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Olga Havlová’s Legacy in the Eyes of the Young Generation: Who Do Today’s 20-Year-Olds Look Up To?

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  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 21, 2018, 18:00 – 20:00

Olga Havlová, one-time first lady of the Czech Republic, would have been 85 years old this year. While many people know her name, the majority mainly remember her as the wife of President Václav Havel. Few are capable of appreciating her as a personality who devoted her entire life to creating the conditions for the fomentation of civic society. As the founder of the Committee of Good Will she always fought for the rights of the most vulnerable and by means of the foundation helped the disabled, the abandoned and the socially disadvantaged.

How do today’s youth view her legacy? What does Olga Havlová represent to them? Do today’s 20-year-olds have their “own” personalities they look up to? Who are their models? What do they think of non-profit organisations, volunteering and charity and how do they make that known? Do the terms that Olga Havlová and Václav Havel identified with – truth and love, compassion and humility – have the same meanings for them? And what do those who lived through the “Havel years” as adults make of the development of society and today’s youth?

Representatives of the young generation will discuss human and moral values together.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havlová Foundation.

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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

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