Joan Baez surprise guest at Forum 2000 opening ceremony
American singer Joan Baez was the surprise guest at the opening ceremony of the Forum 2000 international conference on Sunday night. She flew to Prague to personally congratulate the conference's initiator Vaclav Havel on his 70th birthday. Linda Mastalir was there and spoke to the former advisor to Vaclav Havel and Forum 2000 Foundation Executive Director Oldrich Cerny about the surprise performance of the famous singer, who Vaclav Havel once called a great inspiration and influence in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution:
How did you keep the secret. Who else was in on it?
"Karel Schwarzenberg who provided her shelter at his place in Trebic. Her long-time friend Honza Urban, his wife and his son, and two other people from the Forum 2000 Foundation. She arrived in Prague today [Sunday], we checked her into a hotel incognito, and we waited for the ceremony to begin before she was brought here."
"I think this was a good start and a good start is extremely important. Hopefully it will continue like this for the next two days. We managed to bring some interesting people to Prague such as Mary Robinson, for example. So I think this is going to be a very interesting conference in uneasy and uncertain times."