"We are thrilled to have the distinction of stewarding a prize that will celebrate those who engage in creative dissent, exhibiting courage and creativity to challenge injustice and live in truth. We cannot think of a more fitting way to acclaim the legacy of Václav Havel than to honor those who follow in his footsteps," said HRF president Thor Halvorssen.
A prolific writer and leading revolutionary figure, Havel bravely satirized the communist system. His plays brought worldwide attention to the plight of the millions living under Soviet domination. An architect of the Charter 77 human rights movement, Havel defied surveillance, arrests, and imprisonment to spearhead the Velvet Revolution of 1989, peacefully overturning his country's authoritarian regime.
Havel was the first democratically-elected president of Czechoslovakia and, later, of the Czech Republic. After leaving the presidency in 2003, he remained a human rights icon until his passing on December 18, 2011. Havel was chairman of HRF's Board of Directors and International Council, where he guided HRF's vision and contributed vitally to our work.
"HRF has assembled a prize committee and will conclude the selection process shortly. We will announce the inaugural Havel Prize Laureates on May 1, and the prize ceremony will follow one week later, on May 9, 2012," said Halvorssen.