Cancellation of EUSO 2020 because of COVID
Dr. Michael A. Cotter: EUSO Founder and President
The 18th European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO 2020), scheduled to take place in the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic on 13th – 19th September 2020 was cancelled on Friday 24th July 2020, by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the EU. This announcement was widely anticipated among CCs and did not come as a surprise to everyone involved in EUSO.
It was reassuring to know that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was also a medical doctor when COVID-19 arrived in Ireland in March 2020. He imposed a lockdown on the Irish nation to protect lives. In the EU member states and in countries around the world lockdowns were also imposed to protect public health. Only ‘essential workers’ were allowed go to work. Medical professionals went to work each day, donned their PPE and contributed to saving lives. It was an extremely worrying time for everyone. Senior citizen were waving their final goodbyes from behind nursing-home/hospital windows to their grandchildren/families gathered in carparks. All around the world people were dying from COVID. Over 2 million EU citizens died from this horrible and highly contagious disease.
MOTIVATION FOR ESTABLISHING EUSO
My motivation for establishing the Irish Science Olympiads (ISO) and EUSO was personal, educational and political. ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland convinced me that the bringing Irish students, North and South, together was essential. A visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp convinced me that this integration of students had to be EU wide. I’m a dedicated supported of the EU and have been throughout the whole of my Education and Political career. I further believe that integrated science would involve more female students in physics in particular. EUSO has a higher proportion of female participants than any other international science Olympias. I also believed that practical science experiments would encourage greater participation by all students in science. Furthermore, I believe that taking part is more important to students than winning and as a result, I included the rule that all students participating in EUSO are awarded medals; gold (20-25%), silver (30-35%) or bronze (40-50%). EUSO is uniquely about practical/experimental science, integration of science and students, cooperation, teamwork, female participation and encouragement.
Because of my education and political background, I have huge respect for each and every individual of every persuasion who puts his/her name forward for election at all levels, especially at local, national and EU levels. I have actively participated in Irish/EU politics for over 50 years, including standing for local-government election on two occasions. It took all my political know-how/skills to persuade EU Ministers of education to host and fund EUSO 2003-2019 in their own countries. I respected and adhered to the decision of our Taoiseach to impose a lockdown in the interest of public health and I encouraged others to do likewise. I also respected the decision of the Czech Republic Government to cancel EUSO 2020 in the interest of public health.
I founded and ran EUSO: a unique, multidisciplinary, integrated-science, practical-experimental, team competition for 16-year-old EU science students, which was based on my PhD research; first in DCU in 2003 with funding provided by the Department of Education and Science with Minister Noel Treacy TD (RIP) as Patron and the driving political force behind it. EUSO 2001 should have been the first EUSO but it was cancelled by the Minister to prevent the spread of the Foot & Mouth disease across the EU. I did not cancel EUSO 2001. I subsequently ran EUSO in 16 different University cities, with the support of the Ministry of Education of those countries, up to and including EUSO 2019 in Almada, Portugal where 25 EU countries participated.
VISIT TO CZECH REPUBLIC PRE-EUSO
As EUSO President I visited the Minister of Education of the host country on behalf of the GB in the months prior to EUSO to thank him/her for the support provided by his/her Department and Government. I also had meetings with the Management Committee (MC), the Organising Committee (OC) and the Scientific Committee (SC). The purpose of all these meeting was to satisfy myself and later to report back to the GB that all preparations were well advanced. I also needed to report to the GB that the accommodation, facilities, sustenance and the social, cultural, sporting and education programmes put in place for the 150 students and team leader & mentors were of the same very high standard which we had come to expect. Once I was satisfied that all the arrangements had been made; that funding, facilities, personnel and insurance cover had been guaranteed by the host Minister of Education who was the ultimate authority and the only person with the power to cancel the event, my work was completed.
INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE OLYMPIADS
The International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO-1959), the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO-1967), the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO-1968) and the International Biology Olympiad (IBO 1985) were all founded in the Eastern and Central European socialists countries aligned to the USSR commonly referred as the Eastern Bloc, Communist Bloc or Soviet Bloc countries. EUSO, the first international science Olympiad founded outside the USSR, was a huge success, an Irish concept, researched and developed in an Irish University with Irish taxpayers’ money and with Irish Government support.
