Charlemagne Prize 2020
Who is awarded the Prize?
Charlemagne Youth Prize
Václav Havel 1991
Charlemagne Prize Laureate 1991 Václav Havel
Born on 5th October 1936 in Prague.
From 1954 to 1957 he studied Transport Economics at the Technical University of Prague, but was, however, not allowed to complete his studies for political reasons. Afterwards he had various jobs at theatres in Prague, the last one as dramatic advisor.
From 1960 he worked as a playwright at the Theatre on the Balustrade in Prague, where his first three plays (1963, 1965, 1968) were premiered. After the end of the Prague Spring (1968) he was banned from the theatre and from publishing his works, being the most prominent dissident.
In 1977 he was co-founder and spokesman for the civil rights group 77, which called for human rights and civil rights in the CSSR. The civil rights activist was arrested on several occasions and stood at times under house arrest.
In 1989, as Leader of the newly founded Civic Forum, he organized the opposition’s mass protests. As the figurehead for non-violent resistance he played a leading role in the political change in the CSSR. In December 1989 he became the first democratically elected President of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic through a unanimous parliament vote. After the breakup of the Federation (1992) he resigned. In 1993 he became President of the Czech Republic (until 2003).
Died on 18th December 2011.
Laudation (extract) by François Mitterrand
Speech (extract) by Václav Havel
Photo Václav Havel