8th Visegrad Summer School – The inauguration

The Inauguration of the 8th edition of the Visegrad Summer School will be held on 29th of June 2009 at the Villa Decius in Krakow. This year’s School will be opened with a lecture entitled ‘Legacy of Freedom’ by Professor Maciej Koźmiński, Director of the Institute of Diplomacy Collegium Civitas. Due to the meeting marking the completion of Czech European Union presidency hosted by the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Lech Kaczynski, the opening panel debate ‘The need for European remembrance’ in which the Ambassadors were supposed to participate was rescheduled and will be held on July the 8th.


For this year’s edition of the School 46 students have been accepted, out of 329 candidates. Participants, in accordance with the project regulations, come from the Poland (8 people), Hungary (9 people), Czech Republic (8 people), Slovakia (8 people) and from other countries of Central – Eastern Europe: Russia (1 person), Ukraine (5 people), Romania (2 people), Kosovo (1 person), Georgia (2 people), Kyrgyzstan (1 person), Belarus (1 person) and Azerbaijan (1 person). Most of them are under or post graduates in various disciplines (international relations, political science, European studies, law, economics, commerce and business studies, sociology, media studies, journalism, philology and linguistics), but also young workers and NGO leaders, journalists, HR and PR specialists, translators, lawyers, sales managers and financiers.


The programme of the eighth edition of the Visegrad Summer School includes debates on current political, cultural and social challenges in the global and European perspective, e.g. global poverty, refugee problems, financial crisis and its consequences, euro-zone enlargement, European identity crisis and state of civil societies in V4, gender equality, social responsibility of the media sector. Energy security issues, regional cooperation and the Corporate Social Responsibility will also be discussed.


Students will apply the theoretical knowledge in practical activities. During workshops they will develop political and social projects that aim at establishing collaboration between them and their countries. Students can also take part in art projects – film or photo workshops. An important part of the cultural section will be lectures on the culture-forming role of cities and a presentation of the cities competing for the title of the European Capital of Culture. On the weekend participants will take part in study visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Kazimierz, the former Jewish district in Krakow. They will also attend artistic events to learn about the culture of Cracow and visit the ethnographical museum of the Małopolska region.


The Visegrad Summer School is an initiative organised by the Villa Decius Association since 2002. Our idea is to create an alternative platform to university for advanced studies on the Visegrad Group as well as other Central and East European countries. The programme is an opportunity for the participants to get acquainted with and discuss current social, security, economic, political and cultural issues. It is also an opportunity to learn about each other and start an international cooperation between the people and the countries.


The larger part of the Visegrad Summer School is addressed only to a group of participants selected on the basis of submitted applications, but traditionally part of lectures and debates are open to the general public. This year we invite all interested to take part in the following lectures and debates:


Monday, 29 June, 10.30 a.m., Villa Decius:

Prof. Maciej Koźmiński (Director of the Institute of Diplomacy Collegium Civitas), ‘Legacy of Freedom’ – lecture


Maciej Koźmiński, Historian, diplomat and professor at the Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences, director of the Institute of Diplomacy Collegium Civitas, Professor of the József Eötvös Collegium of the University of Budapest. In the years 1990-1996 Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Hungary. Scholarship-holder of the French government, visiting professor at foreign universities. Author of more than 70 works on history of diplomacy, international relations and nationality in Central and Eastern Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, editor and co-author of two editions and a translation of the collection: European civilization – lectures and essays (Warsaw 2004, 2005).


Friday, 3 July, 10.00 a.m., Villa Decius:

“Deficiencies of democracy” – panel debate;

Üstün Ergüder (TUR), Anna Krzynówek (PL), Laszlo Rajk (H), Taras Voznyak (UA). Moderator: Krzysztof Bobiński (PL).


Anna Krzyżówek, holds PhD in political science at Jagiellonian University, assistant professor of political science at Jesuit University of Philosophy and Education in Cracow, lecturer at The Pontifical Academy of Theology and Tischner European University in Cracow, member of the editorial board of Pressje. Jagiellonian Files published by Jagiellonian Cultural and Educational Society. Main research interest in theory of democracy and political philosophy; author of Reason and Political Order. Normative and Institutional Dimensions of Deliberative Democracy (fortcoming), Cracow 2009.


Lászl? Rajk, Architect and designer. Former Hungarian dissident. Doctor of Liberal Arts-DLA degree from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Architecture. In 1988 one of the founders of the Network of Free Initiatives and the Liberal Party, the Alliance of Free Democrats. 1990-1996 Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Culture and Member of the Parliament. Since 1992, Professor of Film Architecture at the Hungarian Film Academy in Budapest. Between 1995-98 Advisor to the Hungarian National UNESCO Committee (World Heritage). In 2003 Legal Cultural Advisor to the European Union. The winner of numerous awards, including Imre Nagy Prize (for the design of the reburying of the Martyrs of 1956), and recently, in 2005, Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit (civilian) and the Solidarity Award (Poland).


Taras Wozniak, Ukrainian expert in political and cultural science, translator, essayist, philosopher. Counselor on foreign affairs of the Head of the Lviv Regional Administration. Editor-in-Chief of the Ji journal.


Krzysztof Bobiński, Graduated in history from the Universities of Oxford and London. For many years has worked as the Warsaw correspondent of the Financial Times, cooperated with among others the BBC and the Washington Post. Since 1998 he has focused on European affairs; co-founder and publisher of the Polish Unia&Polska magazine, currently president of the Unia&Polska Foundation; board member of the Polish – Ukrainian cooperation foundation PAUCI.