CZECH REPUBLIC MINISTER CANCELLS EUSO 2020
On Friday 24th July, I received a phone call from Dr. Faltýn (Minister’s Office, Czech Republic), followed by an email copied to Deputy Minister Dr. Karel Kovář, informing me that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport had cancelled EUSO 2020 to prevent the spread on COVID-19. On the evening of Friday 24th July, I emailed all EUSO Governing Body (GB) members, the EUSO 2020 Organising Committee (OC) and the Scientific Committee (SC) informing them of the decision taken by the Ministry to cancel EUSO 2020. Later that same night (Friday 24th July) Dr. Jan Kriz, writing in a private capacity (not as Chairman of the SC), sent an email to over 25 recipients, which contains seven incorrect statements. The title of his email read ‘EUSO 2020 cancelled by Michael Cotter himself!’. I DID NOT CANCEL EUSO 2020. I simply communicated the decision of his Minister to the GB, SC and OC. On Monday 27th July 2020 Mr. Jeff Kohnen (Luxembourg) sent an email containing lies, misinformation, propaganda, demands and threats to me and EUSO. He offered to host and fund an unofficial in-person EUSO meeting, combined with a Zoom meeting in Luxembourg for 26 EUSO delegates in the middle of the global pandemic. The most shocking line in his email reads; ‘you need to take your responsibility and resign as president of the EUSO. At the meeting in September, we could elect a new president of the EUSO’. This email is deeply offensive, unacceptable, defamatory, anti-Irish, hate-mail and incitement to injury/damage to me, both personally and professionally.
EUSO HIJACKED, COPIED & RENAMED
The Zoom meeting took place. The agenda/purpose was already set out by Mr. Kohnen. I had nothing to defend or explain. I do not know who attended the Zoom meeting. As it transpired, I was not asked to resign as EUSO President. Instead EUSO was hijacked, copied in every detail and renamed as ‘European Olympiad of Experimental Science’ (EOES). My PhD, conferred on me by DCU was plagiarised and my role as EUSO President and EUSO itself were exterminated.
The International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) 2020 which was due to be held in Frankfurt was cancelled by the German Federal Ministry for Education & Research to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Germany and across the world. No one questioned the right/duty of the Germany Minister to cancel IJSO 2020 because of the global pandemic; no one demanded the resignation of IJSO President Dr. P.K. Joshi (India) and no one hijacked, renamed or exterminated IJSO.
I did not cancel an international event (EUSO) in the Czech Republic in 2020. The idea that I would or could is simply ridiculous. Such decisions are taken by Governments and not by an individual from another country. I had no authority to cancel EUSO 2020. The cancellation of EUSO 2020 by the Czech Republic Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was the pretext used by a group of ruthless and unscrupulous individuals, interested in stealing EUSO. In my 17-year stewardship of EUSO and as Founder of EUSO, I have never received a cent from EUSO. It was my free gift to EU science students.
I wish I could claim even a modicum of credit for preventing EUSO student/mentor COVID deaths by cancelling EUSO 2020, but I cannot do so. I DID NOT CANCEL EUSO 2020. The Czech Government, like the Irish and German governments took decisive and timely action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the EU and I fully support this decision of all EU governments. I have paid a high price for simply communication this decision to the GB, OC and SC of EUSO 2020.
Mr. Kohnen, in his email, asked the question; ‘Is EUSO now an event where decisions are only taken by politicians’? My answer simple is: ‘YES, during a pandemic, politicians have a duty and responsibility to protect public health and save lives’. I will always defend the exercise of this duty and responsibility by our democratically elected representatives, whatever the personal cost to me. The rise of the Far-Right in EU Education should be a major concern for all of us. The Jeff Kohnen (Luxembourg) email (27th July 2020) containing lies, misinformation, propaganda, demands and threats is the foundation on which the ‘European Olympiad of Experimental Science’ (EOES) is built.
