6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Uncertainty of Freedom and the Freedom of Uncertainty

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Michael Zantovsky studied psychology at Charles University in Prague and at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, graduating summa cum laude in 1973. In November 1989, Zantovsky was a founding member of the Civic Forum, the umbrella organization that coordinated the overthrow of the Communist regime and the peaceful transfer of power during the Velvet Revolution. He subsequently served as the press secretary, spokesman, and political director for President Vaclav Havel. From September 1992 until early 1997, he was the Czechoslovak and later Czech Ambassador to the United States. After returning to Prague, Zantovsky was elected to the Czech Senate and served as the chairman of its Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security Committee. He was elected the president of the Civic Democratic Alliance, a liberal-conservative political party. In 2003, he co-founded a Prague-based think-tank Program of Atlantic Security Studies (PASS) and served as its first executive director. Zantovsky later returned to the Foreign Service as the Czech Ambassador to Israel. He is currently the Czech Ambassador to the Court of St. James. He blogs for WorldAffairsDaily in a personal, rather than his official, capacity. Zantovsky has translated more than 50 works of contemporary English and American literature into Czech, including works by Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, James Baldwin, and Tom Stoppard. In more recent years he translated Amos Oz's The Tale of Love and Darkness from Hebrew into Czech and, in the international affairs arena, works by Henry Kissinger, Joshua Muravchik, and Madeleine Albright. He also published a book on the life and films of Woody Allen. In Czechoslovakia's communist era, he wrote for Samizdat press and later was a co-founder of the Czech chapter of PEN. Zantovsky has taught American studies at Charles University and Euro-American relations at the Prague branch of New York University.