Discussion to Commemorate Breakfast Meeting between President Mitterrand and Czechoslovak Dissidents.

The Forum 2000 Foundation, in cooperation with the Embassy of France in Prague, is organizing a breakfast event to commemorate and discuss the 25th anniversary of the meeting between French President François Mitterrand and eight Czechoslovak dissidents.

The original breakfast meeting took place on December 9, 1988, in the Buquoy Palace – the residence of the Embassy of France in Prague – and among the present dissidents were Václav Havel, Jiří Dienstbier or Václav Malý. The meeting indicated a de facto official recognition of Czechoslovak dissent by a Western democracy and hence gave dissidents further impetus to challenge the rigid political structures of the Czechoslovak state. By holding a discussion with the leaders of the informal opposition, Mitterrand also sent a strong political message to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which was already facing increasing domestic and international pressure. The breakfast meeting hosted by President Mitterrand later became an important symbol of Western support for the cause of democratic transition in Czechoslovakia.

The commemorative breakfast event will again take place on the premises of the Embassy of France in Prague, on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. The guests of the breakfast will include a number of original participants, historians, academics and diplomats. The debate will focus not only on the legacy of the meeting between François Mitterrand and the Czechoslovak dissidents, but also on the significance of similar acts in contemporary diplomacy.

More information about the discussion can be found on the Forum 2000 website.