REPORT ON THE CANCELLATION OF EUSO 2020
I was invited by the organisers of EUSO 2020 to visit the Czech Republic on 9th -13th February 2020 to assess the level of preparedness for EUSO 2020, on behalf of the Governing Body (GB), which was schedule to take place in the University of Hradec Králové on 10th -16th May 2020. I met the EUSO 2020 Manager/Secretary Ing. Monika Polívková and the Chair of the Organising Committee (OC), Dr. Jan Černý in Charles University and the Chair of the Scientific Committee (SC), Dr. Jan Kriz in the University of Hradec Králové. I also has a meeting with Dr. Karel Kovář, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sport and his officials in his office in Prague. Following a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Černý on EUSO 2020 we discussed the implications and the possible impact of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) on EUSO 2020. Everyone present was aware of the seriousness of the situation. On my return to Dublin, I sent a detailed report of my visit to all EUSO – GB members. By late February the rapid spread on Covid-19 across the EU had become a reality. On 3rd March 2020 I wrote to Dr. Robert Plaga PhD, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, expressing the concerns of many Country Coordinators (CC) and seeking clarity as to whether or not EUSO 2020 would take place in the Czech Republic on 10th -16th May 2020.
On 14th March 2020, Dr. Jan Kříž, Dr. Jan Černý, Dr. Lenka Libusová and Ing. Monika Polívková on behalf of the OC, emailed the GB members informing them that they were in agreement with their country emergency policies and offered to postpone the EUSO to 13th -19th September 2020, if EU member states were willing to participate at that time. On 24th March 2020 I received a letter from Dr. Jaroslav Faltýn, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, informing me that the Czech Government had declared a state of emergency and that EUSO 2020 could not take place in the Czech Republic in May to prevent the spread of the spread of Covid-19. He however, held open the possibility of EUSO 2020 taking place during the period 1st September – 31st December 2020, if conditions were favourable.On 30th March, I received a letter from Dr. Faltýn informing me that it was not possible for the Ministry to confirm that EUSO 2020 would take place in the period 1st September – 31st December because such decisions are taken by the State Security Council. On 16th June 2020, Dr. Černý and Dr. Kriz emailed all the GB members asking them if they would be willing to participate in EUSO 2020 on 13th – 19th September 2020. A number of CCs contacted me at the end of June, pointing out that their governments would not permit them travel to the Czech Republic to attend EUSO 2020 in September because of the risk of Covid-19 to their students and mentors. On 3rd July 2020, I wrote to Dr. Faltýn seeking information on the whether or not EUSO 2020 would take place in the Czech Republic in September. On Friday 24th July, I received a phone call from Dr. Faltýn, followed by an email copied to Deputy Minister Dr. Karel Kovář, informing me that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport had cancelled EUSO 2020 scheduled to take place in the University Hradec Králové on 13th – 19th September 2020, to prevent the spread on Covid-19. On the evening of Friday 24th July I emailed all GB members and I informed them of the decision taken by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport to cancel EUSO 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic and across that EU.
Email from Dr. Michael A. Cotter, EUSO Founder & President to GB Members: 2020-07-24: 16.43
FAO: EUSO Governing Body
Dear GB Members,
I hope you all are well and that your families, friends and colleagues are in good health.
I have received verbal and written confirmation today from Mgr. Jaroslav Faltý, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Prague, that EUSO 2020 will not take place in the University of Hradec Králové, the Czech Republic.
As you know, I raised the issue of Covid-19 with the Deputy Minister during my visit last February. I have been in regular contact with the Ministry since then, but I was unable, due to the changing nature of the epidemic, to get a definitive response regarding EUSO 2020 until today.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Director of EUSO 2020 and the members, both of the Organising Committee and of the Scientific Committee, for their immense efforts in relation to trying to hold EUSO 2020 in the Czech Republic.
I also wish to thank you for being so consistently positive, patient and supportive in the face of this extraordinary situation.
Please confirm that you have received this email and inform your Mentors and all others involved in EUSO in your respective countries that EUSO 2020 is, unfortunately, cancelled.
I will be in further contact with you regarding EUSO next term. Meanwhile, take good care of yourselves, stay safe and enjoy the rest of the summer.
Dr. Michael A. Cotter: EUSO Founder & President
EMAIL FROM DR. JAN KRIZ SENT LATE AT NIGHT TO EUSO GB MEMBERS
Subject: EUSO 2020 cancelled by Michael Cotter himself
Dear EUSO family,
I was thinking for a very long, but then I decided to write this email to all of you. Please, concern this as the personal point of view of one person – the dean of the faculty who really wanted to host EUSO 2020. This is not an official mail from the organizers.
