česky  english 

Advanced search
Article notification Print Decrease font size Increase font size

Panel: The Enduring Significance of Charter 77

Date: 03 February 2017 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Venue: Czech Embassy

The Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation presents the panel discussion "The Enduring Significance of Charter 77 " on the occasion of its 40th anniversary with special guests Martin Palouš, James F. Pontuso, F. Flagg Taylor, IV, and Marianne Canavaggio Silvéréano. 

The Czech Republic’s successful transition from communism to democracy would have been impossible without the committed activists who provided a consistent and courageous voice in favor of political and intellectual freedom and civic engagement. Speaking up in favor of truth and justice represents a radical threat to a state that seeks ideological control over the lives of all its citizens. This is why Charter 77, a short manifesto with a few thousand signatories, had such an explosive impact within the Eastern Bloc. Not only did many members and signatories of Charter 77 go on to play important roles in Czech and Slovak national life, the manifesto has also served as an inspiration to democratic dissidents from China to Cuba. This panel will explore the enduring significance of Charter 77 for the partisans of human freedom.

Date: February 3, 9–10:30 am    

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic             
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW        
Washington, DC 20008

Breakfast will be served. | Advance registration required.             
RSVP by February 1 to: https://charter77.eventbrite.com             

Business Attire


Martin Palouš was a signatory of Charter 77 and a founding member of the Civic Forum. He was appointed as the Czech Ambassador to the United States (2001–2005), prior to taking office as the Czech Republic’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2006–2011). He has also served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic, and a member of the Czechoslovak parliament. He is currently director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University and a member of the Prague Society for International Cooperation.

James F. Pontuso is the Charles Patterson Professor of government and foreign affairs at Hampden-Sydney College. He has authored or edited seven books and published more than ninety articles, reviews, and essays, including Václav Havel: Civic Responsibility in the Postmodern Age and Assault on Ideology: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Political Thought. His latest book, Nature's Virtue, published by
St. Augustine's Press, will appear in 2017. He has taught and lectured in a dozen countries and held positions including the John Adams Fellow at the University of London, Fulbright scholar in the Czech Republic, and visiting professor at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani. 

F. Flagg Taylor, IV is an associate professor of government at Skidmore College. He holds a PhD and an MA in political science from Fordham University and a BA from Kenyon College. His specialty is in the history of political thought and American government, especially the question of executive power. He is the editor of The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism, co-author of The Contested Removal Power, 1789-2010, and the author of numerous articles. He is currently working on a book-length treatment of Czechoslovak dissidents during the communist era.               

Marianne Canavaggio Silvéréano is a linguist/translator and professor of French at the Lycee Rochambeau in Washington, DC. She taught French to former President of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, and his brother Ivan, a professor at Charles University. In the 1980s, she worked at a French secondary school in Prague, where she translated Czech authors such as Bohumil Hrabal and Jáchym Topol into French, smuggled books to Czechoslovakia, and served as a contact point for Pavel Tigrid, a distinguished representative of the Czechoslovak exile, among others.