American Philosophical Society
Member History

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1Name:  President Václav Havel
 Institution:  Former President of the Czech Republic
 Year Elected:  1995
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  503. Administrators, Bankers and Opinion Leaders from the Public or Private Sectors
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1935
 Death Date:  December 18, 2011
One of the world's shining lights in the struggle for truth and freedom, playwright, essayist and prisoner of conscience Vaclav Havel served as president of the Czech (formerly Czecho-Slovak) Republic 1989 to 2003. Living proof of the proposition that intellectuals can greatly influence that struggle, Mr. Havel authored the "Velvet Revolution" in his country that peacefully swept the Communist regime from power and put the Czechs at the forefront of the Central and Eastern European nations converting to democracy. As an author, Mr. Havel had been awarded numerous international prizes, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1968), the Olof Palme Prize (1989) and the Simon Bolivar Prize (1990). Among his many books and plays are Garden Party (1963), Protest (1978), Slum Clearance (1988), Disturbing the Peace (1990) and The Art of the Impossible (1997). His memoir, To the Castle and Back, was published in 2007, and his first play in 18 years, "Odchazeni" ("On Departure") had its premiere at the Archa Theater in Prague in 2008. Prior to his country's democratization, Mr. Havel's work was frequently suppressed by Czecho-Slovak authorities, and as spokesman for the Charter 77 human rights movement, he was variously persecuted, imprisoned and placed under house arrest for "subversive" and "antistate" activities. As a politician, he has been honored worldwide and in 1994 was presented with the presitigious Philadelphia Liberty Medal. In 1990 he led his nation to free elections, and even as former Czech Head of State, he continued to be recognized as a moral authority due to his courageous and unyielding stance through the years of Communist totality. Vaclav Havel died on December 18, 2011 at the age of 75 in norther Bohemia, Czech Republic.
Election Year
1995 (1)