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Vaclav Havel's story is inspiration for generations

December 19, 2011 by Amanda Schnetzer

Vaclav Havel left behind an incredible legacy. A playwright and politician, he led the way for democracy in his native Czechoslovakia, becoming the first President of the country after the fall of Communism. On April 13, 2010, he shared his story with the Bush Center in an interview that will become part of the Freedom Collection, a permanent archive documenting the personal stories of men and women who have led or participated in important freedom movements. From his office in Prague, he spoke with former U.S. Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky about the horrors of communist rule and the difficult transition to democracy. His story has struggles, including over four years spent imprisoned by the communist regime; and triumphs, when he saw communism fall in a matter of weeks in his country. In this clip from the interview, President Havel describes the great challenges faced by members of his movement and their motivation for continuing the struggle against communism. To understand Havel’s moral fight for freedom and democracy for the Czech people is to know the fight of freedom advocates around the world. His Freedom Collection interview gives insight not only into the Cold War and the fight for democracy in Eastern Europe, but also into the universal struggle for freedom and human rights. It is important to honor the passing of such a great man and ensure that his story continues to provide inspiration and insight to today’s generation of freedom advocates.


Author

Amanda Schnetzer
Amanda Schnetzer

Amanda Schnetzer serves as Fellow, Global Initiatives at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas.

Previously, Amanda served as Director Global Initiatives after serving as founding director of the Human Freedom Initiative. In this role, she was responsible for developing innovative research, programmatic, and policy efforts to advance societies rooted in political and economic freedom and to empower women to lead in their communities and countries.

Amanda has twenty years of experience in the international arena and a background in public policy research and analysis, public affairs, and management of diverse, high-level stakeholders. As senior fellow and director of studies at Freedom House in New York, Amanda guided research for the organization’s definitive studies of freedom. She began her career at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, supporting research on U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Amanda is a published writer and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds degrees from Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

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