Bohumil Mazanek, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Lithuania visited VU on Tuesday. During the meeting with the VU Acting Rector professor Jūras Banys the initiative to commemorate the Czech President Václav Havel-the famous Czech essayist, philosopher, dissident, fighter for human rights and peace, has been launched. VU territory will be decorated by the installation "Democratic Bench".
"Havel's influence on the democratic processes of release from the socialist system has been overwhelming. He was an honorary doctor of Vilnius University and had a number of good like-minded friends at our University. It is in his core beliefs that we feel a deep resonance with Václav Havel's life and this is why it is both a privilege and obligation for us to commemorate Václav Havel", professor Jūras Banys stated during the meeting.
Installation, also known as the "democratic bench" is a place for talk, comprising a Czech national Linden tree surrounded by a round table with a seating area. It symbolizes the continuation of the dialogue and fosters Havel's ideals on the importance of freedom – freedom of thought, freedom of expression, the freedom to engage in political discourse and the free exchange of ideas.
Havel's first memorial was installed at Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 2013, and the first installation in Europe – during the Human Rights Day (10 December) at St. Patrick Park in Dublin. This memorial was initiated by Peter Gandalovič, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the US and a prominent Czech architect and designer Borek Šípek. The project is coordinated by the Václav Havel Library.
This installation will be the first not only in Lithuania, but also in Eastern Europe.