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The special event at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. commemorated the 30th anniversary of Havel's address to the U.S. congress.


Václav Havel’s unforgettable message which he delivered to the members of the United State Congress on February 21, 1989, only 2 months after he was elected the first Czechoslovak president was heard once again at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The event marking 30th anniversary of the legendary speech took place on Tuesday, February 18. This time, Havel was speaking to the audiences from the screen. The excerpts from the historic address were played as well as preview of the new documentary “Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?”, which was filmed in the last three years of Havel’s life by the director Petr Jančárek.

The former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright mentioned how she helped Havel, the inexperienced speaker, to prepare for his address, which at the end surprised all the present politicians by its kindness and strength as well as humbleness and humour - honoring him with standing ovations. As the speakers of the event confirmed, including Havel's close friend the American singer Joan Baez, Havel’s words are valid today as much as they were 30 years ago.

The event was co-sponsored by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., Václav Havel Library Foundation, Czech Centres, American Friends of the Czech Republic, Florida International University (FIU) – Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Endorfilm, and Michael Kocab Foundation.

Photo credit: Roman Franc