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Farewell to Tomáš (speech)

This is the speech presented on behalf of IBO during Tomáš' funeral, by Gérard Cobut (August 9, 2017)


Dear Helena,

Dear Family of Tomáš,

Dear Friends and Colleagues of Tomáš,


I am speaking here in my name, of course, but also I have been committed to convey to you the condolences of the whole International Biology Olympiad community (IBO); that includes more than 70 countries and over 200 persons who knew Tomáš through his IBO activities.


The first time I heard about Tomáš was in 1989-1990, at the time the 1st IBO was being prepared. Belgium was one of the founders. I was not present in those meetings, but a colleague of mine who was there told me: “There’s one person you will immediately notice, because he’s so kind, friendly and helpful: his name is Tomáš Soukup.“


Later I met Tom during one of the IBO meetings, in the winter, in Prague. The report was correct: the friendly little smile of Tomáš would be a familiar sight for the 25 years to come.


Even in the most complicated IBO issues, Tomáš kept a positive vision of events. He looked for solutions, not for problems. Those 25 years have been rewarding, but not always funny. We faced issues in IBO; some country coordinators did not behave properly, some of them had to be expelled out of the IBO community. But in each case Tomáš was always the advocate of the students who should not suffer from the adults bad behaviour. Tomáš was in fact the student’s best friend.

He was also the soul of the IBO Coordinating centre here in Prague.


I can tell you : the legacy of Tomáš will stay, because we will always remember that the Biology Olympiad is made for the competitors and for Biology promotion, and for friendly relations around the world.


Tomáš has passed away… We at IBO lost a friend, but the world lost one representative of kindness and goodness on this Earth.


Thank you Tomáš for your legacy to all of us.


by Gérard Cobut last modified Dec 11, 2017 04:58 PM