Considered one of the leading intellectual figures and moral forces in Eastern Europe today, Vaclav Havel was born into a well-to-do Prague family on October 5, 1936. Denied the right to attend the university college because of his "bourgeois" background, Havel instead studied at a technical college from 1955 to 1957, and then enlisted in the Czechoslovak Army. Havel left the army in 1959 and began a career in writing. He took a job as a resident writer for the Prague Theatre on the Balustrade in 1960 and wrote his first play, The Garden City, three years later. Wanting to learn more about the craft that he now considered a full-time career, Havel enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1967. Two years later Havel's passport was revoked because the government considered his writings to be subversive. As an essayist, Havel has written the books Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvizdal; Living in the Truth; Open Letters: Selected Prose 1965-1990; and Temptation. From 1979 to 1982, while in prison for subversion, Havel wrote a number of letters to his wife, Olga Splichalova. In 1983 those correspondences formed Havel's book Letters to Olga. On December 29, 1989, Vaclav Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia. He resigned in 1992, only to be elected the president of the newly formed Czech Republic in 1993. Havel has been the recipient of more than a dozen honorary degrees.
Desmond Tutu was born October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa. He attended Johannesburg Bantu High School. After leaving school he trained first as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College and graduated in 1954 from the University of South Africa. After three years as a high school teacher he began to study theology, and was ordained as a priest in 1960. From 1962 to 1966 Tutu devoted his time to further theological study in England at King's College, eventually earning a Master's of Theology. From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1984 for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa. He was then elected Archbishop of Cape Town in April of 1986, the highest position in the South African Anglican Church. Tutu is also an honorary doctor of a number of universities in the USA, Britain and Germany.