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November 1989 and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

In 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic commemorated the 30th anniversary of the November 1989 events, one of the most important moments in modern Czech history.
 

Not only does November 1989 symbolise the fall of the Communist regime and the beginning of a return to democracy but also a paradigmatic change of Czechoslovak and later Czech foreign policy in terms of its orientation towards the West. This is reflected in its efforts to integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures, namely the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). The culmination of these efforts was the accession of the Czech Republic to both these organisations. At the same time, this anniversary represented an opportunity for self-reflection on the modern direction of the Czech Republic and its foreign policy.

Aware of its extraordinary significance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its network of Embassies and Czech Centres commemorated this anniversary with more than two hundred cultural and social events (exhibitions, concerts, discussions, film and photo shows, multi-genre projects, etc.) both at home and abroad.

Events of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Held Abroad - selection:

Plastic People of the Universe and the Brno Philharmonic – concert in Bratislava on the occasion of November 1989 anniversary (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bratislava)

“Ferdinand!” – modern production based on Václav Havel's play Audience (Embassy of the Czech Republic and Czech Centre in Berlin)

“Power of the Powerless” – exhibition and conference on Václav Havel (Embassy of the Czech Republic and Czech Centre in Madrid)

“Rehearsal for Truth” - Audience - theatre performance of Václav Havel´s play at the festival organised by the Václav Havel Library Foundation (Czech Centre in New York, Bohemian National Hall in New York, also Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington-Washington, D.C. and Consulate General in Chicago)

“30 Years of Freedom and Democracy” – lecture, documentary films screening and photographs presentation about the events of 1989 (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bern, Consulate General in Chicago etc.)

“Revolution is not a Garden Party” – discussion with Czechs and Slovaks who participated in the Velvet Revolution (Czech Centre in Brussels and Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union in Brussels)

“The Velvet Revolution and Where It Took Czechoslovakia” – a series of discussions in Peru and Ecuador on the November 1989 events with the participation of Pavel Žáček, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament and founder of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lima)

Meeting with Czech Students to commemorate 1989 – evening debate on 1989 with Czech students studying in France (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Paris)

“Velvet Revolution @30” – conference with speeches by Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright, Šimon Pánek and Václav Bartuška (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington-Washington, D.C., Georgetown University)

Social event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution with a concert by guitarist Lukáš Sommer and screening of documentary films and photographs (Consulate General in Chicago)

“Freedom and Democracy – the Velvet Revolution” – lecture and seminar at the Tel Aviv University with the participation of the Executive Director of the Václav Havel Library Michael Žantovský and Director of People in Need Šimon Pánek (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tel Aviv)

“The Velvet Revolution 1989” – exhibition curated by Dana Kyndrová presenting photographs by 15 Czech photographers capturing the events of November 1989 (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Addis Ababa, Consulate General in Erbíl, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tel Aviv, Czech House Jerusalem, Czech Centre in Munich, etc.)

“1989 – the Velvet Revolution and the Personality of Václav Havel” – exhibition on the personality and activities of Václav Havel, organised in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library Foundation and the Czech Centre in Moscow, and a lecture by art historian Vlasta Smoláková on the November 1989 events (Consulate General in Sankt Peterburg, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bangkok, etc.)

“The Velvet Revolution and the Idea of ​​Europe” – academic conference organised by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rome and a conference booklet - in cooperation with the Instituto S. Pio and Associazione Praga (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rome)

 

Events of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Held in the Czech Republic - selection:

“An Afternoon with the Czech Diplomacy” – debate on foreign policy in the context of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution - discussion held for university students and the general public with the participation of diplomats (direct participants in the November 1989 changes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and on the current foreign policy topics with the participation of current and former diplomats (Prague, Czernin Palace)

“Distinguished Contribution to Diplomacy Medal” award ceremony – on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of November 1989 (Prague, Czernin Palace)

November 1989 in documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – exhibition on the events of 1989 as illustrated by documents preserved in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic (Prague, Czernin Palace)


Events and Projects of the Czech Centres Held Abroad - selection:

“The Velvet Revolution 1989” – exhibition project of the National Museum in cooperation with the Czech Centres commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia through information, photographs, videos and sound recordings. (Czech Centres network)

“1989 Velvet Revolution the End of Totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia” – collection of iconic photographs by 15 leading Czech photographers who captured the turning points of modern Czech-Slovak history. The curator of the exhibition is Dana Kyndrová. (Czech Centres and Embassies)

“Moments of the Velvet Revolution” – loop of 50 Czech News Agency photographs taken during 1988 - 1990 in Prague and other regions. (Czech Centres network and Embassies)

“Posters of the Velvet Revolution 1989” – collection of 20 iconic posters from November 1989, with captions in Czech and English. Curator: Filip Blažek (Czech Centres network)

“Velvet Effect 1989/1990” – exhibition of illustrations and texts by the students of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art evoking the atmosphere of the epoch-making moments of the Velvet Revolution. (Czech Centres network)

“DIALOGUE”. Involvement through culture before and after 1989. Multi-genre art project: exhibition “Dialogue” (Czech Centres in Slovakia and Poland,) and a lecture with discussion about samizdat in Poland, Belgium and Slovakia. Furthermore, a concert in Prague and Brussels and a conference in Brussels. The project is funded by the European Union´s Europe for Citizens Programme.

 

Activities of the Czech Centres in the Czech Republic:

“The Coup in Czechoslovakia.” Exhibition of photographs by Daniel Biskup and Karel Cudlín. The exhibition of two renowned photographers has been prepared by the Czech Centre in Munich in cooperation with partners (Czech Centre Gallery).

“Year of Miracles: Central Europe in 1989”, Cultural Institutes of Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria and Czech Centres in cooperation with Korzo Národní – the organisers of a day-long happening for the public in Národní Třída, organise  a joint photo exhibition on events in Europe in 1989 (Prague, Jungmann Square)

“Freedom. Through the young generation's perspective.” Graphic and artistic rendition of the concept of freedom reveals the perspective of the young generation - students from the Graphic Design Studio of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen and the Studio K.O.V. of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Czech Centre Gallery)

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