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Jan Sokol

On 5 October, the eightieth anniversary of President Václav Havel, he was remembered at home and abroad by thousands of people. At the Prague Crossroads, the deconsecrated Church of Saint Anna, for whose conservation and management the Foundation has cared for many years, the Foundation VIZE 97 Prize is awarded every year on this day. Celebrations of the President’s anniversary continue in the same spirit in which he had wanted it, in recognition of notable thinkers whose work goes beyond the traditional framework of scientific knowledge and contributes to the understanding of science as an integral part of general culture, and address in an unconventional manner fundamental questions of knowledge, being and human existence. This year’s laureate was Professor Jan Sokol, who received from the hands of Dagmar Havlová a traditional artefact, Saint Adalbert’s Crozier.

Before the formal presentation of the Prize a public debate was held at the Prague Crossroads with the laureate and other distinguished guests. Professor Jan Sokol debated at the Prague Crossroads filled to capacity with Professor Cyril Höschl, Reader Zdeňek Pinc, Reader Petr Pithart and Dr Jiří Tourek on the themes ‘Not Live Only for Oneself’ and ‘A Debt to Life’. At the close of the panel discussion the audience joined in with avid interest.

In the afternoon followed a glass of wine with the guests and a formal ceremony. The guide through the ceremony was Ms Táňa Fischerová, a long-time collaborator with the Foundation VIZE 97. Musical accompaniment was provided by Prague Student Orchestra, playing a symbolic number of eight harps, one for each decade of President Havel’s life.

The laudatio was given by Reader Zdeněk Pinc, followed by the laureate Jan Sokol. In his address he reflected on freedom and its limits, and the interrelation between freedom and safety being frequently discussed today in the content of the increased number of immigrants heading for Europe. If you are interested in texts by Jan Sokol, you can buy in e-shop the collection ‘Not Live Only for Oneself’ published on this occasion by the Foundation.

At the close of the formal award of the Foundation VIZE 97 Prize the Duo Goelan (Lenka Kozderková on flute and Lenka Župková on violin) played an original composition, The Sonnet as a Talisman. Then the guests went over to the reception.

The general partner of the formal award of the Foundation VIZE 97 Prize was the global investment group Pioneer Investments, with which Foundation VIZE 97 closely collaborates.

Photo © Alan Pajer

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