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Panel discussion on the 25th anniversary of Václav Havel’s visit to the US PART 1 (12. 2. 2015)

From 20 to 22 February 1990, Václav Havel and a large team undertook a trip to Washington and New York. He delivered a legendary speech to both Houses of Congress in which he paradoxically called on the US to help Russia on its path to democracy. The visit included meetings with George H.W. Bush at the White House and many other important politicians, as well as with Czech expatriates and students, while a celebration at which numerous well-known artists performed was organised for the Czechoslovak president at New York’s St. John the Divine Cathedral. The visit became the basis for friendly relations between the two countries that later resulted in the Czech Republic being accepted into NATO. Introduction: H. E. Ambassador Andrew H. Shapiro Marta Smolíková 14:00-15:30: Panel about the travel to US Alexandr Vondra Eda Kriseová Martin Mejstřík Moderator: Josef Jařab

„Celková otázka tedy zní: K jak hluboké zítřejší duchovní a mravní impotenci národa povede dnešní kastrace jeho kultury? Obávám se, že zhoubné společenské následky tu o mnoho let přežijí konkrétní politické zájmy, jež je vyvolaly. O to větší bude ovšem historická vina těch, kteří duchovní budoucnost národa obětovali zájmům své mocenské přítomnosti. “

Václav Havel:
Dopis Gustávu Husákovi – samizdatová esej, 8. duben 1975