forget.

Minh Tam Le

I travelled to Moravian College in Pennsylvania as part of my Master’s degree in social science education. I wanted to broaden my horizons, get a different perspective on teacher training, and just try studying in a foreign language. Palacký University’s Merrill scholarship allowed me to do all this… and more!

Hana Hurtová

I spent my fourth year as a Palacký University exchange student at Moravian College in Pennsylvania. Eight years later, I still remember those times, and I often think back on that very special year when I was a student at a prestigious college in the States. The knowledge and the experience I gained during only one year has been life-changing, eye-opening, and has enriched me for the rest of my life. I strongly believe that every student should take part in a study-abroad programme. I appreciate so much the opportunity that I had to be a part of the Merrill Program, and I will always be grateful to Mr Charles Merrill for what he has done for me and many more students. I believe that all of us who passed through this programme still have Mr Merrill in the back of our minds, and we know that we will try to be as generous and as open-hearted as he was. I am so happy I had the chance to meet him. Listening to the stories told by the professors at Moravian College who knew him, I came to realise that behind it all was a single amazing human being. It has shown me that even one person can make a huge difference in so many lives, and that everything we do should be done with passion and commitment, because it’s worth it. Mr Charles Merrill was a great example to all of us.

Eva Čížková



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