International Nonstop Reading Marathon at the United Nations
H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan,
President of the Fifty-seventh Session of the United Nations General
27 May 2003
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
is a great pleasure for me in particular, to open the International
Reading Marathon, here, at the United Nations. This is the 6th
year, in which we uphold this tradition of the nonstop reading.
Its main aim is to promote authors whose work had and or still
has a profound impact universally, on the subject of freedom and
human rights. This is not the first time I am actively participating
in this event that has evolved from a local endeavor to an international
first Nonstop Reading Marathon took place in Prague in 1998 with
the theme Nonstop Lawrence Ferlinghetti, an American author whose
work had a significant impact on the Czech Literature of the 1960ies.The
Nonstop Reading Marathon has became a continuing tradition and
has expanded beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. Today we
are in day 3 of the four-day Nonstop Reading Marathon, which began
in Prague on 25 May. During this period we have seen and heard
readers from Prague, Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Stockholm and
many other cities taking part in this noble effort.
theme of this year’s Nonstop Reading Marathon is: Life in
Truth – Homage to Václav Havel. I think that the
chosen theme is very symbolic because this year marked the end
of the second and last term of Václav Havel as President
of the Czech Republic. He is a leading thinker, an author, an
artist and was a prominent dissident. Life in Truth is a celebration
of the independent spirit of literature so well reflected and
articulated in President Havel’s writings. And in a broader
sense, this rather informal event pays homage to all the authors,
whose writings had helped raise awareness in support of the cause
of human rights, freedom and free speech.
am very pleased to see that many of my friends and colleagues
are taking part in the reading, also here at the UN, an organization,
whose mission among others is to promote human rights, tolerance
and understanding. I am also very pleased that many readers will
choose to read in their native language, thus illustrating the
diversity of cultures, which constitutes the United Nations. Although
there is this vast diversity of cultures here, it is interesting
to note that the idea of the truth and of a life in truth is shared
throughout the different cultures of this multifaceted world.
think that literature is a very important part of culture and
life itself. Therefore it has to be adequately promoted and this
event should also be understood and appreciated in this regard.
However to see it successfully completed involves the enthusiastic
dedication and coordination among several persons around the globe.
In conclusion let me thank the organizers of this event, Jazzová
sekce, a Cyech cultural organization, which remained dedicated
to the aim of supporting free and independent art. My thanks go
also to the United Nations for their cooperation in organizing
the third day of the 6th International Reading Marathon here in
hope that you will enjoy the reading marathon and experience the
artist in all diplomats – a somewhat different and unusual
performance than their normal professional duties.