As the leader and conscience of Czechoslovakia’s “velvet revolution”, Vaclav Havel has become an inspiration to those throughout the world who share his values and ideals.
As a playwright, philosopher, political prisoner and human rights activist, Havel’s peaceful but persistent struggle for democratic society came to symbolize Eastern and Central Europe’s rebellion against repression. On New Year’s Day, 1990, President Havel addressed his nation with these words:
“People, your government has returned to you!”
In recognition of his courageous struggle in promoting democracy and human rights, NDI was proud to honor President Vaclav Havel as the recipient of the 1991 W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award and by extension, the millions of Eastern and Central Europeans who were inspired by his words and actions and who themselves continue the difficult struggle to build democratic societies.