Women in War (Václav Havel Human Rights Prize Conference 2023)


11th international conference in honour of the laureate of the 2023 Václav Havel Human Prize 
Held under the auspices of the wife of the Czech president, Eva Pavlová 

I regard as a true hero somebody who overcomes their fear because they know it’s the correct thing to do. A person who listens to their conscience, which tells them it would be right to do something. Even though reason tells them that it may be dangerous for them. (Václav Havel, 1995) 

Conference Programme 


  • Lejla Abbasová, conference moderator  
  • Vocal performance by Ukrainian children aged 8–15, Kroky Dobra charity organisation 

Conference Opening

  • Gabriel Eichler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Václav Havel Library

Interview with Osman KAVALA the 2023 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize laureate 

  • Osman Kavala – Businessman, human rights defender, philanthropist and political prisoner convicted to an aggrevated life sentence (Turkey). Mr. Kavala was represented at the conference by Jakub Szántó

  • Chair: Barbora Kroužková – Journalist and presenter, Czech Television   

  • Vocal performance by Ukrainian children aged 8-15, Kroky Dobra charity organisation 

Panel I: Discussion with 2023 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists   

  • Justyna Wydrzyńska – Abortion doula and activist fighting for women's rights (Poland)

  • Yevhen Zakharov – Human rights defender and the founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Ukraine)

  • Chair: Barbora Kroužková – Journalist and presenter, Czech Television   

Panel Keynote

  • Petra Procházková, Journalist, humanitarian worker and war correspondent from conflict areas of the former Soviet Union

Panel II: Face to Face with Evil 

  • Ivana Krejčová – mother of Taylor, a Czech medic and founder of the Phoenix Project who died in May 2023; the organisation’s members teach combat medicine to Ukrainian soldiers and help transport and treat the wounded on the front line (Czech Republic) 
  • Julienne Lusenge – human rights activist recognised for her advocacy for victims of sexual violence in war (Congo) 
  • Moderator:  Maryana Drach  Director, Ukrainian Service, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 

Panel Keynote

  • Guzel Shamilyevna Yakhina, Russian author and screenwriter

Panel III: Rising from the Ashes 

  • Janina Hřebíčková – ambassador, diplomat, ex-peace negotiator and director of strategic communications on United Nations peacekeeping teams, KFOR and the International Organization for Migration (UN), former head of OSCE missions to the Western Balkans and the Middle East (Czech Republic) 
  • Vedrana Pribačić – director and journalist, screenwriter and director of the documentary Bigger Than Trauma, mapping the traumatic stories of women in the war in the former Yugoslavia (Croatia)  
  • Chair: Una Čilić – Digital Broadcast Editor, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Balkan Service (Bosnia and Herzegovina)


  • Karolína Stránská – acting director of the Václav Havel Library 
  • Jolana Voldánová – director of Nadace Charty 77 


Serie: Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

The Prize is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, playwright, opponent of totalitarianism, architect of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and an enduring symbol of opposition to despotism. Nominations of any individual, non-governmental organisation or institution working to defend human rights are taken into consideration. The Prize consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma.


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