Dr. Irena Edwards is originally Czech, having emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1979. She has also lived in France, worked in Saudi Arabia (accompanying her English husband) and now lives between Prague and London.
Dr. Edwards qualified as an English solicitor in 1988. She spent almost 30 years of her professional life working in several prominent City of London international law firms, including Lovells, CMS and Eversheds. She also spent a year after the Velvet Revolution seconded to the DTI/ FO (payed for by Raiffeisen Bank) acting as an export advisor to the Czech Republic and three years as an advisor to the British Government on Europe (a ministerial appointment). In 2009/2010, Dr. Edwards was a runner-up in the UK’s ‘Business Woman of the Year in Business Services’.
On her retirement, Dr. Edwards established the Czech National Trust ( CNT), which launched in June 2014 in the Reform Club in London. The CNT has since become quite a big success story in the CR, and Irena has since been asked to become one of the Trustees and Directors of INTO (the International National Trusts Organisation), a position she still holds. She also established and runs CNTA, an English charity registered in London which supports the CNT internationally.
The Czech National Trust follows a similar format to the English National Trust, focusing on the restoration and ongoing support of national monuments and buildings as well as non-build cultural heritage by involving volunteers and engaging public support. (Note, however, that the English National Trust has existed since the 1890s and has an annual turnover of over £500 million!). The CNT is a fledgling compared to its Alma Mater but it has a number of high profile projects on the go, all of which rely solely on the support of the Trust’s sponsors and benefactors. Even HRH Prince Charles knows about the CNT and has given it several personal endorsements.