Internationally recognised literary scholar, American Studies expert, and translator, Josef Jařab had been dealing with the history of U.S. literature with a special focus on African-American writing and its place in the North American cultural context. He published articles, essays, and studies in academic journals and books; his work as a reviewer, editor, and populariser has also met significant acclaim. As the first Palacký University rector after the Velvet Revolution he contributed to its modern development, including the restoration and foundation of other faculties, and establishing international contacts and cooperation. He was a former President of the European Association for American Studies, a board member of the Magna Charta Universitatum in Bologne, a former Rector of Central European University in Budapest and in Warsaw. He was a member of many Czech and international academic societies and laureate of Honorary Doctor degrees at one British and two U.S. universities.
In his lifelong endeavour to promote the values of education, humanity, and democracy, he also gained a reputation as a citizen and politician. He was one of the founding members of Občanské fórum (Civic Forum) in Olomouc, a member of the municipal government and Olomouc City Council, Senator of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, a former member of the Forum 2000 foundation and the Programme Committee of the Forum 2000 conference, and Administrative Board of the Open Society Fund. His “Evening Talks with Palacký University Guests”, held regularly in the 1990s, were very popular among university students as well as the public in Olomouc. He died on 3 May, 2023.
- The František Palacký Prize - 13 June 2012