Havel at Columbia


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At the invitation of President Bollinger, Václav Havel arrived at Columbia University October 26th 2006 for a seven-week residency featuring lectures, interviews, conversations, classes, performances, and panels centered on his life and ideas. The visit was organized by the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.

As an artist, thinker, essayist, human rights leader and transformational political leader, Václav Havel is one of the most significant cultural and political figures of our time. In November 1989, following nearly 20 years of incarceration or virtual house arrest, during which his plays were banned by the Czechoslovak Communist regime, he was living in internal exile outside Prague. On December 29, he was elected president of a united and democratic Czechoslovakia. For the next twelve years, Havel served as president, first of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic. His residency at Columbia will be his first extended stay in New York since stepping down from office in early 2003.

To accompany Havel’s visit, the Arts Initiative and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) present this online resource. It contains a wide range of teaching and learning materials for classroom study of his life and art both during and beyond Havel's residency. If you are interested in more information about the residency or ways this site can be used in the classroom, please send an e-mail to