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Behind the Iron Curtain

For almost 50 years a sizable part of the world, the eastern half of the European continent, was sealed away behind the Iron Curtain. Spies, nukes, torture and secrecy were staples of the Hollywood Cold War movies, but what exactly went on there?

When the communism was banished in 1989, everyone was happy to forget these dark times and embrace freedom. Now, 20 years later, former eastern countries are making a name for themselves as purveyors of some of the best coding talent around world and some of the freshest startup ideas.

This is the 'transition generation', people rooted in the communist past that grew into an open world and future.

For the western world the past two decades, including the internet revolution, were radical enough; for Eastern Europeans, whom experienced life without freedom of speech, travel or religion and in some places without things as basic as food or electricity, the past 23 years feel like eons.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. Who is the 'transition generation' and why are some of these people performing at the top of the new economy?
  2. What is the 'hacker mentality' and why did it take such a strong hold in Eastern Europe?
  3. How bad were the different communist regimes, and, in hindsight, did they get anything right?
  4. What fuels the 'transition generation' and what holds it back? How did they fare when living outside their home countries, particularly in US?
  5. What can they contribute to the world?

Speakers

Organizer

Maria Constantinescu SlickFlick


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