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Havel at Columbia Site Released to Support Václav Havel's Residency

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October 26, 2006. The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, in partnership with the Columbia University Arts Initiative, has released the Havel at Columbia site, a resource to support former Czech President Václav Havel's seven-week residency on campus.

As an artist, thinker, essayist, human rights leader and transformational political leader, Václav Havel is one of the most significant cultural and political figures of our time. On December 29, 1989 he was elected president of a united and democratic Czechoslovakia. His residency at Columbia will be his first extended stay in New York since stepping down from office in early 2003. While he is on campus, the University community will pay tribute to his life and ideas with a number of lectures, symposia, screenings, and panel discussions.

The Havel at Columbia site contains a wide range of teaching and learning materials for classroom study of Havel's life and art, and will continue to grow throughout the semester as events and materials are added. The multimedia resource features video interviews with scholars, artists, and political figures contributing their insights on Václav Havel's legacy as an artist and political leader, including Dean Lisa Anderson from the School of International and Public Affairs, former President George H. W. Bush, Edward Albee, Milos Forman, Lou Reed, and George Soros. A timeline of events, an image glossary with photographs and primary documents, and archival footage from television and films provide historical context for the Velvet Revolution and Havel's presidency, making the site a rich educational resource both during and beyond his campus residency. The site will eventually feature video recordings of the many lectures, performances, and presentations that will take place through December. These will be available to view online and downloadable as podcasts.

Courses that will be using the Havel at Columbia site this fall include an undergraduate seminar History, Literature, Film and Dissent in Eastern European Culture by Brad Abrams and Christopher Harwood and a multidisciplinary course at Barnard co-taught by Cathy Nepomnyashchy with theater lecturer Amy Trompetter that includes a study and performance of Havel's play The Beggar's Opera. Anne Bogart will focus on the political theater of Clifford Odets and Havel in her graduate MFA course Directing III. In addition, Literature Humanities students will study Havel's play The Garden Party, Havel will deliver a lecture to the Core Curriculum's Contemporary Civilization course, for which students will read Havel's essay "Dear Dr. Husk."

To allow instructors to create a more customized experience of the site for their courses, CCNMTL has introduced a new feature called the Havel Notebook. Any Columbia University faculty member or student with a UNI can log in to the notebook to organize their own resources from the site by saving and annotating text, images, and links to a personalized page, or "notebook." Developed in coordination with faculty partners from the Harriman Institute, School of the Arts, and Barnard College, these notebooks can be shared with others, making them especially useful for classes that are using the Havel at Columbia site as a resource.

Download the press release (PDF)

Havel at Columbia

Related news:
Dec-19-2011: Remembering Havel
Dec-01-2009: Open Culture Features Havel at Columbia
Dec-08-2006: Havel at Columbia Podcasts Featured on iTunes
Nov-13-2006: CCNMTL's Work on Havel Site Featured on Columbia Home Page
Oct-26-2006: Press Release: Havel at Columbia Site Released