The EUSO 2020 was cancelled by the president of EUSO, Dr Michael Cotter himself after the consultation with one not so important person at the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth of the Czech Republic, Mr Jaroslav Faltýn, who has no right to decide! The decision was taken without any discussion with the organizing team! We asked Michael for his opinion three weeks ago and we did not obtain any answer.
I admire you that you have created such an amazing event as EUSO, but I am completely shocked by your behaviour! Why have you communicated with the ordinary staff of our Ministry without any communication with us? I really do not understand you, I have expected we have been the partners. My English is rather poor to express my feelings, but it is the unforgiven foul trip. In an ice-hockey game, you would obtain the penalty to the end of the career for this! I am very sorry that I have met you ever!
Four weeks ago we have written a friendly email to Michael, then we tried to reach him by phone. Meantime, he was in contact with one person at our Ministry of Education and did not tell us anything. Mr Jaroslav Faltýn is now responsible for competitions at our Ministry, he was established to this position just a few months ago. Although he probably prepares some decisions for the deputy minister, he has no right to decide! And this is the person, who Michael was communicated with. He is definitely not the Minister, as some of you understood according to your emails. The last official mail from our Ministry (from the beginning of July) asked me of the situation and my answer was, we are ready to organize the event in September.
I am pretty happy now because I am not responsible for EUSO 2020 anymore. Maybe, the situation in the Czech Republic and Europe would lead to the cancelling of this year volume anyway. But the way, how it happened is absolutely inadmissible for me.
At the same time, I am very sad. I loved EUSO and the atmosphere at the competition. Now, everything is broken. I will never take part in the Olympiad under the presidentship of such cheat person, as Michael appeared. I am the president of Czech Physics Olympiad and I can hardly imagine that we will somehow collaborate in selecting the teams of the Czech Republic for any future EUSO.
I hope, everyone of you is OK in this strange situation.
Comment by Dr. Michael A. Cotter on the Kriz Email
- That it is the personal point of view of one person – not an official mail from the organizers. (As such, this email has no status within EUSO. It is just one private individual’s personal opinion)
- The EUSO 2020 was cancelled by the president of EUSO, Dr Michael Cotter himself. (This is not true. I have no authority to cancel EUSO 2020 and I did not cancel EUSO 2020. It was cancelled by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth of the Czech Republic.)
- after the consultation with one not so important person at the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth of the Czech Republic, Mr Jaroslav Faltýn, who has no right to decide!’ (No one in the Czech Republic Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport consulted me regarding the cancellation of EUSO 2020. The Minister made the decision to cancel EUSO 2020 and duly informed me. My comment on the reference to Dr. Faltýn is that, in my opinion it is a derogatory statement. Dr. Faltýn did not decide to cancel EUSO 2020)
- The decision was taken without any discussion with the organizing team! (I cannot comment on whether there was any discussion between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Organisers of EUSO 2020. I certainly did inform the organisers of the Ministerial decision)
- Why have you communicated with the ordinary staff of our Ministry without any communication with us? (My comment on this offensive description of Dr. Faltýn by Dr. Kriz as ‘the ordinary staff’ it that is a derogatory term and an insult, which I reject. Faltýn contacted me by phone and I answered his call)
- …he has no right to decide! And this is the person, who Michael was communicated with. (Dr. Faltýn has never said the he decided to cancel EUSO 2020. He is the representative of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth of the Czech Republic, who contacted me to inform me, as EUSO President, that the Minister had cancelled EUSO 2020. He deserved and received my respect.)
Addition information on the Kříž email:
Two Civil Servants representing the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports did not support the Kriz claim. Dr. Jan Černý, Dr. Lenka Libusová and Ing. Monika Polívková (Organising Committee EUSO 2020) did not support the Dr. Jan Kriz claim. In fact, no one involved in EUSO 2020 in the Czech Republic, either Government officers or Universities support the Dr. Jan Kriz claim. No EUSO 2019 team leader or CC has, to my knowledge supported the Dr. Jan Kriz claim.
