The Forum is pleased to announce that Jan Urban will deliver the Plenary Address at the 4th European Conference in Prague. Urban, who has recently worked on several projects in Iraq training journalists and working on building reconciliation measures through the reconstruction of cultural heritage sites, was one of the leading dissidents in Czechoslovakia before 1989. In 1974, he graduated with a degree in history and philosophy from Charles University. From then until 1989, Urban, forbidden by the communists to continue his academic career, worked as a schoolteacher and a manual laborer. He was one of the founders of the Eastern European Information Agency, a dissident network, and helped found the Civic Forum, the movement that led to the eventual overthrow of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. He was elected as the Civic Forum’s spokesperson and leader and led it to its victory in the first free democratic elections in June 1990.
Urban resigned from all political positions one day after announcing the electoral defeat of Communism and returned to pursue his career in journalism. He has won two international human rights awards and served as a war correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993 through 1996. More recently, he has made two documentary films and is the author of three books, and is currently working on a book of interviews with the founder of the People in Need Foundation, Simon Panek.