Václav Klaus, who is stepping down after serving 10 years as president of the Czech Republic, will become a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute on March 7th.
Klaus was born in Prague in 1941, during the Nazi occupation, and went on to graduate from the University of Economics there in 1963. He also attended Cornell University in 1969 before returning to his home country after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
He was able to earn a Ph.D in economics while working and studying at the Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1968, but was removed from his position shortly thereafter for having views deemed too capitalistic.
“Václav Klaus proved that a steadfast belief in the free market coupled with strong leadership skills could move a nation to throw off the shackles of communism,” said Cato President and CEO John Allison. “We are looking forward to working closely with this champion of liberty.”
In 1991, Klaus co-founded the pro-market Civic Democratic Party, the largest center-right party in the nation, and won the election for prime minister a year later. The party has remained in government for most of the Czech Republic’s independence. Prior to that, Klaus served as finance minister of the former Czechoslovakia, where he was the key architect of the country’s successful move from central planning to the market.
Klaus has been a regular guest at the Cato Institute over the years, speaking for the first time in 1992 as finance minister of Czechoslovakia. Cato has published multiple articles and lectures by Klaus on topics including the environment, the fall of communism, and the Eurozone.
“I consider the Cato Institute one of the most prominent public policy research organizations in the United States which has been consistently advocating the classical liberal principles,” Klaus said in a letter to Cato Founder and President Emeritus Edward H. Crane. “I am truly honored to join Cato.”
Klaus will headline an event at Cato on March 11, The European Crisis Continues: No Solution on the Horizon. In addition to his work at Cato, Klaus has also started his own think tank in the Czech Republic, the Václav Klaus Institute, in Prague.
Václav Klaus, Renaissance: The Rebirth of Liberty in the Heart of Europe, Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1997. Print.
“When Will the Eurozone Collapse?,” by Václav Klaus, Economic Development Bulletin No. 14, May 26, 2010
“Environmentalism and Other Challenges of the Current Era,” by Václav Klaus,Economic Development Bulletin No. 10, April 20, 2007