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News > October Newsletter: From the President

October Newsletter: From the President

Joseph Balaz 01 October, 2018

Quite a remarkable crowd, quipped one of the distinguished guests who together with her husband of Czech lineage supported our Gala evening as part of the Rehearsal for Truth theater festival this past Thursday. I could not agree more. Among all those fascinating people that came to celebrate with us, we hosted two former Secretaries of State: Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger. Madam Albright was the key speaker and also the recipient of the first BBLA honorary award. Henry Kissinger came with Ambassador Craig Stapleton who happened to be one of nine Ambassadors attending the Gala.



Instead of name dropping which would take another page, I urge you to find out more about the festival, about the annual award for the writer at risk, about the performers at the gala as well as about the general activities of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation. I cannot thank enough the Director of the Foundation, Pavla Niklova, and the support team for their superb work. The evening was truly fabulous and to top it off, BBLA received a commemorative plaque from the City of New York, presented to us by City Councilman Mr. Ben Kallos.

Earlier in the day, together with Madam Albright, Professor Jan Svejnar and sculptor Marie Seborova, I was thrilled to unveil Havel’s bust at the Low Memorial Library Rotunda of Columbia University. Very soon the sculpture will adorn a newly completed building at Columbia’s campus. I want to thank Jan Svejnar for facilitating all of this, as Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance.  I also hope the former Consul General Martin Dvorak is happy that his long-time dream of dedicating a special place to Havel within the city has finally materialized.




There is simply not enough space here to share with you what took place but you can watch the Columbia dedication followed by Madeleine Albright’s speech and her interaction with students online. You will also be able to replay highlights of the Gala event by visiting the VHLF website in coming days.
The Bohemian National Hall is always ready to welcome you to our numerous events.


On behalf of our entire team,

Joseph Balaz
Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association



All photographs in this post are by Elizabeth Andrews.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General