Vaclav Havel (1936 – 2011 )
Loved by most and loathed by few, Vaclav Havel is a Czech playwright and former dissident and was the former last president of Czechoslovakia and the former first president of the Czech Republic. Vaclav Havel is considered to be one of the top intellectuals in the world and is admired and respected for his humanitarian ideals and honesty. Havel has written over 20 plays and various non-fiction works dealing with human rights, N.A.T.O., globalization, the relationship between Czechs and Germans and Europe in general. Vaclav Havel is perhaps though most famous for his major participation as the opposition leader and co-author of Charter 77, which led eventually to his arrest during the Communist regime. After years of imprisonment, Havel was thrust into the Czech presidency after the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution in 1989. During his 13 years as president Havel witnessed the Velvet Divorce, which split Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Havel opposed this), the country’s entrance into N.A.T.O. and the beginnings of negotiations for the Czech Republic’s position in the E.U.