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Celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in the USA

The Embassy of the Czech Republic will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution through the program Celebration of Freedom: 25 Years of Democracy – a Salute to Václav Havel, running from November 16-20, in Washington, DC.

In tribute to Havel’s enduring legacy, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, will unveil and dedicate Václav Havel’s bust in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol, in the presence of the Speaker Jan Hamáček of the Czech Parliament's Chamber of Deputies, and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The House of Representatives unanimously approved in House Resolution 506 the honor for the display earlier this year.    

Twenty-five years ago on November 17, the Velvet Revolution began with a peaceful student march and led to a remarkable transformation from communism to the re-establishment of democracy. The courageous dissident, prisoner of conscience, and talented playwright Václav Havel became the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia and later the first President of the Czech Republic.

Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States, Petr Gandalovič, said, "As we celebrate this monumental anniversary, we must look ahead to how we will continue to uphold and protect the freedom we achieved as a nation. The bond between our two nations, laid by our first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was considerably strengthened by Václav Havel. It is up to us to continue building upon this strong foundation for future generations.”

The Celebration of Freedom features a wide variety of events, through the support of over 25 institutions, universities, and companies. Highlights of the celebration include the world-class Czech Philharmonic performing Antonin Dvořák’s infamous Symphony No 9 in E minor, “From the New World” in an admission-free concert at the Washington National Cathedral; and the  conference Václav Havel’s Legacy Today at the Library of Congress with former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and prominent Czech and U.S. panelists exploring the political importance of Havel as well as revisiting and reaffirming his legacy in today’s world.     

Upcoming events include the Lion and Eagle Symposium at the Atlantic Council, discussing Geopolitical and Economic Challenges through the Eyes of Czech and American Envoys, a panel discussion at the National Endowment for Democracy on the continuing struggle for a Europe whole and free; and more.