It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to welcome you to the new year of the Czech Embassy´s Mutual Inspirations Festival. As in the previous years, we are again celebrating a prominent individual of Czech origin whose legacy bridges across the Atlantic, inspiring both Czechs and Americans. This time, we are paying homage to a personality who has been a source of our inspiration in many fields. However, his key legacy is mainly one of immense moral authority, courage and personal humility.
Václav Havel, former Czech President, dissident and playwright has been an inspiration for many around the world. Nevertheless, his life story, attitudes and deeds make him particularly relevant for Czechs and Americans. His unyielding commitment to democracy makes him look like one of America´s founding fathers. His determined struggle against oppression puts him in line with other historic Czech leaders who helped the nation to find its bearing and courage in the gravest hours. His life story, which some might compare to his absurd plays, culminated in what one can only view as a truly American happy ending – a former prisoner of consciousness elected to the highest office of his nation. It is this remarkable blend that makes Václav Havel a genuine Czech-American inspiration, an example worth learning from.
Thanks to the generous support of our partners and sponsors, we have been able to put together a varied and complex festival program. We will be looking at Václav Havel, his work and legacy from a number of angles, some more, some less familiar to American public. We will be doing so in support of the Václav Havel Library Foundation whose purpose is to make sure Havel´s legacy in the U.S. is sound and striving. I do hope that you will accept our invitation to be inspired by Václav Havel and join us at the events of this year´s festival.
Ambassador of the Czech Republic