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The Embassy of the Czech Republic presents the project: Freedom of Expression in the Contemporary World

(This article expired 11.02.2013.)

The Embassy of the Czech Republic presents the project Freedom of Expression in the Contemporary World, which is dedicated to lifelong friends and symbols of the fight for democracy and freedom: the renowned Czech film director Miloš Forman and former Czech and Czechoslovak President Václav Havel. Running from February-May 2012, the project incorporates documentary screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, and lectures focusing on freedom of expression particularly in Burma, Belarus, and Cuba.


February 7, 2012, 6:30 pm               
Documentary Screening and Discussion: Cuba’s Hope

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic


February 12, 10 am                          
Memorial Service for former President Václav Havel

Location: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception


February 13 - March 12, 2012                     
Exhibition: Václav Havel, Photographs by Tomki Němec

 Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic


February 23, 7 pm                            
Documentary Screening: Miloš Forman: What Doesn’t Kill You…

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic


March 6, 7 pm                                   
Documentary Screening: Citizen Havel

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic


March/April 2012                               
Documentary screenings and discussions on the priorities of the current Czech foreign policy
: Burma, Belarus, Cuba

Location: TBC


April 17, 2012                                   
Exhibition Opening: Prague 1968, Photographs of Paul Goldsmith

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic

The exhibition will be on display from April 17 through May 10, 2012.


May 15, 2012                                                
Exhibition Opening: Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance 1968-1989

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic

The exhibition will be on display from May 17 through June 11, 2012.



MILOŠ FORMAN (*1932)  
Themes of freedom strongly resonate in the films of Czech director and emigrant from Czechoslovakia of 1968 Miloš Forman. In his Hollywood work, Forman features particularly themes of personal freedom, social conformity, and oppression of the individual. Based on his personal experience, Forman is attracted to projects and characters who refuse to conform to society―such as the comedian Andy Kaufmann (Man on the Moon), or the real-life pornographer Larry Flynt (The People versus Larry Flynt), among others. The Embassy has decided to dedicate its upcoming project to Forman for his social conscience and integrity in his filmmaking and awareness of freedom that is often taken for granted.

VÁCLAV HAVEL (1936-2011)
Miloš Forman’s lifelong friend Václav Havel was one of the most prominent leaders in the post-communist world, who used his position, voice, and moral authority to advance present-day struggles for freedom and democracy. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Havel became President of Czechoslovakia and then the first President of the Czech Republic. After leaving his presidential office in 2003, he focused on his literary work, as well as on activities promoting human rights worldwide, particularly in Cuba, Belarus, and Burma. For his literary and dramatic works, for his lifelong efforts and opinions, and for his position on upholding basic human rights and freedoms, Václav Havel remains one of the greatest Czechs of our times, and continues to be an inspiration for many seeking freedom.


Today, freedom of expression is recognized in international and regional human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. In the United States, freedom of speech is stipulated by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is part of the Bill of Rights. Freedom of expression in this amendment encompasses freedom of speech, press, and the right of the people to peacefully assemble.



The Czech Republic is a staunch advocate of respect for human rights and democracy in various places in the world where basic human rights, including freedom of expression, are violated or under threat. Using its own recent experience with the social transition and democratization, the Czech Republic focuses on its current human-rights-promotion priorities, which are determined territorially (Burma, Belarus, Cuba, in particular) and topically (freedom of expression, including freedom of the press).



The project is a prelude to the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2012-Milos Forman which will take place September-October 2012. The festival will celebrate Oscar-winning, Czech director Miloš Forman’s 80th birthday, the best of Czech cinematography, and the accomplishments of the transatlantic film industry, featuring over 30 films and events in prestigious venues throughout the Washington area. In addition, the festival will incorporate concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and theatrical performances related to film, photography, and/or the multimedia realm.