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Conference and photographic exhibition on the legacy of Václav Havel within CZ PRES

On November 10, 2022, as part of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, a conference focused on the message of the first Czech President Václav Havel and perspectives of the relationship between the EU and the Associated Trio took place in Tbilisi. On the Czech side, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Michal Dvořák delivered opening remarks. Another Czech guest was a sociologist Ivan Gabal. The conference was accompanied by a photographic exhibition about Václav Havel

The conference entitled "Legacy of Václav Havel – the Future of the EU and the Associated Countries Relationship" aimed to provide a platform for discussion about European integration of Georgia, European values, democratic reforms and for dialogue between Czech, European and Georgian representatives. In the opening panel, Deputy Minister M. Dvořák recalled Havel's speech in Aachen in 1996 and the motto of CZ PRES "Europe as a task". He welcomed the granting of candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and the European perspective to Georgia, saying that the Czech Republic will support all countries in the association process. He emphasized that progress in the rule of law, democracy and especially overcoming political polarization is also part of this process and is key to moving forward and demonstrating the will and determination to share responsibility and values. "It is clear that the path to full membership in the EU will not be easy or quick", he stated. He also mentioned that a great European tradition, according to Václav Havel, is the idea of ​​a free citizen as the source of all power. According to him, the unification of the EU was a great renaissance of the civic principle that would counter the fanatical nationalism that had unleashed two world wars. In the opening panel, which was moderated by Ivana Bursíková, Director of the Czech Center Tbilisi, Konstantin Natsvlišvili, Advisor to the President of Georgia, and Ghia Nodia, Director of the International School of Caucasian Studies at Ilia State University, also talked about their connections with Václav Havel as a writer, politician, and president.

In the next two panels, entitled "Development of Eastern Partnership and EU-Georgia Relations" and "Europe as a Task - the Role of Academic Sphere", sociologist Ivan Gabal, founder of Civic Forum and former advisor of president Václav Havel, spoke for the Czech side. On behalf of the EU, Lawrence Meredith, Director of Eastern Neighborhood Policy, DG NEAR, delivered a brief speech (online). The Georgian side was represented by George Khelasvili, First Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations, Irakli Khurasvili, Director General for European Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Associated Trio was also represented by Chargé d'affaires of Ukraine Andrii Kasianov. The last panel was completed by representatives of the academic sphere - Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of the Center for EU Studies at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Giorgi Kekelidze, Director of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia and Maka Nachchebia from the Shota Rustaveli Institute.

Around 80 participants, mostly students of Georgian universities and representatives of the academic sphere attended the Conference. Their interest in and knowledge of Václav Havel, their belief in Georgia’s belonging to the European family and their belief in Georgia's successful path to the EU was gratifying. A very constructive and pleasant atmosphere reigned throughout the event.

The conference was accompanied by a photo exhibition "Václav Havel in a Nutshell", which was prepared by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi as part of public diplomacy events. The exhibition was subsequently placed in the premises of Tbilisi State University, where students and visitors of the university could view it until November 16. The event was part of the "Václav Havel European Dialogues" conference on the occasion of CZ PRES and in Tbilisi was organized by the Czech Center Tbilisi, Agora Central Europe, and its partner organization Civitas Georgica. The conference would not have been possible without the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, ENERGO-PRO Georgia and the Václav Havel Library.


Havlova konference