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Library to commemorate Havel’s 80th birth anniversary in 2016

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Prague, Dec 29 (CTK) – The 80th birth anniversary of the late playwright, dissident and Czech president Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) will be the main theme of the programme of the Havel Library next year, Pavel Hajek, from the institution, told CTK on Tuesday.

The Vaclav Havel Library, inspired by presidential libraries in the United States, was established in 2004 to preserve Havel’s works and other documents connected with his life.

On January 6, the library will launch its own website with the programme of the celebrations of Havel´s 80th birthday and present their logo, Hajek added.

Many other Czech and foreign institutions will participate in them.

The celebrations will include not only cultural events, but they will also focus on human rights. The programme will offer various exhibitions, public presentations and speeches given by Havel´s former collaborators and friends.

The Czech Centres, a subsidised organisation of the Foreign Ministry, with its foreign branches will be one of the Czech partners.

Hajek said he expected dozens of organisations and institutions to participate in the programme, including the Art for Amnesty and the Foundation of Vaclav Havel Library in New York, a branch of the Prague institution that is preserving Havel´s legacy in the United States.

The celebrations should take place under the aegis of the Vaclav Havel Library and individual organisers can ask it for partnership.

Hajek added that the celebrations would not be held in a too solemn atmosphere, but they would also have cheerful, entertaining moments.

During the opening evening, moderated by library director Michael Zantovsky, the Havel@80 project will be presented and the sale of the electronic version of Vaclav Havel´s collected works will be launched. The screening of an amateur video- recording from one of Havel´s first foreign trips in his capacity as president will follow.

The library also prepares a new revised issue of the memoirs of Havel´s father and a book of interviews with his brother Ivan, 77.

Havel, born on October 5, was the last Czechoslovak and the first Czech president (in office 1989-2003). After he left the post, he primarily focused on the promotion of human rights in the world. He died on December 18, 2011, aged 75 years.

His supporters annually commemorate this date. They organise various meetings, readings and a Requiem Mass. They claim that the current Czech society and politics lack “Havel´s spirit.”

This year, several hundred people marched from the monument of St Wenceslas, the Czech patron saint, in Prague centre to Prague Castle, the presidential seat.

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