A Night Out With Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Havel & Natan Sharansky
The Democracy and Security Conference in Prague, Czech Republic opened tonight with a reception at the Lord Mayor’s Residence.
Left to Right: Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Havel and Natan Sharansky the organizers of the conference.
The Democracy and Security Conference is a joint initiative of three long-time champions of human rights and democracy: human rights activist, author, political leader and founding Chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, Natan Sharansky; former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, leader of the “Velvet Revolution”; and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
Here is an introduction to the conference:
The conference agenda is designed to explore the proposition that there exists a direct linkage between the promotion of democracy and the strengthening of security. The policy focus of the conference aims to examine this linkage delineated in recent statements and publications by Natan Sharansky (The Case for Democracy) and Jose M. Aznar. The connection between human rights and political relations became a guiding principle for the Helsinki Process and a central theme in the writings of Václav Havel, Natan Sharansky and other freedom fighters. The Helsinki process helped set the stage for the end of the Cold War and has become a subject of intense historic scrutiny and discussion.
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar welcomed the attendees to the conference in Prague.
Former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel welcomed the guests and offered remarks.
Activist, Author and Former Israeli Minister Natan Sharansky offered a few thoughts on the conference that begins tomorrow.
Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Havel and Natan Sharansky offered opening remarks tonight at the Lord Mayor’s Residence in downtown Praque.
Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) gave keynote remarks.
Premsyl Sobatka the President of the Senate of the Czech Republic will give the welcome. Alexandr Vondra, the Deputy Prime Minister of European Affairs of the Czech Republic will give introductions.
There were a number of notable freedom and democracy dissidents and activists in the crowd tonight.
Here are a few pictures from the gathering.
The lovely Zainab Al-Suwaij, the Co-founder and Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress.
Mrs. Al-Suwaij, a hative of Basra, is a survivor of the failed 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein. She is one of the few Iraqi women delegates to attend the historic conferences in Iraq on her country’s future.
Jose Brechner is a former Bolivian Congressman and Ambassador (1985-1989), and a founding member of Accion Democratica Nacionalista. He was nominated as the “Best Congressman” by all the Bolivian media. He does not currently live in Bolivia out of concerns for his safety.
Allen Roth(L) of One Jerusalem and his wife Mary celebrated their anniversary and spoke with Sudanese dissident Mudawi Ibrahim Adam . Mudawi is the founder and Chairman of the Sudan Social Development Organization. Dr. Mudawi was detained by the Sudanese regime after exposing the government’s role in massive violations of human rights.
Amir-Abbas Fakhravar (left) is an Iranian writer, and former journalist for the now banned pro-reform daily newspapers Mosharekat and Khordad. He is known for his political activism and has been described as one of Iran’s student leaders. Fakhravar has been imprisoned in Iran for his political activism 19 times, with his first experience at the age of 17, when he was still in high school. He is currently based in Washington, DC.
Reza Pahlavi the eldest son of the late Shah of Iran was in attendance. Since the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran, and the passing of his father, the late Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi has been a leading and vocal advocate of the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights for his countrymen. An accomplished jet fighter pilot, Reza Pahlavi completed the United States Air Force Training Program at the former Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. He is a Political Science graduate of the Un
iversity of Southern California.
As I drove through Prague this evening I noticed a protest of what looked like a few hundred youths. President Bush is planning on speaking at the conference tomorrow so security is tight on the streets.