“I love the Forum and I hate the Forum. I love it because it is one place where I can just listen and learn, and hate it because it is always over and then the listening stops."
James Zogby, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute, 2007

Press Release - 12th Forum 2000 Conference On “Openness and Fundamentalism in the 21st Century”

Praha, 2nd September 2008

Held traditionally under the auspices of Václav Havel, the twelfth annual Forum 2000 Conference will take place in Prague on October 12-14, 2008. This year’s theme is ‘Openness and Fundamentalism in 21st Century: Between Traditions and Modernity’. “Every year we think thoroughly about what the main theme of the Forum 2000 Conference will be. This year’s theme reflects a phenomenon that on the one hand is characteristic of human evolution, but on the other hand, from the current point of view, is coming to the forefront more and more than ever before,” explains Václav Havel.

Attended by a number of prominent delegates from around the world – former and current heads of government, leading religious, spiritual, and cultural personalities, directors of international institutions, famous writers and thinkers, media representatives, managers of multinational companies, analysts and diplomats – the Conference is expected to welcome up to 3,000 observers and visitors – scientists, students, government officials, Czech and Central European business representatives, politicians, media companies and the interested public. “One of the added values the Forum 2000 Conferences can be proud of is that the organisers do not keep the interesting Conference guests to themselves, but on the contrary, try to introduce them to as many people as possible, organising discussions, lectures, and debates at universities, public libraries and other places with them. Last year, a series of nineteen events took place all over Prague; this year it will be more or less the same,” says Oldřich Černý, Executive Director of the Forum 2000 Foundation.

Delegates who have already confirmed their attendance include: His Holiness Dalai Lama; Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg; French philosopher André Glucksmann; US religionist Doris Donnelly; journalist, Czech TV reporter in China and former CNN war correspondent Tomáš Etzler; former President of Mexico Vicente Fox; former Prime Minister of Catalonia and leader of the Catalan nationalist party Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Artur Mas i Gavarró; British journalist and specialist on Southeastern Europe Misha Glenny; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Kinga Göncz; former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel; Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade Nataša Kandić; Russian opposition politician and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov; Egyptian researcher and journalist Yasser Khalil; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia Ján Kubiš; Head of the Belarusian Committee for Support of Political Victims Inna Kuley; Life President of Bovis Lend Lease Frank Lampl; Venezuelan politician and Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez; former Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon; former Polish Dissident and Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza daily Adam Michnik; Leader of the United Democratic Opposition in Belarus Alexander Milinkevich; former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization Mike Moore; Russian journalist, former dissident and human rights activist Alexandr Podrabinek; Political Psychologist and Sociologist of Science from India Ashis Nandy; former President of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga Ramírez; Member of Indian Parliament Karan Singh; Senator from Chile Jorge Pizarro Soto; Zimbabwean opposition leader Trudy Stevenson; Czech-American economist and Professor of Economics at University of Michigan Jan Švejnar; former President of the World Bank Paul Wolfowitz; French Secretary of State in charge of foreign affairs and human rights Rama Yade; Senior Adviser to King Mohammed VI of Morocco Andre Azoulay; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Władysław Bartoszewski; and President of the Arab American Institute James Zogby.

The opening ceremony will be held on October 12 in the hall of Prague Crossroads, an international spiritual and cultural centre in St. Anne’s Church in Old Town. On October 13-14, the Conference discussions and debates will be divided into thematic blocks (panels) and round tables accompanied by a series of events. “Last year I heard that the Forum is too big and diverse, that the Conference is divided into a great number of interesting – and often simultaneously held – discussions that one cannot attend all. I am afraid this year will be no exception. After twelve years of existence Forum 2000 has turned into a great European conference with everything that comes with it, including the diversity as well,” says Oldřich Černý, Executive Director of the Forum 2000 Foundation.

Taking place in the Žofín Palace, the main part of the Conference will be divided into the following panel discussions:

  • Faiths and Fanaticisms
  • The Powerful and the Powerless
  • Modernity without Democracy
  • Plurality of Cultures and Democracy: Easy/Uneasy Relationships”

 

The Conference business and economy round tables will focus on:
“Emergence of New Economic Powers and Its Impact on the Traditional Western Economies”, “Oh, When We Still Made Things ...: What Will Be the Economic Future of Europe and North America?” and “Internationalization of Czech Companies: Challenges and Opportunities”.

Interfaith Meditation

The second day of the Conference (October 14) will be dedicated to Interfaith Dialogue – a discussion between prominent philosophers and representatives of various faiths – concluded traditionally with an open-to-the-public Interfaith Meditation in the Church of St. Saviour at Křižovnické náměstí in Prague. “Once I came up with an idea to form some “large spiritual coalition” that would encourage co-operation of the world religions and their struggle for respecting human lives and nature, and developing the right attitude for the future. I am happy to see such a small spiritual coalition emerge every year - an interconnection of people of good will sharing the basic ethical values,” says Václav Havel.

Accompanying Events

Hosted at the Žofín Palace, Laterna Magika, Goethe Institute and other places in Prague, the Conference will be accompanied by a series of events, panel discussions, round tables, seminars and workshops on topics ranging from democracy and human rights in different parts of the world (Myanmar, Belarus, Russian, Cuba, Venezuela) and the future of European integration of economy and trade. “Another topic that is often discussed here – and this year will be no exception due to the anniversary of the world events of 1968 – is the issue of human rights. I am pleased that the depth of the debates and discussions taking place within Forum 2000 show that this term is not taken in vain but has a clear notion behind it for everybody to be constantly reminded of. I believe that human rights, human responsibility, moral order and our conscience are probably the most important political issues of our days affecting our deeds,” explains Václav Havel.

For more information, please visit: www.forum2000.cz

The conference is open to the public and free of charge. If you wish to participate in the conference as an observer, please contact us at registration@forum2000.cz.
Accreditation for journalists

Accreditation form for journalists at www.forum2000.cz - http://www.forum2000.cz/en/about-us/for-media/accreditation/

2008

Supported by

International Visegrad Fund

 

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