Fences, walls and trenches: free movement as a human right?

International conference in honour of the winner of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2016

Prague Crossroads, October 12, 2016

We are very sorry but registration is closed now


8.30–9.00 Registration


  • Interview with Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists

“The only lost cause is one we give up on before we enter the struggle.”

Summer Meditations, 1991


  • Michael Žantovský - executive director, the Library of Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic)


  • Gordana Igric – journalist and activist (Serbia)
  • Nadia Murad  Basee - activist (Iraq)
  • Sébastien Touzé – Fondation René Cassin – International Institute of Human Rights


Keynote speech by the Rector of CEU

  • Michael Ignatieff – president and rector, Central European University (Hungary)


  • Panel I: East of Eden

"The idea that a person can rewrite his biography is one of the traditional self-deceptions of Central Europe."

The Salzburg Festival, Salzburg, July 26, 1990 


  • Martin Palouš – diplomat and teacher, Florida International University (United States of America)


  • Ales Bialitski – chairman, the Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
  • Anar Mammadli – human rights activist (Azerbaijan)
  • Saso Ordanoski – journalist (Macedonia)
  • Gordana Igric – journalist and activist (Serbia)

11.35 – 11.55

Special Appearance

  • Nadia Murad  Basee – activist (Iraq)

11.55–13.00  Lunch


  • Panel II: Brexit: who lost the United Kingdom?

"The demons that so fatally affected European history  most disastrously in the twentieth century!  are biding their time. It would be a tragic error to forget about them because of some technicalities over funds, quotas or tariffs."

Europe as a Task, Aachen, May 15th, 1996


  • Michael Žantovský – executive director, the Library of Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic)


  • Eva Jiřičná – architect and designer (UK)
  • Tomáš Prouza – State Secretary for European Affairs (Czech Republic)
  • Martin Woollacott – journalist, the Guardian (UK)


  • Panel III: Openness or closeness of the EU

"The task of politicians is not just to carry out the will of voters and perhaps repeat their delusions so as to win them over, but also to lead and to fight against their delusions. Even with the risk that next time they won’t get elected."

Interview with Václav Havel for the revue Kavárna A.F.F.A., no. 4/95


  • Daniela Drtinová – journalist, DVTV (Czech Republic)


  • Ondřej Liška – activist (Czech Republic)
  • Montserrat Feixas Vihe – UNHRC Regional Representative for Central Europe (Hungary)
  • Sebastien Touze – Institut international des droits de l´homme (France)
  • Aleksander Kaczorowski – author and editor in chief, Aspen Review Central Europe (Poland)


Closing remarks

  • Karel Schwarzenberg – member of Parliament (Czech Republic)

Power of the Powerless – samizdat essay

„Technology – that child of modern science, which in turn is a child of modern metaphysics – is out of humanity’s control, has ceased to serve us, has enslaved us and compelled us to participate in the preparation of our own destruction. And humanity can find no way out: we have no idea and no faith, and even less do we have a political conception to help us bring things back under human control. We look on helplessly as that coldly functioning machine we have created inevitably engulfs us, tearing us away from our natural affiliations (for instance, from our habitat in the widest sense of that word, including our habitat in the biosphere) just as it removes us from the experience of Being and casts us into the world of “existences”.“

Václav Havel:
Power of the Powerless – samizdat essay, October 1978

The unbearable lightness of evilVáclav Havel’s Prague