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Havel, Vaclav

Born: 1936 AD
Currently alive, at 78 years of age.

Nationality: Czech
Categories: Presidents


1936 – He was born on the 5th day of October this year in Prague, Chezchoslovakia.


1951 - Czech communist government did not allow Havel to study formally after he had completed his required schooling in this year.


1954 - In the first part of the 1950s, the young Havel entered into a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant and simultaneously took evening classes to complete his secondary education which he did in this year.


1957 – He entered the military and after military service in 1959, he worked as a stagehand in Prague (at the Theatre On the Balustrade - Divadlo Na zábradlí) and studied drama by correspondence at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU).


1968 - Following the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968 he was banned from the theatre and became more politically active.


1989 - On the 29th day of December this year, as leader of the Civic Forum, he became President by a unanimous vote of the Federal Assembly. An ironic turn of fate for a man who had long insisted, that he was uninterested in politics. He became a leading figure in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the bloodless end to communism in Czechoslovakia.


1992 - On the 3rd of July this year, the federal parliament did not elect Havel the only candidate for presidency, due to a lack of support from Slovak MPs. After the Slovaks issued their Declaration of Independence, he resigned as president on the 20th of July.


1993 - When the Czech Republic was created, he stood for election as president there on the 26th of January, of this year, and won


1996 - In December this yar the chain-smoking Havel was diagnosed as having lung cancer. The disease reappeared two years later.


1997 - In this year, less than a year after the death of his wife Olga, who was beloved almost as a saint by the Czech people, Havel remarried to actress Dagmar Veškrnová. That year he was the recipient of the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca.


1998 – He was re-elected president in this year and underwent a colostomy when on holiday in Innsbruck. Havel left office after his second term as Czech president ended on February 2, 2003; Václav Klaus, one of his greatest political opponents, was elected his successor on February 28, 2003.


2002 – He was the third recipient of the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award presented by the Prague Society for International Cooperation.


2003 – He was the inaugural recipient of Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award for his work in promoting human rights.


2006 - In November and December of this year, Havel spent eight weeks as an artist-in-residence at Columbia University. At the same time, Untitled Theater Company #61 hosted a Havel Festival, the first ever complete festival of his plays. The events came in conjunction with his 70th birthday.


Page last updated: 12:50am, 07th Jun '07

  • "Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity..."
  • "Human beings are compelled to live within a lie, but they can be compelled to do so only because they are in fact capable of living in this way. Therefore not only does the system alienate humanity, but at the same time alienated humanity supports this system as its own involuntary masterplan, as a degenerate image of its own degeneration, as a record of people's own failure as individuals."
  • "Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."
  • "Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for .success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."
  • "A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerality of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action."