Shared Concern Initiative’s Statement on Václav Havel´s Legacy

Members of the Shared Concern Initiative dedicated their latest statement to Václav Havel, co-founder of the Forum 2000 Foundation, as well as the Shared Concern Initiative. The statement was inspired by his life, and his achievements which changed the world we live in.

The death of Václav Havel, the former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, has been marked with mourning around the world. For his friends, the loss is overwhelming, but we all take comfort from the fact that his courage and his ideas helped to change our world for the better, and are still continuing to do so.”

In 1997, Havel co-created the highly successful and widely recognized series of international Forum 2000 conferences where distinguished guests address topics ranging from the state of democracy, rule of law and human rights to interfaith dialogue and environmental sustainability. He also helped to establish the Shared Concern Initiative, an open and informal group of representatives of various cultures, historical backgrounds, religions, and traditions who issue joint-statements addressing the most important problems and challenges of today’s world with the view to promote principles of good governance, respect for human rights, and tolerance.

Members of the Shared Concern Initiative pledge to carry on Havel’s work as the worthiest possible memorial to his life and friendship. The new statement focuses on the main points of Václav Havel´s legacy and appeals to all of us to implement Havel´s ideas in our complicated globalized world.

Perhaps this is the key legacy that Havel has left our world: an active global conscience. Each of us is responsible for our civilization; we cannot turn our backs and avert our eyes when freedom is stifled. Because we all enjoy the benefits of globalization, Havel taught us, we must all also strive to make this world a freer, safer, more just, more environmentally sustainable, and more democratic place for everyone.”

The statement was signed by all active members of the Shared Concern Initiative: H.R.H. El Hassan bin Talal, H.H. the Dalai Lama, Frederik Willem de Klerk, André Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, Hans Küng, Michael Novak, Yohei Sasakawa, Karel Schwarzenberg, Desmond Tutu, Richard von Weizsäcker, and Grigory Yavlinsky.

The statement has been released to selected world media and its full text will be available on the Forum 2000 website at from February 20, 2012. More information about the Initiative can be found here.