Czech Radio Plus to organise international conference Europe without the Iron Curtain: 30 Years of Freedom

Václav Havel

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, Czech Radio is organising a conference featuring talks by experts and figures who took active part in the events of that November. Presenting to the audience will for example be former Polish president and Noble Peace Prize laureate Lech Wałęsa or a Charter 77 signatory and current chair of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský. The conference takes place 11 November at the National Museum New Building.

The goal of the conference is to support professional discussion and reach the general public, in particular younger audiences who do not have personal experiences from the fall of the communist regime. "As a public service media with a more than ninety-five-year history, Czech Radio considers it its duty to promote the principles of freedom and democracy. For this reason we are organising a unique international conference to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The programme has been designed so as to not only speak to the audience in the New Building of the National Museum, but also to listeners of Czech Radio stations," said Czech Radio Director General René Zavoral. The conference will be broadcast live by the station Czech Radio Plus, with the iROZHLAS.cz news server providing an online report.

Also appearing at the conference will be former diplomat and Slovak presidential candidate Magda Vášáryová, diplomat Michael Žantovský, US political scientist and author of the book The People vs. Democracy Yascha Mounk, Cardiff University professor Jiří Přibáň, political science professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, co-founder of the Fidesz party and MEP Tamás Deutsch, political scientist Jacques Rupnik, historian and Editor-in-Chief of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza Adam Michnik and other speakers, who will address the context of the events of 1989, the following 30 years in the countries of Central Europe and the state of democracy at the start of the 21st century.

"The conference will also present the main findings of a unique sociological study commissioned by Czech Radio, Divided by Freedom," Editor-in-Chief of Czech Radio Plus Petr Sabata added.

On the day of the conference, a Czech Radio sound installation entitled The Steps of Time will also be unveiled between the National Museum's Historic Building and New Building. It presents visitors with thirty years of freedom in audio memory via archive recordings from Czech Radio, selected statements from Czech major figures, and an overview of the most interesting events of years past. The installation will be open to the general public until 24 November 2019.

More information on the conference can be found on special website in Czech or in English.