Václav Havel

(1936-2011 / Prague)

Biography of Václav Havel

Václav Havel poet

Václav Havel (5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011) was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician.

Havel was the ninth and last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and the first president of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote more than 20 plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.

Havel was voted 4th in Prospect magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals. At the time of his death he was Chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. He was the founder of the VIZE 97 Foundation and the principal organizer of the Forum 2000 annual global conference.

Havel was one of the signatories of the Charter 77 manifesto, a founding signatory, together with Joachim Gauck, of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism (launching the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism), and a council member of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Havel received many recognitions, including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the freedom medal of the Four Freedoms Award, and the Ambassador of Conscience Award. The 2012–2013 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour.

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