A New Leaf on the Aspen Tree

15. 3. 2017

When on May 17, 1989 a visiting TIME magazine correspondent and a Prague correspondent for REUTERS together watched Alexander Dubček congratulate Václav Havel on being released from jail earlier that day, little did we know that in six months the Iron Curtain will be no more and that in eight months Havel would be the president of Czechoslovakia. Even less did we know that in twenty three years we will be joining forces along with many wonderful friends on both sides of the Atlantic to launch the Aspen Institute Prague as a Central European focuspoint for fostering value-based leadership, reflection on the ideals and ideas that define a good society and a neutral and balanced debate of critical issues.

It could be said that history has led Walter Isaacson and me to this point just as it led us to Havel’s riverside apartment that evening. It was thanks to the leadership of Europeans like Václav Havel and Lech Wałeşa and Americans like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton that the value-based partnership between the United States and the countries of Central Europe took roots and flourished in the aftermath of the Cold War. The idea, long in gestation, of a non-partisan Central European institution with American links, which would be dedicated to promoting these values and conducting a dialogue, both Central European and trans-Atlantic, on the burning issues of our time, followed naturally.

It would, however, remain just that were it not for the invaluable support of a number of people in the Aspen family, members of its board of trustees and its international committee, including Americans with Central European roots like Madeleine Albright, Leonard Lauder and Fred Malek. Equally, it could not take off without the pioneering efforts of Tomáš Klvaňa, Radek Špicar and our brilliant young team, the generosity of our sponsors, and the willingness of several important and insanely busy personages to sit on our board.

This first issue of our Aspen Review, a genuine joint Central European endeavor, published in English, Polish and Czech, is a fitting starting point of the Institute’s activities. Its international make-up speaks of our ambition to become, in cooperation with our partner institutes in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain, an active and useful member of the global Aspen community.

Michael Žantovský

Michael Žantovský is the Honorary Board Chairman of the Aspen Institute Central Europe.

Share this on social media

Support Aspen Institute

The support of our corporate partners, individual members and donors is critical to sustaining our work. We encourage you to join us at our roundtable discussions, forums, symposia, and special event dinners.

These web pages use cookies to provide their services. You get more information about the cookies after clicking on the button “Detailed setting”. You can set the cookies which we will be able to use, or you can give us your consent to use all the cookies by clicking on the button “Allow all”. You can change the setting of cookies at any time in the footer of our web pages.
Cookies are small files saved in your terminal equipment, into which certain settings and data are saved, which you exchange with our pages by means of your browser. The contents of these files are shared between your browser and our servers or the servers of our partners. We need some of the cookies so that our web page could function properly, we need others for analytical and marketing purposes.