Published: 10.06.2022

<p><strong>More than 70 students from the South Moravian Region received their bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards in Brno on 7 June 2022. These awards are given to students after they graduate from the programme, which originated in the UK and was founded by Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. She just celebrated 70 years of reign over the past weekend. The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (DofE) has been running for 66 years. The ceremony took place in the beautiful surroundings of the New Town Hall in Dominican Square, which was lent by the City of Brno.</strong></p>

The DofE programme now operates in 130 countries worldwide and is delivered to 1.3 million young people a year, including more than 5,000 Czechs. Awarded graduates have spent 6 to 12 months volunteering, playing sport, developing their skills and finishing with a multi-day expedition in the great outdoors. "I am delighted that the City of Brno was able to contribute, in addition to the subsidy it provides for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award under the signed Memorandum of Understanding, by lending the House of Commons for the beautiful ceremony. I have great respect for the participants in the programme, because by getting involved they not only work on themselves, but also inspire their classmates and friends and help to make our society better. I also want to thank everyone who makes this possible for them. I wish the new silver and bronze certificate holders to step out of their comfort zone in life as successfully as they have done so far in the DofE," said Brno City Councillor Jaroslav Suchý.

Among the awardees is, for example, student Monika Loudová, who thanks to DofE made her own prom dress with no previous experience, or Natálie Nohálová, who collected rubbish at places where trees were then planted. Student activist and member of the Czech Secondary School Union Martin Plášek then summed up the achievements of the winners by saying: "The DofE has shown me that you need to constantly overcome your own limits and step outside your comfort zone. The first setback can be frustrating, but it is important not to get discouraged by them because they can lead to something bigger. It's youth that owns the world today."

DofE's Executive Director in the Czech Republic, Tomáš Vokáč, confirmed his words in his closing speech, in which he emphasised the importance of young people's experience in volunteering and expeditions. "I am very happy that it rained on your expeditions because it is stepping out of your comfort zone that moves you forward. In a team you can do everything you can imagine, not only on an expedition but in life. Thank you to all the teachers and mentors who give up their spare time to develop young people within the DofE."

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