Lessons in democracy since 1989:
A source of Inspiration for Ukraine and Tunisia? Václav Havel European Dialogue Conference

  • Organisers: Czech Centre Brussels, European Partnership for Democracy, Václav Havel Library, Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU
  • Venue: Room A1G-3, European Parliament, Brussels
  • Date13th November 2014, 12:30 - 16:15

This year the Czech Republic, together with nine other EU Member States, celebrates 10 years of EU membership. This decade was preceded by many years of preparation to the accession, which transformed the countries and fostered their democratic transitions. This experience is often called “the return to Europe” and warrants sharing in a context of the numerous democratic transitions in the EU neighbourhood.

The objective of this second edition conference commemorating Václav Havel’s work is to examine what the EU means to neighbouring countries in terms of democratic development. Inspired by the 2013 edition, this event will be an opportunity to look at two concrete examples of countries currently in transition, Ukraine and Tunisia, each of which held crucial elections on the 26th October 2014.

Each panel will be introduced by a member of the European Parliament and representatives from civil society who will share their thoughts on the experience of democratic transition. This will pave the way for a discussion on how to take advantage of these often hard-learned lessons and offer the support of democratic transitions in other countries and thus carry on Václav Havel´s vision and legacy. Panellists for both countries will also share their experience of observing recent elections.

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„I am a child of the age of conceptual, rather than mystical, thought and therefore my god as well – if I am compelled to speak of him (which I do very unwillingly) – must appear as something terribly abstract, vague and unattractive. But it appears so only to someone I try to tell about him – the experience itself is quite vivid, intimate and particular, perhaps (…) more lively than for someone whose “normal” God is provided with all the appropriate attributes (which oddly enough can alienate more often than drawing one closer). And something else that is typical of my god: he is a master of waiting, and in doing so he frequently unnerves me. It is as though he set up various possibilities around me and then waited silently to see what I would do. (…) His Last Judgment is taking place now, continuously, always – and yet it is always the last: nothing that has happened can ever un-happen, everything remains in the “memory of Being” – and I too remain there – condemned to be with myself till the end of time – just as I am and just as I make myself.“

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

Havel—Prigov and czech experimental poetry