AAU Academy LovePrague Course

Czech Heroes and Leaders I

Module I: Jan Hus, Milada Horáková and VáclavHavel: Their Legacy and Meaning Today  

30 Years of Education
Track LovePrague
Instructor Joshua Hayden
Date - - -
Format Four-week course
Delivery On-site / in city
Price 6,000 CZK
Language English

Course Description

There is no better place to study the practice of courageous leadership than in Prague, Czech Republic. The people here have had to endure the direct turmoil of both of the 20th Century’s most infamous tyrants: Hitler and Stalin.

This was the capital of an empire, a democracy, under a totalitarian regime, and back to democracy. In the midst of dark and challenging times, leaders in Prague have mobilized others to live by their principles, to live in truth even if it meant risking their lives and families.

This module explores the lives of three people who have shaped Prague and the Czech people in a profound way. The legacies of Hus, Horáková and Havel are very much present today in banners, movies, remembrances, protests, and dialogue about the future of this country and its democracy. Who were these people? How are they remembered here? What can their decisions, collaborations, and message teach us today?

The Czech Heroes and Leaders series presents an opportunity to learn about the lives and significance of leaders who show us possibilities and hope even in the darkest of times.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze the dynamics of leaders and followers by zooming in on the decisions, symbolic actions, perspectives, and tactics of leaders and collaborators within their context
  • Interpret the themes of living in truth, authenticity, and inclusivity in the practice of leadership 
  • Articulate our own values and principles through the human stories of these individuals
  • Apply a thoughtful understanding of leadership through the lives of leaders to current leadership issues


This active learning course involves dialogue, experiential learning around the city, group activities and reflection. It is an academic course and the professor will provide insights from research, historical accounts, and leadership literature.

We meet in four sessions, two hours each, and tour Havel’s Prague for a unique Saturday experience.

Schedule and Course Content

For a detailed course schedule and content, please download the Course Outline.

Session 1

What is leadership and why does it matter? Jan Hus: Living in truth as a principle of leadership (2 hours)

We will explore together some key questions:

  • Is leadership possible without courage?
  • How do heroes emerge and why are they important?
  • What does Hus’ legacy teach us about the role of truth in leading others? 

Session 2

What are the unique challenges of women in leadership roles? Milada Horáková: Authenticity and courage under fire (2 hours)

We will explore together the following questions:

  • Do women lead differently than men?
  • What were Horáková’s unique challenges as a woman in the Czech senate?
  • What is the role of authenticity in effective leadership? 
  • How does Horáková’s courage during the Show Trials challenge us today?

Session 3: Saturday Excursion

Havel’s Prague (4 hours)

This experience will be unlike any guided tour you’ve been on in Prague. We will have special guests, go to unique places that will bring out the character of Vaclav Havel and the people he inspired and mobilized.  The four hours will be enlivened by discussion and role plays.


  • Walking shoes
  • Notebook/journal

Session 4

How do you mobilize others to take the risk of change? Vaclav Havel: Inclusivity and giving the work back to the people (2 hours)

We will explore the following questions together:

  • Was Havel’s Letter to Gustav Husak a form of leadership and why?
  • How do leaders go from mobilizing a small group of people to a movement?
  • What were Havel’s strategic strengths and weaknesses? 
  • What role did inclusive leadership play in the Velvet Revolution?


  • Notebook/journal
  • Havel readings online

Session 5

Now what? Leaders of the past and conversation partners for the present (2 hours)

We will reflect upon the lessons of the course with the following questions:

  • What activities and characteristics were common among these three leaders in their various contexts?
  • How does the lives of these three inspire your own active citizenship and voice?
  • What can the Czech context for leadership teach other cultures and countries about the role of responsibility and truth?


  • Journal/notebook
  • Leadership article online

Your Instructor

AAU Academy Instructor, LovePrague Courses
AAU Lecturer & Institutional Research Specialist

Josh Hayden earned his doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University in the U.S. and has published and taught in the field of leadership students for the past ten years. His research interests are Václav Havel’s moral leadership, leadership ethics and change, self-awareness, and adaptive leadership theory and practice. Josh led the Quality Enhancement Plan on Scholarship, Learning, and Academic Mentoring at Cumberland University and built executive education leadership programs at Lipscomb University, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He has worked with the community, educational and organizational leaders in Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Brazil. His wife and 4 children love the outdoors, the arts, sports, traveling, and he plays the banjo in his spare time.

See what our students have to say

We do almost all of our projects in small international teams, and we work together like we would in a business company and synergize our different ideas. There's flexibilities to meet with teachers outside of class, and ask them questions, not just specifically things we learn in the class.

Ann Connolly
Business Administration, United States of America

AAU makes networking incredibly easy to do. I was able to participate in various events that don't necessarily connect to my coursework like conferences, literature festivals, debates, lectures, etc. When I was President of the Diplomatic Club, AAU helped me get in touch with event-organizers, which, for example, allowed us to host an event during the Festival of Democracy organized by the famous Forum 2000 conference.

Anastasia Mezenina
Business Administration, Russian Federation

Meet the people

Dana Aleksic, MPP

External Outreach Manager / Alumni Relations dana.aleksic@aauni.edu

Eva Rivera, Ph.D.

Vice-President for Institutional Advancement eva.rivera@aauni.edu
See all people

Do you have questions?

We are happy to help!

Kateřina Fundová Admissions Counselor katerina.fundova@aauni.edu
Adiya Ashirova Admissions Counselor a.ashirova@aauni.edu