Vaclav Klaus – Keynote Speaker

Second President of the Czech Republic

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Specialist Subjects

  • The Rise of Eastern Europe
  • Economic Reform
  • The Future of the European Economy


  • English


Vaclav Klaus is the second President of the Czech Republic. He was first elected in 2003 and reelected in 2008. He is recognised as one of the most influential post-communist leaders in Eastern Europe.

Vaclav Klaus graduated from the Prague School of Economics where he studied at the Foreign Trade Faculty. He studied in Italy in 1966 and at Cornell University in the US in 1969. Vaclav Klaus then worked at the Economic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

Klaus was a pivotal figure in the Civic Forum that opposed the communist government. With the downfall of communism, Klaus became the principal architect of economic reform in Czechoslovakia. In 1989 he became the minister of finance in the Czech government and supported economic reform. In 1990 he was elected chairman of Civic Forum and in 1991 became deputy Prime Minister.

In 1991 Klaus headed what is now the Civic Democratic Party. In 1992, Vaclav Klaus became Prime Minister of the Czech government and started negotiations with Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar to create two independent countries from Czechoslovakia: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. On January 1, 1993, the Czech Republic was declared an independent country with Vaclav Klaus as its Prime Minister.

Vaclav Klaus and Vaclav Havel worked together to help the Czech economy develop and grow. Klaus continued as Prime Minister for 4 years. In the 1996 elections, Klaus nearly lost the election but with the help of President Vaclav Havel, he rermained in power. In 1997 Klaus resigned.

Vaclav Klaus is regarded as the architect of the modern Czech Republic and he now speaks around the world on current global political and economic issues.

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