Presentation of the work at the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague.
To mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the death of Václav Havel (18 December 2011), the Italian magazine ‘Progetto Repubblica Ceca‘ has been publishing a collection of interviews with 18 different individuals that have taken place this year in Prague. The discussions concern this dissident and human rights activist who later became president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.
The interviewees include diplomats, politicians, former ministers, academics, journalists and historians who had the opportunity to personally meet and work with the former dissident. Among the testimonies are those of the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was a close friend of the former Czech President; Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, former Foreign Minister, who was Havel’s Chancellor at Prague Castle; Cardinal Dominik Duka, who shared a period of imprisonment with the former dissident during the regime, and Michael Žantovský, a writer, politician and diplomat, who was a spokesman for President Havel and who recently wrote a biography about him, which has been translated and distributed in Italy by the publisher La nave di Teseo.
The volume, entitled ‘Václav Havel. Ritratto a più voci dell’eroe della Rivoluzione di velluto’ (Václav Havel: A Multi-voiced Portrait of the Hero of the Velvet Revolution), is edited by Amedeo Gasparini, a young Italian-Swiss researcher and freelance journalist living in Prague, with a preface by the journalist and writer Sergio Tazzer, the former director of the Veneto regional office of RAI (the Italian public broadcasting company), an expert on Central-Eastern Europe and the founder of RAI’s weekly radio programme ‘Est Ovest’.
The launch of the book was held on 13 December 2021 at the Baroque Chapel of the Italian Cultural Institute of Prague in the presence of the Ambassador of Italy to the Czech Republic, Mauro Marsili, the director of the Alberta Lai Institute and numerous guests.
As emphasised by the editor-in-chief of the magazine ‘Progetto Repubblica Ceca’, Giovanni Usai, and the editor of the volume,Amedeo Gasparini, the publication has a non-profit status and is intended to contribute to charity. In fact, the distribution of the book is not subject to a cover price, but instead to a donation which can go to various organizations engaged in activities consistent with the spirit of the former dissident and human rights activist.
‘The aim of this initiative is to honour the legacy of a man whose moral stature and values are still a fundamental point of reference for politicians, Czech society and Europe as a whole,’ explained Gasparini. Through the course of the discussion he explored the various interpretations of the figure of Václav Havel, an intellectual, man of letters and philosopher who, through his political teaching, helped to forge a new direction in the history of contemporary Europe and Euro-Atlantic relations.
The publishing initiative was also made possible thanks to the support of SIAD S.p.A., an Italian multinational with a presence in the Czech Republic. The book has been published under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy in Prague, the Italian Cultural Institute, the City of Prague and prestigious research centres such as Europeum, Forum 2000, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom for Central Europe and the Baltic States, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Václav Havel Library.