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The Citizen

Civil Society - Civil Responsibility (1989 - 2011)

Without the background of civil society, political parties and supreme state institutions languish, lose their ardour, fresh people and ideas, eventually becoming dull and self-centred groups of political professionals who are almost happy with their own company.

Václav Havel, 1999

Lecture´s Summary

The objective of this lesson is to show the steps taken by Vaclav Havel in domestic politics after his election as President in 1989 and follow his efforts to build a civil society in the newly established democratic state. Students should learn about the concept of civil society and the rights and duties of each citizen. They will also learn why Vaclav Havel considered the role of citizens to be so important. Following the example of Vaclav Havel and the presenters, students will learn how they can get pro-actively involved in the building up of a civil society. They should understand that a citizen’s pro-active role in a democratic world is just as important as the role of political parties, and that everyone should fulfil their role as a citizen.

Lesson 6 - The Citizen


Aims of the Lecture

  • Understand the concepts of civil society and citizens’ responsibility
  • Imagine the atmosphere of the years immediately following 1989 as reflected by the emerging civil society
  • Understand that everyone may take a pro-active role in the world around them and start with small things in their immediate vicinity 

Support Materials

Photo Gallery


Timeline of the Lecture

1989 Velvet Revolution
1989 Václav Havel elected president of the new democratic Czechoslovakia (29. December 1989).
1990 Olga Havlova established the Committee of Good Will.
1992 Foundation of one of the biggest NGO in the Czech Republic - People in Need.
1993 The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia - the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1996 The Forum 2000 Foundation was founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of the Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and N
1998 Foundation of The Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation

All Lectures

Lesson The Young Man

The Young Man

Happy Childhood - Communist Coup - Harsh Fiftees - Golden Sixtees (1936 - 1968)

Lesson The Dissident

The Dissident

Invasion - Normalisation - Letter to Gustáv Husák - Dissent (1968 - 1976)  

Lesson The Political Prisoner

The Political Prisoner

The Plastic People Band - Charter 77 - Imprisonments (1976 - 1983)

Lesson The Revolution Leader

The Revolution Leader

Perestroika - Few Sentences - Velvet Revolution (1983 -1989)

Lesson The President

The President

Human Rights in the World - Human Rigts at Home (1989 - 2003) 

Lesson The Citizen

The Citizen

Civil Society - Civil Responsibility (1989 - 2011)

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