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.

A Word about Words – samizdat essay

„Besides, to be wary of words and of the horrors that might slumber inconspicuously within them – isn’t this, after all, the true vocation of the intellectual? I recall that André Glucksmann once spoke in Prague about the need for intellectuals to emulate Cassandra: to listen carefully to the words of the powerful, to be watchful of them, to forewarn them of their danger, and to proclaim their dire implications or the evil they might invoke.“

Václav Havel:
A Word about Words – samizdat essay, July 25, 1989

4th Annual Conference, The Vaclav Havel European Dialogue, Prague, May 15, 2017Havel—Prigov and czech experimental poetry