Former President Havel awarded Doctor Honoris Causa in Slovakia

ON THE OCCASION of his 70th birthday, the former Czechoslovak and Czech President Václav Havel was given the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (VŠMÚ) in Bratislava on October 6.

The ceremonial session of VŠMÚ’s Scientific and Artistic Council took place in the Slovak National Theatre's historical Opera House and was attended by artists, politicians and former Havel colleagues from his time as a dissident, the TASR newswire reported.

VŠMÚ Chancellor Ondrej Šulaj emphasized that the academy had decided to award Havel the title because they wanted to encourage him to write many other plays. "The students respect you, they like you in their student way," added Šulaj. "Through your work you teach us to understand [Tomáš Garrigue] Masaryk's thesis that moral order should precede legal order, and you permanently and stubbornly remind us of it through your life," said the VŠMÚ chancellor.

T.G. Masaryk was the first president of the pre-WWII Czechoslovak Republic.

Havel didn't conceal his emotions at the honors bestowed on him in Bratislava. "I knew I would be given the title, but I didn't know it would be so warm-hearted and so nice," he said.

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