VHLF & BBLA Annual Gala Celebrating Cultural Diplomacy

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Vaclav Havel Library Foundation & Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association Annual Gala Celebrating Cultural Diplomacy and Honoring Ambassador William Luers and Mrs. Wendy Luers and presenting the fifth annual Disturbing the Peace Award to a Courageous Writer at Risk took place online.

Despite the fact that we could not meet in person this year, we were happy to welcome special guests from New York City, Czech Republic and Cuba. Council Member Ben Kallos applauded the resilience of the city and its immigrants’ communities including the Czech one, and Stephen Heintz, the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, highlighted the vision and creativity of the U.S. cultural diplomacy in Central Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. We also heard from Vaclav Havel’s brother Ivan, writer Jachym Topol, musician Tony Ackerman, author and blogger Angel Santiesteban Prats, and many other amazing speakers.

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation would like to thank all relatives, friends, and colleagues of Vaclav Havel, current beneficiaries of our programs, and our partners, who all offered their time, memories, and ideas for the program. Our enormous gratitude extends to everyone who purchased tickets and auction items or provided generous donations. Special thanks go to the Vaclav Havel Library for providing the technical equipment, their premises, and archival resources for the interviews carried out in Prague during the summer of 2020.

We were delighted and encouraged by the speech of the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tomas Petricek, who stated: “I want to reassert the long-standing bond between Czechia and America. Ambassador William Luers and Mrs. Wendy Luers, honored this year, played an important role in that. Our bonds have been shaped by our deep-felt affections for freedom and human rights. We endeavor to jointly support those who experience the hardship we knew well, and who aspire for the same freedoms and rights that we Czechs had been denied for so long. Friends, let us continue this work together!”

Watch the Gala program on YouTube HERE

The Vaclav Havel Center