Currently Director of NYU in Prague, Jiří Pehe was director of the Political Department of Czech President Václav Havel from September 1997 to May 1999. He serves as chairman of the Program Committee of the Forum 2000 Foundation that organizes annual international conferences under Havel’s auspices.
From 1995 to 1997, Pehe was director of Analysis and Research Department at the Open Media Research Institute in Prague. Between 1988 and 1995, he first worked as an analyst of Central European affairs and later as director of Central European Research at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany. From 1985 to 1988, Pehe was director of East European Studies at Freedom House in New York.
Pehe studied law and philosophy at Charles University in Prague from 1974 to 1978. In 1980, he received a doctorate in law (JUDr.) from the School of Law of Charles University. He fled Czechoslovakia in 1981 and eventually settled in the U.S. In 1985, he graduated from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University in New York.
Pehe has written hundreds of articles and analytical studies on developments in Eastern Europe for American, Czech, and German periodicals and academic journals. He is a regular contributor to various Czech newspapers and regularly comments on political developments for Czech Television and Radio. He co-authored and edited a book titled The Prague Spring: A Mixed Legacy, which was published by Freedom House in 1988. In 2002, his book Vytunelovaná demokracie was published by Academia, Prague. Pehe has also contributed essays and chapters to various other books. He teaches at Charles University and NYU Prague.