The second of our 2021 Havel Conversations series will feature Czech journalist and political writer Jiri Pehe. Former chief political advisor to President Havel and now the director of New York University’s center in Prague, Pehe is a shrewd observer of both the American and European political scenes. He will talk with VHLF board member Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, a longtime resident of Prague.
Sunday, February 21, 2 pm EST
Their conversation will focus on the future of liberal democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Are the values of the Velvet Revolution still alive today, ten years after Havel’s death? Or is it more accurate to say—as many do—that the region’s democratic transition has failed to fulfil its promise? Are the stresses experienced by the Visegrad countries the same as those undermining democracy in western Europe and the United States? What is the path forward for the Biden administration as it tries to rebuild the alliance of democracies?
Join us for what is sure to be a provocative conversation with one of Prague’s most insightful commentators.
“Recent opinion polls and election results, in which the older post-communist generation particularly favors illiberal parties and populists, suggest that we may need to tell a new story about the Velvet Revolution. . . .” – Jiri Pehe, 2019
Jiri Pehe is an affiliated faculty member at New York University’s Center for European and Mediterranean Studies as well as director of NYU Prague. From September 1997 to May 1999 he directed the Political Department under President Havel and later served as the president’s advisor. Previously he was director of Central European research at the Research Institute of RFE/RL in Munich. The author of six books on politics and four novels, Pehe has written extensively on current events in Eastern Europe for American, Czech, and German periodicals and academic journals.
Marilyn Wyatt is a former diplomat who served as cultural affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Prague from 1992 to 1994. Since 2000 she has worked as a consultant in governance to civil society sectors around the world and, more recently, as an editor specializing in development and foreign affairs. She lived in Prague from 2005 to 2010 and returns frequently to her beloved adopted city. She is a vice chair of the VHLF board.
The conversation will be live on ZOOM. RSVP through Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link. It will be recorded and available on YouTube.
Suggested donation $10.
The discussion is part of HAVEL CONVERSATIONS ON ZOOM.
What is the future of democracy in the post-pandemic world?
Havel Conversations on Zoom, winter – spring 2021
“Today’s world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats. From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility.”
Vaclav Havel, The Onassis Prize for Man and Mankind, Athens, 1993
International leaders, diplomats, scholars, writers, and artists in the continuing debate over the most profound issues facing the global community: freedom, human rights, the state of democracy, and global citizenship.
This event is organized by Vaclav Havel Library Foundation with support of Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.