This year’s conference within the Václav Havel European Dialogues series took place on 10 and 12 May at three universities in three cities – Pilsen, Prague and Brno. The Václav Havel Library dedicated the ninth edition of the dialogues to the central theme of Václav Havel’s thought – Truth and Democracy.
Among invited speakers were leading domestic and European personalities of political, academic and cultural life. The invitation was accepted by, for example, Belarusian politician and activist Svyatlana Cichanouska (pictured above), British expert on disinformation research Peter Pomerantsev, MEP Eva Jourová, Minister for European Affairs Mikuláš Bek, Minister of Culture Martin Baxa, priest, theologian and ethicist Marek Orko Vácha, journalists Pavla Holcová and Ondřej Kundra and many other interesting speakers.
“Václav Havel understood truth not as something revealed or immutable, nor as the truth of ideology or world opinion, but as a continuous and meaningful pursuit of a true, authentic life in harmony with the people and world around us.” Václav Havel Library
Never in history has so much information spread in such a short time among so many people. But it still feels like getting to the truth has never been so difficult. Alongside factual information, there is a vast amount of inaccuracies, false information, myths and deliberate untruths out there.
For many people, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what is true or likely from what is false and untrue. And, especially in the midst of the current crisis, in which the war attack on Ukraine is being completely misrepresented by Russia as an official special operation, efforts to maintain contact with the truth are crucial to the integrity of democratic decision-making, citizens’ trust in democratic institutions, the defence of the free world and the value anchoring of the rising generations.
Václav Havel European Dialogues is an international project that aims to initiate and stimulate a discussion about issues determining the direction of contemporary Europe while referring to the European spiritual legacy of Václav Havel. The project is conceived as long-term and takes place in cooperation with partners in various cities in the Czech Republic and the European Union. The meetings take the form of a debate and are targeted primarily at secondary and third-level students, as well as experts and members of the public interested in European affairs.