Wednesday, 8 July, 3.00 p.m., Villa Decius:

“The need for European remembrance” – panel debate;

H.E. Robert Kiss, Ambassador of Hungary to Poland, H.E. Frantisek Ružička, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Poland, H.E. Jan Sechter, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Poland, Andreas Meitzner, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Poland, Maciej Szpunar, Undersecretary of State of the Office of the Committee for European Integration.

Moderator: Martin Ehl, Hospodárske Noviny


Martin Ehl, Since 2001 has been working as a reporter of Czech economic daily ‘Hospodářské noviny’; since January of 2006 head of foreign desk. Previously working in various Czech written media since 1992, also collaborating with TV and radio. He published articles in Serbian, Slovak and Polish press. Area of expertise: Central Europe, Balkans, security policy, transatlantic relations, globalization, Latin America and Spain. In 1999 research fellow at Institute of International Relations, Prague; 2001-2006 lecturer at University of West Bohemia Pilsen teaching “Global issues and problems”. Ph.D. at Charles University, Prague in political science (thesis: Globalization and political culture). Numerous fellowships and professional courses in the USA, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Slovenia.


Thursday, 9 July, 10.00 a.m., Villa Decius:

“Business for society. Patrons or sponsors” – panel debate;

Severyn Ashkenazy (PL), Jerzy Brniak (PL), Karol Szyndzielorz (PL). Moderator: Wojciech Przybylski, Res Publica Nowa.


Jerzy Brniak, Graduated from Krakow University of Economics (Master Degree – International Trade). Before joining BP he was holding various accounting and financial roles in a wide range of Polish companies. He joined BP in 1992 and since then he has been working as a Chief Accountant, Finance Director and National Tax Manger. For almost 13 years he was a leader of various projects in Poland e.g. establishment of Mobil JV’s then Mobil JV dissolution, merger with Castrol and Aral or EU Accession project. He became the Country Head of BP Poland in 2004. He is also a member of Polish Chartered Accountants Association (KIBR).


Karol Szyndzielorz, Graduated from the Warsaw University (Department of Journalism, M.A. Specialization in International Relations). He began his career in 1957 at the Życie Warszawy daily as a reporter. During the Warsaw Block intervention to Czechoslovakia in 1968 he worked as a foreign correspondent, and later in the year 1970 as an editor of the Science and Technology section. He became Deputy Editor in Chief of this newspaper in the years 1980/1981, then moved to the Polish Newsweek as foreign editor (1985-1991), and was in the year 1989 the spokesman of the Round Table debates in Warsaw. Founder and editor in chief of the financial daily Nowa Europa (1991), Mr Szyndzielorz became in 1994 deputy CEO and member of the board of Zasada Group (Mercedes Polska) and founder and the owner of the company Media Group (1996). After four years of work as the representative in Poland and Bureau Chief of the German Energy Group Vereinigte Elektrizitäts Werke Westfalens (VEW), he joined in 2001 the firm Siemens as a Spokesman, and at present, he works as an Adviser to the Executive Board.


Wojciech Przybylski, Editor in chief of Res Publica Nowa, Polish quarterly on culture, society and politics since 1979. Appointed this position in 2007 he has also created an editorial office open to public with art exhibitions and public debates. He publishes on politics and political ideas and interrelation with culture and society. For four years has been organizing the Tischner Debates in Warsaw together with prof. Marcin Król (University of Warsaw, former editor in chief of RPN) and prof. Krzysztof Michalski (Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna). Wojciech holds MA in history of ideas, is a research assistant at the University of Warsaw and pursues a PhD project on XIX c. political theology of Juan Donoso Cortes.


Thursday, 9 July, 12.30 p.m., Villa Decius:

“Visegrad talks in Europe. The most important debates in V4 countries”

– panel debate; Eva Karadi (H), Marek Sečkař (CZ), Samuel Abraham (PL). Moderator: Wojciech Przybylski, Res Publica Nowa.


Eva Karadi, Editor in chief of Magyar Lettre Internationale, Hungarian edition of the European cultural quarterly since 1995, was one of editors since 1991, was chair of the Hungarian National Committee of the European Cultural Foundation since 1998, was one of the coordinators of the cooperation of the leading daily newspapers of the Visegrad countries in editing a common “Central European Supplement” from 1994 on. In these fields organized many European and regional events, like: “Revolutions and Restaurations” 1992, “Intellectuals between Morals and Politics” 1996, “Samizdat” (2000) and “Joining the Club: The Central-European countries in the period of the referenda” (2003) etc. Eva Karadi has a PhD in Philosophy and teaches philosophy since 1969 at the Eotvos University Budapest.


Marek Sečkař, Studied at the department of Romance studies at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Masaryk University in Brno. Since 2001 has worked as an editor of the literary monthly Host, mainly dealing with the section World Literature. Has published articles of political, cultural, artistic and literary orientation in the periodicals Host, Tvar, Literární noviny, Lidové noviny, Právo, Mladá Fronta Dnes, Poslední generace, etc. As a translator has translated into Czech several books from the area of literary theory, philosophy, cultural studies, history of art, as well as works of fiction (mainly “nouveau roman” and French erotic literature).


Samuel Abraham, Born in Bratislava, in young age emigrated to Canada in 1980. He was educated as a political scientist and political philosopher at the University of Toronto and Carleton University in Canada. Since 1995 he’s been working as the editor-in-chief of a Slovak-English book review journal Kritika & Kontext. He is also the founder and director of the educational institution Society for Higher Learning. Since 1991 he’s been lecturing at the Comenius University in Bratislava. Abraham is a representative of the Foundation Project on Ethnic Relations, based in Princeton, specializing in inter-ethnic conflicts in Slovakia. He regularly publishes in Slovak and Czech dailies and international journals.


Inaugural lecture and panel debates will be held in English

See also