Published January 15th, 2014
Whirlwind Year on World Stage for Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation
By Laurie Snyder
Orinda/Tábor Sister City student Roxana Rayová (in white) celebrates New Year's Eve with her Orinda host family at their home in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Pictured: Host sister, Lauren (in black to Roxana's right); mother, Carla (in coral top); and father, Carlos (to Carla's right, black shirt); and members of Carlos' extended family.
When an international envoy arrived in the Bay Area recently with a mission to nurture positive relations between his country and the United States, he made sure that Orindans were included in the conversation.
Networking on behalf of Orinda with Ambassador Petr Gandalovic of the Czech Republic were former mayor Bobbie Landers, one of the founders of the Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation; 2013 mayor Amy Worth; and a young woman who has captured the hearts of many in the community - Roxana Rayová, Orinda's 2013-14 visiting Czech student.
Rayová represented Miramonte High School and her native and honorary home towns with great poise, according to Landers, while adding invaluable civic and international affairs experience to her resumé as she witnessed Worth, Landers, and others dialogue with Gandalovic and Richard Pivnicka, the honorary Consul General who serves as the face of the Czech Republic to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. In addition to speaking at a cybersecurity conference at Stanford University and visiting a startup accelerator in early November, Gandalovic was on hand to honor former Secretary of State George P. Shultz at a black-tie gala and banquet in Foster City. Shultz was presented with the highest award given by the Czech Republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - "the Silver Medal of Jan Masaryk in recognition of [his] role in implementing foreign policy that led to the conclusion of the Cold War, and for his global contributions as a statesman," said Pivnicka. In addition, Worth talked tunnels and transportation with the envoy while others picked the brains of future Czech tech moguls at a gathering hosted for the ambassador by Landers and her fellow Sister City board members at Cafe Prague.
The Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation then closed out 2013 with laughter and music as it helped the California Czech and Slovak Club celebrate its 20th anniversary at a Christmas luncheon at the Orinda Community Center. More than 200 guests joined Pivnicka and Consul General Michal Sedlácek, who traveled from Los Angeles, for the event that featured Czech music and dance - and a visit by St. Nicholas.
"It's good for Orinda. It's good for Tábor," said Landers of the Sister City program, which is already reviewing applications from Czech students for 2014-15. To apply to become a host family, contact Landers at (925) 254-8260.
2013 Orinda mayor Amy Worth and former mayor, Bobbie Landers, joined Honorary Counsel General Richard Pivnicka in welcoming Ambassador Petr Gandalovic to the United States at a special reception in November. From left: Gandalovic, Worth, Pivnicka, Landers. Photos provided by the Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation

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