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Havel at Columbia, Fall 2006

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Columbia's current crop of 21st century undergrads might be too young to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold Waróbut after spending seven weeks on campus with former Czech President and renowned playwright Václav Havel, they will be able to look back and remember the opportunity they had to learn about these monumental events from one of the 20th century's most inspirational figures himself.  As another, more familiar former president - Bill Clinton - told the audience of more than a thousand in Lerner Hall on November 15 when he shared the stage with his longtime friend, Havel's legacy of peaceful democratic regime change is matched only by two others in recent memory:  Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. 

The theme of this residency, sponsored by Columbia's Arts Initiative, was "citizenship and the arts" - how fortunate we have been to spend Fall 2006 with someone who challenges us to find the best of both in our daily lives.  As President Havel prepares to leave Columbia, we thank him for his time here on campus and offer a farewell look at a few of the highlights of his stay.

Published: Dec 15, 2006
Last modified: Nov 14, 2007