The Mutual Inspirations Festival (MIF) is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, focusing on the mutual inspirations between Czech and American cultures and featuring each year an extraordinary Czech personality who has greatly influenced and inspired others through his or her work (MIF 2010-Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, MIF 2011-Antonín Dvořák, MIF 2012-Miloš Forman, MIF 2013-Václav Havel).
The festival began as a pilot project of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in 2010, and branched out to the local DC community a year later. It continues to grow, reaching out to select cities across the United States. In the last two years, over 20,000 visitors have attended festival events throughout Washington, DC, alone.
The festival takes place at cultural, religious, and educational community centers through a variety of forms, such as music, art, film, and literature. Through the celebration of the work of many famous personalities and the creations of individuals they in turn influenced, the festival aims to depict this long tradition of transatlantic inspiration and interpretation.
Now in its fourth year, the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2013 celebrates the life and legacy of dissident, playwright, and former Czech President Václav Havel. This year also marks the 77th anniversary of Havel’s birth, a number of particular significance for Havel was one of the founders of Charter 77, a document that criticized the Czechoslovak communist government for failing to implement human rights provisions.
Patrons of this year’s festival include U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg, and Havel’s widow Dagmar Havlová.
The festival runs September-October 2013, and features events at prestigious venues throughout the Washington area, including the National Gallery of Art, Georgetown University, Library of Congress, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Flash Point Gallery, Avalon Theater, West End Cinema, among others. The festival incorporates a variety of events, including theatrical performances, film screenings, concerts, lectures, and exhibitions – rounding out the many hats Havel wore throughout his life: president, political leader, visionary, spiritual seeker, human rights activist, citizen, dissident, prisoner, playwright, writer, poet, and man.