I view the Dr. Jan Kriz email as nothing more than a rant from a disgruntled individual, sent late on a Friday night, who was surprisingly disappointed that his Government/Minister cancelled EUSO 2020 to prevent the spread on Covid-19 across the EU. Dr. Jan Kriz appears to have needed to lash-out at someone to vent his frustration at his government’s decision. He chose me as the target of his fury. He does not seem to understand the term ‘global pandemic’ and what steps EU Governments are required to take, to protect the health of their citizens. Either Dr. Jan Kriz knew for certain that I cancelled EUSO 2020 before he informed many individuals across the EU that I cancelled EUSO 2020 OR HE DID NOT KNOW FOR CERTAIN. The lie by Dr. Kriz that I cancelled EUSO 2020 led to a sequence of events that directly caused the destruction of EUSO.
EMAIL SENT BY MR. JEFF KOHNEN TO DR. JAN ČERNÝ, TO ALL EUSO CCS IN THE 24 EU PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES AND TO THE EUSO 2020 ORGANISING COMMITTEE. (MON, JULY 27, 2020, 10:10 PM)
Dear Jan (and all organizers),
Thank you for the information. I am very sorry to hear what happened and how you and Jan Kriz were treated. That is highly respect-less and I cannot understand how I man, that I did respect a lot, could act in such a way. The project of EUSO has been such a big success for the last 17 years because the president and the CC’s were a group of friends who did invest a lot of efforts in this project. We were all convinced that EUSO is a great project for our students and for the future of science in Europe.
I am shocked to hear the the president of the EUSO did cancel an olympiad without communicating with the organizers. The organizers did invest a huge amount of energy in the project, in 2019 we all were very happy that the Czech Republic declared to be able to organize EUSO 2020 and we promised our full support to them. Could the president of EUSO explain to us, what happened, that he did not talk to the organizers before taking such a big decision ? Is EUSO now an event where decisions are only taken by the president and politicians?
Dear Jan and Jan, if I imagine how I would have reacted if the president of the EUSO would have announced to me in January 2013 (so 2 month before the beginning of EUSO 2013 in Luxembourg) by email, that the event has been canceled, I am getting very furious. I think every former director of an EUSO can understand how you do feel at the moment. We all are very sorry about what happened !!!!
As we are all convinced that EUSO should not be destroyed by this decision, I want to pick up the suggestion from Hans. We need a meeting of the president of the EUSO and all country coordinators to decide how the EUSO project should continue. As I can imagine that our friends from Czech Republic may not be in the mood to organize a CC meeting in Hradek Kralove, I want to make the suggestion of a meeting in Luxembourg from the 17th to the 19th of September in Luxembourg.
We do have some budget left, because of the cancelation of the different olympiads, so Luxembourg could offer to organize the meeting in Luxembourg. We would be able to finance the coasts for accommodation and part of the food for a maximum of 26 person. You can find attached to this mail a first version of a time table. We would have one and a half day to discuss about the future of EUSO.
We are of course aware that the developpement of the actual pandemic could make it difficult to get everyone to Luxembourg, but we have to try to get everyone in one place. If this would not be possible we could use videoconference as an option to get all the people together.
Let me know what you think about my suggestion.
Dear Michael, I really cannot understand what happened in this situation but I hope that you realize that there is a high risk that EUSO will be destroyed. If you want to save YOUR project and assure that it will last on for a long time, you need to take your responsibility and resign as president of the EUSO. At the meeting in September we could elect a new president of the EUSO and you would be honorary president. This would save EUSO and give all of us a positive perspective for the future.
I am a part of EUSO since 2007 and hope that we can save this wonderful competition.
