TWENTY YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
Reflections on Freedom and Democracy
13th ANNUAL CZECH AND SLOVAK FREEDOM LECTURE
MARTIN BÚTORA, Former Slovak Ambassador to the United States
Friday, November 16, 2012
12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
6th Floor Auditorium
Woodrow Wilson Center
Martin Bútora is presently an Honorary President of the Institute for Public Affairs and Program Director of ‘European Integration and Transatlantic Relations’ Program. In the past he has worked as a university teacher, diplomat, and was the ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States (1999-2003). Mr. Bútora is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts of the Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia, holding a degree in sociology. In the late sixties, he was active as an editor-in-chief of student newspapers “Echo bratislavských vysokoškolákov” [Echo of Bratislava’s University Students] and later as a deputy-chief editor of Reflex magazine and the weekly publication “Kultúrny život” [Cultural Life]. In November 1989, Mr. Bútora was one of the founders of the political movement Public Against Violence. In the spring of 1990, as a member of its Coordinating Committee (KC VPN) he took part in crafting the Movement’s election program – Chance for Slovakia. In the period 1990- 1992, he held the position of a Human Rights Advisor to the President of Czech and Slovak Federal Republic Václav Havel, and the post of Director of the Human Rights Section in the Office of the President. At the beginning of the nineties, he taught at Charles University in Prague (where he has held a position as Professor Habilis since 1992); later, he taught at the Department of Political Science, Trnava University (1993 – 1998). In 1997 he co-founded the Institute for Public Affairs and served as its first president. Mr. Bútora is the author of three monographs, several TV programs, and film scripts, as well as the translator of theatrical plays. In 1999, the National Endowment for Democracy based in Washington D.C. awarded him the Democracy Service Medal; in 2000 he received the Ján Papánek medal; and in 2002 the Celebration of Freedom Award by the American Jewish Committee. In the same year, he received the Order of Ludovít Štúr for his contribution to the defense of human rights and the development of civil society from the hands of the President of the Slovak Republic.
This lecture is made possible with the support of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the Friends of Slovakia and the American Friends of the Czech Republic.
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