This Year, Forum 2000 Is Focusing on Social Transformation and Havel’s Global Minimum

The 17th annual Forum 2000 Conference takes place this year in Prague on September 15–17. Confirmed guests include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and notable British journalist Edward Lucas.

The main theme of this year’s conference will be the problems and consequences of social transformations, i.e. various aspects of ongoing changes in today’s world. “Delegates will look at the role of law, political parties, conflicts between nations, and global interests or religious and cultural contexts, whose influence is evident in the Middle East, for example,” says the Forum 2000 Foundation’s Executive Director Jakub Klepal. “We want to devote more attention to China than in previous years, and to think about the relationships between economic growth, the emancipation of the middle classes, and the opening of the public space.”

Within the scope of examining social transformations, special attention will be devoted to the issue of corruption and its influence on the administration of public affairs and economic development. Both the different perceptions of this phenomenon in various cultures and the inability of new elites to effectively confront it will comprise the subject of debates. This phenomenon manifests itself in most transformational societies from Central Europe to the Middle East.

The conference will also continue developing the legacy of the founder of the Forum 2000 Foundation Václav Havel. “After last year’s panel debates dedicated to Havel’s emphasis on the development of civil society and the close relationship between the media and democracy, we are focusing on his call to find and promote a worldwide moral and spiritual minimum that is common to all spheres of civilization, cultures, and religions, which would provide the basis for the rules and norms of coexistence between all nations, minorities, and the transnational community in the global world,” says Ivo Šilhavý, a member of the Forum 2000 Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Besides His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel and Edward Lucas confirmed guests also include such luminaries as the former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gareth Evans, the well-known British philosopher Roger Scruton, the Israeli political scientist Shlomo Avineri, the American professor of theology Doris Donnelly, the head of the Danish media corporation JP Politikens Jørgen Ejbøl and former Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz.

After the success of last year’s event, which attracted almost 4,000 interested members of the public in Prague, Pilsen, Ostrava, and Bratislava, negotiations are currently under way to possibly extend the conference to Budapest, Krakow, and Vienna as well. As is traditional, the conference will be open to the public and free of charge. A large part of the program will be broadcast live on the website To attend most discussions, it is necessary to register beforehand. The registration of observers will commence on June 1, 2013.

You can find more information about the conference here.