Tel: 621 309 415
Comment by Dr. Michael A. Cotter on the Kohnen Email
- I am very sorry to hear what happened and how you (Jan Cerny & all organizers) and Jan Kriz were treated. (You address your email initially to Professor Jan Černý (Czech Republic) and the Organisers of EUSO 2020. You express ‘your sorrow’ at how he and the organisers were abused and badly treated by me. I should point out that no one in the organisation and management of EUSO 2020, including Professor Černý himself, has claimed that I abused or mistreated him or any of them, in any way or at any time. This is a scandalous and unfounded accusation made by you against me. I have never, in my 17 year stewardship of EUSO, abused or mistreated anyone:- student, CC, mentor, director, organiser or anyone involved in EUSO. I have always, from the time I founded EUSO in 2003, treated all EUSO organisers and participants, including you, with the utmost dignity and respect. I emailed Ing. Ing. Monika Polívková, Dr. Černý and Dr. Kriz both privately and publicly informing them that their Minster had cancelled EUSO 2020 and I thanked them for all the work that they had done. I assume that the Czech Republic Ministry did likewise)
- I am shocked to hear that the president of the EUSO did cancel an olympiad without communicating with the organizers. (You repeated and further developed the Kriz Lie that I cancelled EUSO 2020. However, the Rectors of Hradec Králové University and of Charles University, the two universities involved in EUSO 2020 did not support the Kriz Lie that I cancelled EUSO 2020. Two Civil Servants, representing the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports did not support the Kriz Lie. Dr. Jan Černý, Dr. Lenka Libusová and Ing. Monika Polívková did not support the Kriz Lie. In fact, no one involved in EUSO 2020 in the Czech Republic, either Government officers, organisers or Universities support the Kriz Lie. I did not cancel EUSO 2020 and I did communicate the decision of their Minister to the organisers)
- Could the president of EUSO explain to us, what happened, that he did not talk to the organizers before taking such a big decision ? (I did not make the ‘big decision’. It was the Czech Republic Government’s decision to cancel EUSO 2020. I kept the organisers and the GB updated throughout. My opinion on the cancellation of EUSO 2020 was not sought by the Czech Republic government, nor should it have been. In Ireland and across the EU, all non-essential business were shut down, planes were grounded and sporting, church, entertainment, hospitality and education facilities were closed. EU citizens were dying alone in their thousands from a horrendous, contagious and debilitating disease. Europe and the rest of the world was in Lockdown)
- Is EUSO now an event where decisions are only taken by the president and politicians? (I did not cancel EUSO 2020. I had nothing to do with the cancellation of EUSO 2020. I was not consulted on the matter, nor did I expect to be, nor should I have been consulted. My answer to your question is, that I’m an Irish and EU democrat and I believe that our elected government representatives have the right and duty to take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health. I therefore accept, without question, the decisions taken by the Minister of Education of the Czech Republic to cancel EUSO 2020 in the interest of public health. Clearly you have a different view. Yes, this was a political decision taken by the Minister to protect public health)
- if I imagine how I would have reacted if the president of the EUSO would have announced to me in January 2013 (so 2 month before the beginning of EUSO 2013 in Luxembourg) by email, that the event has been canceled. (This is a blatant lie, misinformation and propaganda. I could not have cancelled EUSO 2013 in Luxembourg. I had no authority to cancel EUSO 2013 once the Minister had agreed to host the event. I did not provide any funding, facilities or personnel for EUSO 2013 or EUSO 2020. I could not therefore have cancelled either EUSO. I had no authority to do so. I am assuming that you didn’t finish this statement and you meant to add ‘by the EUSO President’. If I had the authority, which I hadn’t, and if, two months before EUSO 2013 in Luxembourg, I cancelled EUSO 2013 by email, I would have been sued for millions of €uro by the Luxembourg Government, just as I would have been sued for millions of €uro by the Czech Republic Government if I had ‘somehow’ cancelled EUSO 2020)
- I want to make the suggestion of a meeting in Luxembourg from the 17th to the 19th of September in Luxembourg. (You called this meeting during the peak of the global pandemic. This is the first step taken by you towards the hijacking of EUSO. The Luxembourg Minister cancelled this in-person meeting on receipt of an email from me.)
