The University has its own Havel's Place. Come to sit and debate

Since Friday, November 13, the campus boasts a symbol of dialogue and understanding. In the middle of the atrium of the new teaching facility, Havel's Place was officially opened to the public.
The opening ceremony was started by the University Choir by singing the famous song "Perfect Day"
Foto: A. Zeiner

The memorial site of the first post-November President - Havel's Place is located in the atrium of the new teaching facility in the southern part of the campus of the University in Polabiny, which was inaugurated on Friday.

It comprises two chairs connected to a round table with a Lime tree growing through it. The author of the place, professor Bořek Šípek, commented on his design of two benches with a table and a Lime tree in its middle for Czech Radio Pardubice: "On a bench, people sit next to each other and stare into the distance, and the reason was that I wanted them to look into each other's eyes, so the chairs are built against each other like that and the table is there to make the debate pleasant, to provide a place for a glass of wine."

Havel's Place was created in collaboration with the Library of Václav Havel and the courtesy of the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97. The place was designed and fabricated for the University by prof. Borek Šípek's studio.

A place in the heart of the university campus

The opening ceremony was started by the University Choir by singing the famous song "Perfect Day" written by Havel's friend Lou Reed, which was indeed perfect to open the small ceremony in a clear and sunny weather. Actor Alois Švehlík read a passage from Havel's book "Summer Reflections" and the band Vypsaná fixa played a song by the Rolling Stones, a legendary band, to which Havel had a close relationship.

Ms. Anna Freimanová, a Havel's colleague, of the Václav Havel Library, also spoke during a short ceremony and inscribed in the memorial book of the University of Pardubice: "We wish students and their professors a rich, deep as well as fierce debates. Good luck."

The opening ceremony was attended by the author of the Place prof. Borek Šípek, who explained the symbolism of a red heart and a green snail placed on top of the Place: "Václav Havel always carried two pens, one green and one red. He wrote his name Václav Havel always in green, and therefore there is the snail - a symbol of the signature. And he always drew a red heart under the green signature. So there is a complete signature of Václav Havel on this bench." Later on, he wrote in our commemorative book: "If only Václav Havel was present here forever ----." The whole event was moderated by Jolana Voldanová.

Vaclav Havel was also remembered in the documentary Our Vašek

The programme related to the personality of Václav Havel continued after lunch with a screening of the Czech-Polish co-production film OUR VAŠEK – on The Power of the Powerless, with the participation of the director herself Krystyna Krauze. The documentary acquainted the audience with our neighbours' relation to Václav Havel, who was perceived in Poland as a significant and symbolic personality. It unveiled to the audience less known relations between the Polish and Czech opposition in the days of the Iron Curtain, bringing a unique testimony to the meetings and actions that were instrumental in destroying the totalitarian regimes in Europe. After the screening, Krystyna Krauze, the director of the film, contributed a few funny details from behind the scenes as well as from her friendship with Václav Havel.

The unveiling of Havel's Place was part of a ceremonial programme to commemorate the events of November 1989, which have been celebrated at the University of Pardubice since 1997.

The installation of Havel's Places is a global project, initiated by the Czech Ambassador to the US Petr Gandalovič together with the architect and designer Bořek Šípek. The intention of this project, coordinated and sponsored by Václav Havel Library, is to create a network of places in the public space where people can meet and conduct a genuine dialogue - places where people can discuss and think in the spirit of Vaclav Havel's ideals and views of life.

Ing. Valerie Wagnerová
University of Pardubice Spokeswoman