Let me introduce myself.

My name is Marek Filičko. I currently live in Alexandria in Virginia, USA. But I consider Pardubice in the Czech Republic to be my hometown, although I was born in Nymburk in 1971. I attended an elementary school in Pardubice. It was a school with extra language classes. I learned English and Russian there. Afterwards I started to study at a local grammar school (a high school). After graduating four years later, I moved to Prague to study at the University of Economics (Vysoká škola ekonomická), Faculty of International Trade, later renamed Faculty of International Relations. It took me five and a half years to graduate; yet I had not enough so I continued at the Central European University, half a year in Prague and another half year in Budapest (have you ever heard about George Soros?). My next stop was Bologna in Italy, with which I really fell in love. It's a beautiful city with wonderful people, great food ("Italian pasta") and nice wine... In Bologna, I studied at the Bologna Center of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).

However, after a year of study and fun in Italy, I had to exchange my comfortable shirts and pants for not so comfortable camouflage fatigues. Yes, I served in the Czech armed forces for a year, a compulsory military service. The first month was very tough since we had to do the basic training and so we had to stay on the base without being able to go anywhere else. Fortunately, I did not experience any SIKANA. After the basic training, I was assigned to the Agency of Military Information and Services of the Ministry of Defense (Agentura vojenských informací a služeb). At least I could use my knowledge of security issues on which I started to focus at the Central European University and in which I majored at SAIS.

The last university I attended was SAIS in Washington in USA. That's where I finished the two-year Master of Arts in International Relations program.

What else do I do except the "eternal" study? I like to do sports. I'm a devoted orienteering runner; my home club is Lokomotiva Pardubice. There, I learned all skills a good orienteerer needs to have: run, use a map and a compass to find the way, use brain to make good decisions and love this sport that you run in (almost) all weather conditions. Not only I used to run in many forests in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but I also participated in orienteering competitions in Sweden, Norway, Scotland, England, Hungary, Italy, Israel and now also in the USA (I'm a member of the Quantico Orienteering Club). I also like to ski (I prefer downhill skiing than cross-country skiing), bike and swim.

I read a lot. I like adventure books, but recently I have read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. My favorite author is J.R.R.Tolkien and his trilogy The Lord of the Rings. (If you haven't read it yet, I strongly recommend it; as well as the first and second parts of the movie trilogy.) I listen to music - almost any music, maybe with the exception of country (I can stand it in small doses) and brass music (not even in small doses). My preference is rock music (something harder, please), nice jazz and Jewish music. My favorite artists are Prince, Queen, Korn, Sting, Tanita Tikaram, Chava Alberstein, from among Czech singers and groups it's Lucie Bílá and Žlutej pes (I might come up with some more if you ask me).

I also like to travel. I visited Hungary, Poland, former East Germany, current Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Italy, San Marino, Vatican, United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, I spent two months in Israel and now I have been living in the USA since September 1999. I hope I didn't forget anything. Wait, I should mention now independent Slovakia (I have relatives there)...

For few years, I worked as a DJ in Radio Life (91.6FM), a local radio station in Pardubice. Nevertheless, my desire to study prevented me from staying there. Still, I have nice memories.

Finally, here is a picture of me in case you are curious what I look like.

Moje maličkost na fotce

That's all, folks. If you feel like talking to me, you can send me an e-mail at orientak@hotmail.abuse.com (but first remove "abuse"; I try to protect myself from spam).

Take care and thanks for stopping by.

Marek

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