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Fall 2016, Issue II


FORUM 2000, Prague 2016

“The idea for the Forum 2000 Conference originated in 1997, when former Czech President Václav Havel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, and philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa invited world leaders to Prague to discuss the challenges humanity was facing on the threshold of a new millennium. Since then, Forum 2000 evolved into a successful and widely recognized conference series, where distinguished guests continue to address a diverse international community on topics ranging from religious dialogue to human rights and national security.

According to former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, “The best way to turn philosophy into action is to bring together the philosophers and actors as President Havel does at Forum 2000.” Over the years, Forum 2000 has also become a true Prague tradition, followed closely by the media, political, intellectual, and business elites, and the interested public.

Among the more than 700 personalities who have so far taken part in the Forum 2000 Conferences have been His Holiness the Dalai Lama (present this year) , Aung San Suu Kyi, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Elie Wiesel, Madeleine Albright, Mary Robinson, Rabbi Michael Melchior, José Ramos Horta, George Soros, Richard von Weizsäcker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Cooper, Vartan Gregorian, Prince Hassan bin Talal, Grigory Yavlinsky, Henry Kissinger, Zygmunt Bauman, and Boutros Boutros-Ghali.” (Forum 2000 Conferences; (2016) Nadace Forum 2000)

Every year, CIEE Prague, seizes the opportunity to promote the Conference to all its students and many professors include Forum 2000 in their course syllabus to assure that students benefit from participating in such an important event. Some of the participating professors and one student that volunteered for 2 days at the conference shared their experience:

„I took my classes to the concluding festive evening of Forum 2000 at Archa Theater featuring a play by Flemish writer Pieter De Buysser that dealt with the legacy of Václav Havel, the first Czechoslovak and Czech President after the Velvet Revolution.
CIEE students debated the play afterwards with numerous public figures and prominent intellectuals including Michael Žantovský, the director of Václav Havel Library,
Martin Palouš, ex-Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Czech Republic, and philantropist Karel Janeček.“


PhDr Pavla Jonsson PhD (Contemporary Czech Culture: Alternative Literature, Music, and Lifestyles class)  

 “A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to volunteer at Forum 2000 Conference. My job was to take notes on the panels and discussions, and create a report to summarize the sessions. The reports were short, but they need to be a comprehensive summary of the panel, and written in less than two hours after the panel. I was assigned to three panels- one on China and India, another on the current state of Cuba, and the final on the legacy of Vaclav Havel. For the panel on Cuba, a member of the panel was a former Cuban political prisoner, and many observers were also Cuban political prisoners, making the panel particularly poignant. What I enjoyed about Forum 2000, and what made the conference so interesting to report on was the constructive and intellectual dialogue about current affairs, whether it was foreign relations, democracy, or human rights. I learned so much from Forum 2000, whether it was from the panel or how to structure and write a good, short report. While I had a supervisor, I had the liberty to make my reports my own. I am proud to say that I worked for not only a prestigious organization, but an organization that is promoting constructive change through dialogue and intellectualism.”

Sarah Scott (Central European Studies student)

 “Forum 2000 offers a unique opportunity to meet former, current and future presidents. There are not many places around the globe where one can meet so many outstanding figures from many continents and cultures at once. I have attended this event since 1999 and I always draw inspiration from it from the rest of the year, until the next Forum. It is fascinating to see that Forum’s organizers have succeeded in upholding the high standard and excellence for so many years. This year I took my students to an intellectual exchange between Professor Zimbardo and Gary Kasparov. Some students also attended the lecture delivered by Jerzy Buzek, a former head of the European Parliament. This experience was particularly interesting as they could interact with a politician from the post-Soviet space who found himself in a high-ranking position in the EU.”


PhDr Petr Hedbavny


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