skip to Main Content

Yesterday Václav Havel died, Czech playwright-philosopher-president, tireless democracy and human rights activist and great European. As one of the eminent founders of the Charta 77 movement in Czechoslovakia, he became the embodiment of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the mobilisation of people’s power which ended communist dictatorship through peaceful dialogue. The Velvet Revolution became the template for peaceful transitions to democracy ever since and Václav Havel the champion for people’s struggles for democracy all over the world.

He was not only instrumental in bringing an end to the old cold-war dominated world, but he became a source of inspiration and a friend of all those who believe in human freedom and in societies based on the respect for human rights and democratic governance.

One of his commitments to advance democracy was the establishment of the Brussels based European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) in 2008 of which Václav Havel became the President of the Board of Patrons. As a coalition of organisations in Europe supporting democratic transitions, he wanted EPD to make European lessons in peaceful transitions available to partners elsewhere in the world struggling for democracy. He strongly believed that Europe could and should do much more.

For Václav Havel, the main challenge in today’s world was the creation of a new model of co-existence among the various cultures, peoples, races and religious spheres within a single interconnected civilisation. He warned that this task cannot be accomplished through technical means.  He meant that it cannot be accomplished through the invention of new organisational, political and diplomatic instruments alone. Adhering to the principle that all power derives from the people – the fundamental idea of democracy – was not enough in his words.  As he said:  “we must go farther and deeper”.  The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order.  “Yet”, Václav Havel said, “I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far.”

This search for a deeper anchoring of humanity in an interconnected, culturally diverse world at peace with its earthly resources and the universe at large, is the challenge in a rapidly changing world he left us with today.

More news

Public letter to the Czech Minister of European Affairs and the EU Ministers of European Affairs on the Regulation of Political Adverstising
Media Freedom Act
Reaction to the European Commission’s Proposal for a European Media Freedom Act
Youth Democracy cohort EPD
The voice of the 50%: EPD announces its co-leadership of the Youth Civic and Political Engagement Cohort of the Summit for Democracy
Exploring worldwide democratic innovations
Exploring Worldwide Democratic Innovations
EPD COnference 2022
Supporting democracy and improving coordination in a new era: takeaways from the European Partnership for Democracy Conference 2022
Club de Madrid Mission Cabo Verde
Djuntu pa Igualdadi! Fighting Gender-based Violence with a participatory approach
10 recommendations for a European response to the Ukraine invasion
Civil society recommendations for an ambitious rule of law report in 2022
EPD stands with Ukraine
Supporting transparency: strengthening dialogue between civil society and public authorities in Morocco
EPD Statement on the Commission’s 2022 Rule of Law Report
Call for Application: Final Evaluation of Media Dialogue Project
Back To Top