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Conference on Jan Patočka

Husserl Archives at KU Leuven, Centre d’Etudes Tchèques, Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Belgium and the Czech Centre in Brussels invite you to Heresy and Heritage: Jan Patočka on Philosophy, Politics, and the Arts, a unique conference on the legacy of Charter ‘77 and the significance of Jan Patočka’s philosophy, which is held under the auspices of Milan Štěch, the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of two key events in European intellectual history: the publication of Charter ‘77, a declaration of respect for human rights in Communist Czechoslovakia, and the death of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. At the time of his death, Jan Patočka was one of the rare thinkers who recognized the centrality of the philosophical question and destiny of Europe. 40 years later, in the aftermath of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the establishment of the European Union, and the political collapse of the divide between Eastern and Western Europe, the questions pursued by Patočka’s thinking and raised by the publication of Charter '77 still remain as pressing as ever.

In order to commemorate these two events we are pleased to announce a five-day international conference to be held in Brussels and Leuven from 2nd to 6th May 2017. The aim of this conference is to bring together historians, philosophers, theoreticians of literature, writers, and political thinkers to debate and discuss the legacy of Charter ‘77 and the importance of the philosophy of Jan Patočka.

The conference will be launched with an opening ceremony also on Tuesday 2nd May at 7PM at Prague House in Brussels, where Filip Karfík and Jan Sokol will be present as the main speakers. Filip Karfík is honored professor of philosophy at the University of Fribourg and studied philosophy in a private circle of Jan Patočka’s students. Jan Sokol, former adviser to the Czech Minister of Education is a publicist, politician, former dissident and translator of philosophical texts. The opening words will be given by H. E. Jaroslav Kurfurst, the Ambassador of the Czech republic to the Belgium, Mr Jiří Šesták, vice-chairman of Czech Senate and Mr Nicolas de Warren, head of Husserls Archives at KU Leuven. The opening ceremony in Prague House will be followed by the screening of a brand new documentary on Jan Patočka - The Socrates of Prague. (by invitation only)

On Wednesday 3rd May from 10AM, a roundtable on Charter '77 and the Meaning of Dissidence will take place at the premises of the European Parliament, where Michal Žantovský, former spokesman and advisor to Václav Havel and Martin Palouš, one of the spokesmen of Charter 77 and a renowned Czech diplomat will be the main speakers together with Šimon Pánek, the executive director of the humanitarian organization People in Need. Registration for the debate is required before 25th April 2017 at frybova@czech.cz. The debate is organized in the cooperation with the MEP Luděk Niedermayer. 

ATTENTION: for those who don’t hold the badge of the EP, the following details are required: Family name(s), First name, Date of birth  (dd/mm/yyyy), Nationality, Type of ID document, Number of ID document.

 See full programme of the conference here 

More information: KU Leuven website

Organization: Czech Centre in Brussels, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Brussels, Husserl Archives KU Leuven, Université Libre De Bruxelles, Prague House in Brussels, MEP Luděk Niedermayer

Konference "Heresy and Heritage" - Jan Patočka o filozofii, politice a umění