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Havel to deliver Ralston lecture, hold news conference
STANFORD -- President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic will deliver Stanford Law School's Jackson H. Ralston Lecture at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at Frost Amphitheater on the Stanford campus.
Tickets to the lecture are available at no charge starting Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the ticket office in Tresidder Memorial Union. The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Faculty, staff, students and community members can pick up two tickets per person.
Havel, a playwright whose award-winning works were deemed subversive and banned by the Communist government of his native Czechoslovakia, was elected president of the Czech Republic in January 1993.
Havel began his political life in protest of government censorship of artistic expression. As a consequence of his involvement in organized demonstrations for democracy, Havel was arrested more than half a dozen times and spent years in prison.
His leadership role in the so-called "Velvet Revolution" of November 1989 led to Havel's election the following month as interim president of a newly formed Czecho-Slovak Republic. Parliamentary maneuvers blocked his 1992 re-election bid.
Although he opposed his country's division into two independent nations, Havel became president of the new Czech Republic when the split occurred in 1993.
An internationally recognized champion of democracy, Havel said his main goals as president are to promote political stability, human rights and the "moral dimension" in government.
The Jackson H. Ralston Prize and Professorship was established at the Stanford Law School in 1972 in recognition of original and distinguished contributions to the development of the role of law in international relations, including arbitration, diplomacy, international organization and other steps toward peaceful settlement of disputes.
The dean of the law school nominates recipients to a selection panel that includes the president of Stanford University, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court and the secretary general of the United Nations.
Paul Brest, dean of the law school, said the committee selected Havel for "his long and courageous struggle for human rights in central Europe and the inspiration of his humanity and tolerance in the difficult years of transition in the Czech Republic."
Recipients of the Ralston Prize, established in 1972 by Opal V. Ralston in honor of her late husband, are awarded cash grants and deliver lectures in their role as Jackson H. Ralston Professor at Stanford Law School. Previous recipients include former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada, former President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ambassador Tommy T. B. Koh of Singapore and Olof Palme, former and subsequent prime minister of Sweden.
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