Oľga Gyárfášová of IVO wins the prestigious Woman of the Year prize for 2006

Co-founder and Program Director of the Institute for Public Affairs Oľga Gyárfášová, PhD, became the most recent addition to the company of outstanding Slovak women as she was awarded the prestigious Woman of the Year prize for 2006 in the category Media & Communication.


The prizes for female leaders from various areas are bestowed by Bratislava Leaders Magazine in the following five categories: Business, Politics & Public Service, Arts, Media & Communication and Sports. In 2006, finalists in particular categories were selected from 380 nominees.


In the Media & Communication category, the competition was rather stiff, as other nominees were Zuzana Wienk, Executive Director of the Fair-Play Alliance and Zuzana Ťapáková, Marketing Director of TV Markíza.


The jury was presided by Mr. Martin Krekáč, Co-Founder and Group Chairman of Amrop Jenewein Group and President of the Business Alliance of Slovakia. Other members of the jury were: Ms. Hana Juřenová, Publisher of Bratislava Leaders Magazine, Mr. Benke Aikell, Publisher of Prague Leaders Magazine, Ms. Magdaléna Vášáryová, Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, opera singer Jaroslav Dvorský, Ms. Mária Hurajová, Director General of the Bratislava Stock Exchange, Ms. Mária Reháková, owner of STAR production that publishes the Slovenka weekly and the Dorka monthly, Mr. Michael Fabián, Country Manager of American Express for Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and Ms. Jana Berg, fashion designer from Brno, Czech Republic.


A sociologist by profession, Oľga Gyárfášová has been rewarded for years of tireless work that never lacked expertise, professional flair or personal charm. She has become a household name due to her frequent appearances on TA3, TV Markíza, STV, Slovak Radio, Radio Expres or even Austrian ORF; in the past, she made her voice be heard on the waves of Radio Twist, BBC Bratislava or Radio Free Europe where she worked as its Vienna correspondent at one point. She has been published by Sme, Pravda, Hospodárske noviny, Új Szó and Mladá Fronta dailies, the Mosty weekly and the Knihy a spoločnosť [Books and Society] monthly and quoted by the APA and the ČTK, the largest Austrian and Czech news agency, respectively.


Be it among public opinion experts in Washington, European security analysts, Central European or Slovak politicians, students from Prešov through Banská Bystrica, be it a workshop for activists from Iraqi non-governmental organizations in Amman, a conference at the European Institute in Florence or a meeting of the World Movement for Democracy in Istanbul, Oľga Gyárfášová is welcomed everywhere as an authority that is not only able to communicate but – which is far less common – has an insight to offer based on her personal and IVO team research. Last but not least, she does not hesitate to take part in missions to countries where democracy is on the line, for instance monitoring the 2006 problematic presidential elections in Belarus.


Principal areas of interest for Oľga Gyárfášová include political attitudes of the public, electoral behaviour and political culture, gender issues and equal treatment in Slovakia, but also European integration issues. According to a recent project called Slovak Press Watch carried out by the INEKO economic think-tank that analyzed experts’ media and academic quotations, Oľga Gyárfášová ranks among the most frequently quoted experts in the field of domestic politics (please see Who Are the Most Frequently Quoted Experts in Slovak Media? ). Besides dozens of media outputs, she co-authored and co-edited a number of expert publications and studies, including regular contributions to annual Global Reports on the State of Society.


According to the official report, the jury acknowledged the mark Oľga Gyárfášová has left on public communication in Slovakia. Her closest colleagues at the IVO – Zora Bútorová, Grigorij Mesežnikov, Miroslav Kollár, Marián Velšic, Martin Bútora and others – appreciate her input to their joint endeavour to explore and critically reflect on the process of Slovakia’s democratic modernization while enjoying their privilege to work with a person that, as they say in Slovak, has all five P’s: pleasant and polite, yet probing and perspicacious, a political scientist with a European perspective – simply the perfect woman in her field for 2006…

Because participating at the seminar in Brussels Ms. Gyarfasova could not be present at the Gala Event. Her daughter Tina was there.

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