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Václav Havel to Deliver Human Rights Lecture

Václav Havel, the well-known Czech playwright who rose to become the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, will visit the Library of Congress today to give a lecture on human rights.

Havel, who has occupied the Kluge Chair for Modern Culture at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library since early April, will speak about the contradiction between what nations proclaim about human rights and how they actually treat their citizens in a lecture titled “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”

Havel is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading political, moral and intellectual figures. After growing up under a Communist regime and writing plays that were often prohibited from being produced in his own country, Havel became involved in the growing dissent movement in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and 1970s and eventually helped transition the country from dictatorship to democracy in the late 1980s. He served two terms as president of the Czech republic in the 1990s and is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and writing awards.

The lecture will take place at 6 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and will also be cybercast live on the Library’s Web site, The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited; call (202) 707-2692 for more information.

— John McArdle

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