She is a popular and award-winning Czech theatre, film and television actress. After marrying President Václav Havel in 1997, she accompanied him on official engagements as first lady and was actively engaged in charity work. In 1997 she founded the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97, of which she is chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. She is a member of Femmes d’Europe and is honorary chairwoman of the Czech Committee for UNICEF. She is an active member of several other Czech and international charity organisations. Alongside her charity work she has recently returned to acting. More information: www.havlova-veskrnova.com/
As chairman of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights he advocated for adherence to human rights in Europe in the 1980s. He returned to his homeland in the autumn of 1989 and on 10.7.1990 was appointed chancellor to President Václav Havel. In 1992 he led the first OSCE delegation to Nagorno Karabakh following the outbreak of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He stepped down as chancellor in the same year. In recent years he served as Czech minister of foreign affairs and is at present a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Karel Schwarzenberg and Zdenek Bakala concluded the "Agreement on the Transfer of Founder's Rights" and this step was completed by entry in the register in autumn 2021. More information: www.karelschwarzenberg.cz
Zdenek Bakala is a global financial investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Shortly after the Velvet Revolution, he helped establish Credit Suisse First Boston's Prague subsidiary. Subsequently, he co-founded Patria Finance, the first private investment bank in the Czech Republic, which played a significant role in many privatization projects. The bank also played a vital role in issuing the first Czech sovereign bonds, establishing asset management and corporate finance standards, and founding the Prague Stock Exchange, where Zdenek became a member of its first supervisory board. In the following years, he made investments in a wide range of sectors - mineral resources, real estate, transport, media, computer games, and sports. In 2010, Zdenek revitalized a historic industrial site in the Karlin district of Prague, creating the unique administrative and communal complex Forum Karlin. A special place among his investments is the Czech media house Economia.
Zdenek Bakala's philanthropy focuses on supporting and developing democratic society, education, and free media. In 2012, Zdenek and his wife Michaela initiated the opening of the Aspen Institute Central Europe. A friend of the former Czech president Vaclav Havel, Zdenek became a strategic partner and long-term supporter of the Vaclav Havel Library immediately after its founding. He is also a long-term supporter of the Design Museum in London and a trustee of his alma mater, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in the USA.
Zdenek and his wife established the Bakala Foundation to sponsor the studies of talented Czech students at prestigious universities abroad in 2007. Throughout more than 12 years, the program has supported nearly two hundred students pursuing careers in many fields of science and humanities, business, cultural and public life in the Czech Republic and abroad.
A respected professor of sociology, he worked at the Institute of Social Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University from the year 2000. He was visiting professor at Brno’s Masaryk University and external lecturer at the Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. From 2001 he was chairman of the Masaryk Czech Sociological Association. He also worked as an expert for the World Bank in the field of modernising sociology teaching in Russia. He died in 2012. More information: www.petrusek.cz