Dharamsala, HP, India, 18 December 2011 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his deep sadness at learning of the passing away of his dear friend President Václav Havel. In a letter to his wife Mrs. Dagmar Havlova, His Holiness wrote that in his death, the world has lost a great statesman whose steadfast and unflinching determination played a key role in bringing freedom and democracy to the then Czechoslovakia. He was an unassuming and a courageous leader whom His Holiness personally had the greatest admiration and respect and will miss him.
His Holiness recalled that he had the privilege of meeting President Václav Havel in February 1990 – months after he became President following the Velvet Revolution, which he led with an extraordinary display of people power. Over the ensuing two decades he had the opportunity to meet with him regularly, most recently in Prague on 10 December 2011. His Holiness concluded by offering his heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Dagmar Havlova and other members of their family and those who were closely associated with him.
He stated that perhaps the best tribute we could honour and remember President Václav Havel is to work as best we can towards building a more peaceful, open and just world.