in Prague in 1936, Václav Havel grew up in a well-known
entrepreneurial and intellectual family. Because of his family’s
status in Czech society, the communist government denied Havel
the opportunity to pursue a university education.
when he was 20, Havel published a number of studies and articles.
Havel’s writings and his philosophical values were important
to transformation of Czech society. Throughout his career, Havel
remained steadfast in his opposition to political repression.
He was imprisoned three times for his expressing his views and
spent nearly five years in prison. The culmination of his activities
resulted in his writing Charter 77. Published in January of
1977, Chapter 77 embodied the political will of the Czech people
as well as providing a name for a new political movement.
November of 1989, the Civic Forum, an umbrella group for organizations
and individuals who demanded fundamental changes in the Czechoslovak
political system, was created. Václav Havel became its
leading figure. The social upheaval in Czechoslovakia came to
a climax on December 29th, 1989, when Václav Havel, as
the candidate of Civic Forum, was elected President by the Federal
Assembly of Czechoslovakia. In his inaugural address, he promised
to lead the nation to free elections, which he fulfilled in
the summer of 1990.
was elected to the Czechoslovak Presidency a second time by
the Federal Assembly in July 1990 and became the first President
of the independent Czech Republic in January 1993. He resigned
the Presidency in July the same year and was re-elected President
by both Chambers of Parliament in 1998.
to his unyielding political stance through the years of communist
totality, Václav Havel has become a recognized moral
authority. For his literary and dramatic works and for his position
on the upholding of human rights, Václav Havel is the
recipient of a number of state decorations, international awards
and honorary doctorates.