Open Eye: A Czech on the environment

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The Independent Online
Milos Kuzvart, an Open University alumnus has been appointed the new Environment Minister of the Czech Republic.

Kuzvart, 37, studied the OU's Environment course in 1995 as part of an initiative to prepare managers, government officials and others in the former Czechoslovakia for the conditions of the market economy.

He has pledged his first task will be to complete preparation of and then to push through major nature protection guidelines. This, he says, will be followed by the launch of an environment-orientated transformation of industry which has lagged behind Western Europe in many aspects of pollution and emission control.

The OU runs its courses in Environment and Environmental Policymaking in an international context , in conjunction with the University of Bratislava, under a scheme which began in 1994.

Dr Dave Humphreys, lecturer in environmental policymaking, commented: "Among the students taking OU environment courses in the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been environmental campaigners, teachers, civil servants and business people.

"Many of them have subsequently been able to translate what they have learnt into direct influence on policymaking."

The links with Eastern Europe are just one example of the OU's growing internationalism as it approaches its 30th anniversary.

The university is also looking West, with new associations being established in the United States by OUUS - and graduation ceremonies are now held annually in cities from Paris to Singapore.