Havel initiative launches with multimedia performance Dec. 10

The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in the College of Arts & Sciences is celebrating the launch of the Václav Havel Initiative for Human Rights and Diplomacy with a multimedia performance of Anticodes, Havel’s collection of experimental poetry, Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The performance, featuring the Czech theater company, Laterna Magika, will use film, digital audio, visual effects and ballet to interpret Havel’s poetry championing free speech.

It is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. It is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Vaclav Havel (1936-2011)

Vaclav Havel (1936-2011)

“We are so pleased to launch the Václav Havel Initiative. This effort has been years in the making,” said John F. Stack, executive director of SIPA. “The initiative will serve as an international academic center for scholars, researchers and students focusing on democratic transition around the world, while drawing on the legacy of Václav Havel and experiments in democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe.”

With its focus on human rights and diplomacy, the initiative is preparing for its first project, a two-year pilot program designed to prepare Miami for democratic transition in Cuba. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, it is designed to promote an understanding among Cuban Americans about the realities of the process of peaceful transition, including timing, challenges, risks, and opportunities.

The Václav Havel Initiative for Human Rights and Diplomacy serves as an international academic center for scholars, researchers opposition leaders and others. It will provide training, study programs, research, policy analysis and technical assistance in support of freedom around the world, with emphasis on Cuba and the Americas. The initiative’s director, Martin Palous, is the former Czech ambassador to the U.S.; ex-Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Czech Republic; an original signer of the Charter of 77, an informal civic initiative in communist Czechoslovakia; and a close friend of Havel’s.

Václav Havel was a dissident and leader of the Velvet Revolution (1989) that caused the non-violent end of 41 years of communist rule in then-Czechoslovakia. Havel was last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992); the first president of the Czech Republic (1993–2003); and a playwright, essayist and poet.

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