27.02.2012 - ODG

Irina Bokova pays tribute to Vaclav Havel

© UN Photo/Mark Gart

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova is participating in a colloquium, held on 28 February at UNESCO Headquarters, to pay tribute to Vaclav Havel, former President, groundbreaking playwright and great humanist who led his country to democracy.

“All his life, Vaclav Havel fought for freedom in the simplest and most natural of terms,” said Irina Bokova,  “he has left us with a lesson of freedom, more relevant than ever, at a time when so many men and women are fighting for it,” she continued. “To tackle the difficulties, the delays and sometimes the frustrations of politics, he was always faithful to his conviction that freedom must come first.”

Also present at this event, organized by the Permanent Delegations of the Czech Republic and the French Republic to UNESCO,  are Ivan Klima, writer and playwright, Jack Lang, former French Culture Minister, André Gluksmann, philosopher and essayist and Ivan Havel, Vaclav Havel's younger brother.

Participants will engage in a debate moderated by Professor Jacques Rupnik, Director of Research, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI), Paris, and Visiting Professor at the Collège d’Europe, Bruges.

Vaclav Havel passed away on Sunday 18 December 2011 at the age of 75. A playwright banned from publication in his own country for 20 years, he was one of the dominant figures of Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution. As president of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic, from 1989 to 2003, he wrote: “The human race now knows that its only salvation lies in a new type of global responsibility. It just lacks one small detail:  to genuinely assume this responsibility.”

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