- We do have some budget left, because of the cancelation of the different olympiads, (The International Science Olympiads were cancelled and the 2020 International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) scheduled to be held in Frankfurt was cancelled by the German Federal Ministry for Education & Research to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Germany and across the world. It is logical, that if money was available in the Luxembourg Olympiad budget because the international science Olympiads were cancelled, that EUSO should also have been cancelled by the Ministry of Education in the Czech Republic, for the same reason. You claim that EUSO was not cancelled by the Ministry of Education in the Czech Republic to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the EU)
- …so Luxembourg could offer to organize the meeting in Luxembourg. We would be able to finance the coasts for accommodation and part of the food for a maximum of 26 person. (You, the EUSO CC for Luxembourg was prepared to hold and fund this unofficial EUSO meeting in Luxembourg, using Luxembourg Olympiad funds, available because all the international science Olympiads were cancelled, in the middle of a global pandemic)
- You can find attached to this mail a first version of a time table. We would have one and a half day to discuss about the future of EUSO. (The time, the date and the place of the Luxembourg coup was decided)
- we have to try to get everyone in one place. (This is an inexplicable statement to make. You invited 26 individuals from across the EU to Luxembourg, in the middle of a global pandemic, international travel bans and during national lockdowns)
- If this would not be possible, we could use videoconference as an option to get all the people together. (At this videoconference EUSO was hijacked, renamed as EOES and EUSO was exterminated)
- Dear Michael, If you want to save YOUR project and assure that it will last on for a long time, you need to take your responsibility and resign as president of the EUSO. (Addressing me directly, you make this outrageous statement ‘Dear Michael, If you want to save your project and assure that it will last on for a long time, you need to take your responsibility and resign as president of the EUSO’. I told you, in an email, that EUSO 2020 was cancelled by the Ministry of Education in the Czech Republic. You chose not to believe me and made this outrageous demand. Putting a gun to my head and demanding that I resign as EUSO President for something THAT I DID NOT DO, is shocking and should not be tolerated for a single moment by anyone. At the meeting in September, we could elect a new president of the EUSO. (I was unanimously elected EUSO President at the last EUSO in 2019 in Portugal. The Luxembourg coup was to be triggered at this meeting in Luxembourg or at the videoconference. You clearly have no respect for the democratic process)
- …and you would be Honorary President. (The strongest and most abiding impression that your email conveys, is your unbridled and absurd sense of your own superiority over me; that you can make horrendous untruthful statements in print about me and circulate them across the EU with impunity; that I do not deserve to be EUSO President even though he was unanimously elected EUSO President in 2019; that I must do exactly as you say and if he don’t, you will discard me and consign me to the rubbish heap. You further amplified his superiority, with his claim that you can create the new role of ‘Honorary President of EUSO’ and more bizarrely offer it to me and that he should be grateful for your largesse. Such a view of the superiority of one human being over another has no place in the EU. Your sense of entitlement is astounding)
- This would save EUSO and give all of us a positive perspective for the future (Your email resulted in the hijacking and extermination of EUSO. When you composed and distributed your obnoxious email, EU Governments had closed crèches, schools, colleges and universities; businesses, sporting events, hospitality and church services were shut down; workers were out of work; thousands of EU citizens were dying an excruciating death without family members present and the EU was in lockdown. I find it impossible to accept and to comprehend that in 2020, I was targeted and I was the victim of Mr. Kohnen’s lies, misinformation, propaganda, demands and threats composed and distributed by him across the EU, a Luxembourger, living in the very centre of the EU. How this could happen in the EU in 2020 is beyond belief. Mr. Kohnen took it upon himself to be my judge, jury and executioner and the implementer of his final solution, the extermination of EUSO)
EUSO President Condemns the Invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation
(25th February 2022)
On Thursday 24th February 2022, I listened in horror to Mr. Vladimir Putin tell lies and spread disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine and its people. He made outrageous inaccurate claims and demanded the surrender of the legitimately elected government of Ukraine. I watched on TV in shock and disbelief as Russian tanks and military vehicles flooded across the borders from the North, the East and the South of Ukraine and indiscriminately killed innocent Ukrainian men, women and children and wreaked havoc on the infrastructure of a sovereign peaceful European country.
As Founder and President of the European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO) I unequivocally condemn the attack by the Russian Federation on Ukraine.
I grew up during the aftermath of WW11. While Ireland remained neutral, the Irish, like many other European suffered greatly from the after-effects of the war. It took some time for the full impact of the Nazi atrocities on the people of Europe to reach Irish shores. I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau to see the gas chambers and the ovens for myself to try to comprehend the full scale of this barbarity and man’s inhumanity to man. These visits made me more determined than ever to do something, however small, to support European unity and the integration of EU citizens, especially students, in the hope that outrages such as these might never happen in Europe again. This was one of the main reasons why I founded EUSO. I’m a dedicated supported of the EU and have been throughout the whole of my Education and Political career.
Long Live a Free Ukraine
Dr. Michael A. Cotter
EUSO Founder & President