Founders

Dagmar Havlová

She is a popular and award-winning Czech theatre, film and television actress. After marrying President Václav Havel in 1997, she accompanied him on official engagements as first lady and was actively engaged in charity work. In 1997 she founded the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97, of which she is chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. She is a member of Femmes d’Europe and is honorary chairwoman of the Czech Committee for UNICEF. She is an active member of several other Czech and international charity organisations. Alongside her charity work she has recently returned to acting. More information: http://www.havlova-veskrnova.com/

Karel Schwarzenberg

As chairman of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights he advocated for adherence to human rights in Europe in the 1980s. He returned to his homeland in the autumn of 1989 and on 10.7.1990 was appointed chancellor to President Václav Havel. In 1992 he led the first OSCE delegation to Nagorno Karabakh following the outbreak of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He stepped down as chancellor in the same year. In recent years he served as Czech minister of foreign affairs and is at present a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. More information: http://www.karelschwarzenberg.cz/

Miloslav Petrusek

A respected professor of sociology, he worked at the Institute of Social Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University from the year 2000. He was visiting professor at Brno’s Masaryk University and external lecturer at the Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. From 2001 he was chairman of the Masaryk Czech Sociological Association. He also worked as an expert for the World Bank in the field of modernising sociology teaching in Russia. He died in 2012. More information: http://www.petrusek.cz/

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

What Price Human Rights?