Václav Havel

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Václav Havel
The highlight of Havel's residency: a meeting between Havel, Bill Clinton, and PrezBo
See also Wikipedia's article about "Václav Havel".

Václav Havel, playwright and the ex-president of Czechoslovakia, spent 7 weeks in the Fall 2006 semester as Columbia's Artist in Residence. This primarily involved him giving mostly incomprehensible speeches in poor English, most notably a terribly garbled and underwhelming CC Coursewide Lecture.

Columbia completely milked his 7-week stay for all it was worth including:

  • Controversially, the first semester Lit Hum syllabus, which is traditionally limited to ancient Greek texts and the Bible, was altered that year to include one of Havel's plays, The Garden Party.
  • Littered the campus with havel water bottles[photo needed]
  • Gracing even the hapless maintenance workers toiling perpetually to fix the Wien water boiler with his presence [1]
  • CCNMTL Created an entire website, http://havel.columbia.edu/, including video of
    • His 'core' speech (be sure and read the feedback before Columbia erases it)
    • A set of interviews with Lou Reed-- that's right, Lou fucking Reed, secretly a Havel scholar apparently, and
    • Photos, his personal notebooks, and myriad other miscellany. Unbelievable, really.
  • Bill Clinton actually came to campus, a rare occurrence despite the fact his office is only a few blocks away in Harlem
Preceded by
Peter Brook
Artist in Residence 
Fall 2006
Succeeded by