Tribute to Ivan Havel

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Ivan Havel at the ECP Václav Havel Scholarship concert.

The English College in Prague learned with sadness of the recent death of Ivan Havel. Brother of our Founder Patron, Václav Havel, Ivan has been a long-standing supporter of the ECP. We were therefore honoured and delighted when he agreed to allow us to name a prize in his honour.

The Ivan M Havel Prize

The prize was awarded for the first time in May 2020 to Victor Slimák. The College awards 45 prizes each year to our students, across the whole range of school subjects. There are also seven prizes that recognise students’ special achievements.


The Ivan M Havel prize is one of these, which we award to a student who displays the qualities of a polymath. Specialism is increasingly important in today’s society but a polymath excels in more than one discipline. The prize winner is primarily a scientist, like Ivan Havel himself. They should show exceptional talent across scientific disciplines. But they should also have an understanding of the humanities and creativity in the arts and be able to apply interdisciplinary competence across several subjects. The prize recognises hard work, enthusiasm and willingness to go beyond the curriculum. It is a fitting tribute to Ivan Havel.


As the obituaries have recorded, Ivan was one of the founders of Občanské fórum. Two years younger than his brother, he was formerly the Director of the Centre for Theoretical Studies, a joint endeavour involving Charles University and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. An expert in cybernetics, artificial intelligence and robotics, he was editor-in-chief of Vesmír magazine from 1990 to 2019.

We will remember Ivan Havel with gratitude for his support in encouraging our students to become polymaths.