I Met a Few Presidents — Here’s My Takeaway

Jakub Ferencik
4 min readJun 24, 2022

Earlier in June, I had the wonderful pleasure to intern at the GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, where 5 Presidents, 10 Prime Ministers, and countless delegates met to discuss security concerns in Europe. The primary purpose of the conference was to mobilize support for Ukraine. I hope and believe that this conference achieved that aspiration.

I had the pleasure of meeting many ambitious and equally kind individuals who are ready to tackle the problems of the European Union and beyond. And I wanted to briefly reflect on the experience here for those who read my blogs and articles.

A very similar setup to a stage at GLOBSEC. Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash

Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova

To start, the Slovakian President, Zuzana Caputova, opened with some remarks. She’s very charming in person. And her eloquence beats that of most world leaders I am familiar with.

She stressed that, if we are to stand up to these challenges, we must build resilience, and be in this fight for the long term.

“Now we realize that peace and freedom are not free,” she claimed. Elsewhere, she was highly critical of a pacifist stance toward Russia. In her words:

“Our packages of medicine and food will not drive out your occupiers. Your defenders need military equipment. That is why we help. Soon, we will supply Zuzana howitzers.”

The President also reminded the audience that our security concerns should include disinformation and propaganda because of the risk they pose to our society. The has done some work on this, but she pointed out that we must do more.

Ursula von der Leyen

President Caputova was followed with remarks by the President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

She stood confidently and smiled as she stepped on the stage. “I want to thank this country Slovakia for the solidarity and acceptance of 700,000 Ukrainian refugees in your country. History will never forget your generosity,” she said with a smile on her face.

She reassured Ukrainians that the EU stands by their side, saying that “Ukraine must win this war.” She further claimed that the EU must get rid of Russian gas and that the EU must continue its…

Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air” & “Beyond Reason” available on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | Research assistant for EUROPEUM Prague | 700+ blog posts with 1+ mil. views