The Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation presents the panel discussion "The Enduring Significance of Charter 77 " on the occasion of its 40th anniversary with special guests Martin Palouš, James F. Pontuso, F. Flagg Taylor, IV, and Marianne Canavaggio Silvéréano.
The Czech Republic’s successful transition from communism to democracy would have been impossible without the committed activists who provided a consistent and courageous voice in favor of political and intellectual freedom and civic engagement. Speaking up in favor of truth and justice represents a radical threat to a state that seeks ideological control over the lives of all its citizens. This is why Charter 77, a short manifesto with a few thousand signatories, had such an explosive impact within the Eastern Bloc. Not only did many members and signatories of Charter 77 go on to play important roles in Czech and Slovak national life, the manifesto has also served as an inspiration to democratic dissidents from China to Cuba. This panel will explore the enduring significance of Charter 77 for the partisans of human freedom.