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Festival of Democracy at the Václav Havel Library

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 15, 2019, 13:00 – 17:30

Come to the fourth edition of the Festival of Democracy. You will be celebrating with us civic activity as a fundamental pillar of freedom and democracy while also supporting public discussion across generations and the entire society. A society that 30 years ago unlocked the door to freedom and is today afraid of losing it. As this year we are recalling the events of 1989, we wish to revive the legacy of the Velvet Revolution, its values and aspirations. At the same time, however, we hope in this context to devote space to challenges to the common future that we hold in our hands – because we feel responsibility for the world in which we live. Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with Forum 2000. The event will take place in Czech and English; interpretation will not be provided.

13.00 – 14.30 | Between the Castle and StB Jailers: The Czech Bahá'í Community from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire Until 1989

The search for transcendence and spiritual values has always been closely associated with societal development in our lands. That was also the case in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and particularly following the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prior to the ascent of Communist dictatorship in 1948, the diversity of spiritual and religious life in our country also found external expression. One spiritual current with a firm position in that mosaic was the Bahá'í faith, which influenced many figures in Czech intellectual circles and also interested the Czechoslovak presidents Masaryk and Beneš. Like other faith groups, Bahá'í was the target of persecution by the totalitarian system following the Communist coup.

Panellists: Kristýna Pilecká, lecturer on Bahá'í and faith at Charles University; Karel Tesař, diplomat and historian; Hana Sodeyfi, Austrian Slavic Studies scholar, interpreter and translator of Czech.

In cooperation with the Bahá'í Information Centre.

16.00 – 17.30 | Education and Democracy

Václav Havel and other leading figures of the Czech struggle for a democratic future deemed education to be the foundation for democracy. Today, 30 years after the introduction of democracy to the Czech Republic and 15 years after the Czech accession to the EU, the Czech educational system provides basic education for every citizen and performs well in international testing. On the other hand, education remains underfunded by the government, the teaching workforce is aging, and the content of education is prone to emphasizing the past, both events, and institutions, over contemporary knowledge and the challenges of tomorrow. How far has the Czech education come in fostering democracy, what are the solution to current challenges and how should education respond to major issues of tomorrow?

In cooperation with Europeum


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