The Polish-British Round Table 2008

A Polish-British Round Table organized by the Unia & Polska Foundation (Warsaw), the European Studies Centre (Oxford), demosEUROPA – Centre for European Strategy (Warsaw), the Royal Institute of International Affairs (London) and the Villa Decius Association (Kraków) with the support of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Ministry of National Defence and the British Embassy in Warsaw.


Biographies of Participants


Neal Ascherson is an author and journalist who has written about Polish and European affairs for many decades. He is regular contributor to the London Review of Books. Previously, he worked for the Manchester Guardian, The Scotsman, the Independent on Sunday, and was a foreign correspondent and columnist on the Observer. Among his books are The King Incorporated: Leopold the Second and the Congo, The Struggles for Poland, Black Sea, and Stone Voices: the Search for Scotland.


Dr. Jan Krzysztof Bielecki is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Poland’s Bank Pekao SA. He is a graduate of Gdańsk University. He served as Polish prime minister in 1991 after actively supporting the Solidarity underground movement in the 1980’s. A politician from the Liberal Democratic Party (KL-D) Bielecki served as European Integration Minister in 1992 – 1993 before becoming a director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development between 1993 and 2003.


Krzysztof Bobiński is the president of Unia & Polska, a pro European organisation. A graduate of Oxford University (BA in Modern History) and London University (MA Regional Studies). He worked with the Financial Times as its Warsaw Correspondent from 1976 to 2000 and later published Unia & Polska, a magazine devoted to EU issues. He writes for openDemocracy and the European Voice and is an associate editor on the Europe section of Europe’s World.


Professor Norman Davies is a Senior Member at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Previously, he was a Lecturer, Reader and Professor at the School of Slavonic Studies, University of London. He held assignments abroad at Columbia, Mc Gill, Hokkaido, Stanford, Harvard, Adelaide and the ANU in Canberra. He is the author of numerous books on the history of Poland, the British Isles and Europe, including God’s Playground: a History of Poland, Heart of Europe: a Short History of Poland, Rising ’44: the Battle for Warsaw, and Europe: A History, all of which have also appeared in Polish editions.


Professor Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of eight books of ‘history of the present’, including The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague, The File and, most recently, Free World, all of which have also appeared in Polish editions. His essays appear regularly in the New York Review of Books and he writes a weekly column in the Guardian which is widely syndicated in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including in Gazeta Wyborcza.


Danuta Glondys is the head of the Villa Decius foundation. A graduate of Jagiellonian University in Kraków (English) she has specialised in managing cultural events and ran the Kraków2000 Festival in the city.


Charles Grant is the Director of the Centre for European Reform. He previously worked for the Economist, first in London and then as a correspondent from Brussels, followed by a period as defence editor. He writes frequently on EU foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, and relations with China and Russia. He is a board member and trustee of the British Council in 2002, a member of the Committee for Russia in a United Europe, and a member of the advisory board of the Moscow School of Political Studies.


Professor Dieter Helm is Professor in Energy Policy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. He is an economist, specialising in utilities, infrastructure, regulation and the environment, and concentrates on the energy, water and transport sectors in Britain and Europe. He holds a number of advisory board appointments and is associate editor of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy.


Adam Jasser is the Reuters bureau chief in Warsaw responsible for Central Europe, the Balkans and Turkey. A graduate of Warsaw University (MA in American Literature) Jasser joined Reuters in 1990 to build the first national service in post communist Europe. He moved to London in 1996 as chief sub editor on the financial desk. Later bureau chief in Helsinki and Frankfurt. Adam Jasser likes to sail and is a keen gardener.


Professor Lena Kolarska-Bobińska is the head of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in Warsaw. She graduated from Warsaw University (MA in Sociology) and became a professor in 1993. She has headed CBOS, Poland’s leading public opinion research institute and the IPA from 1997. She serves on various advisory bodies both in Poland the European Union and is the author of numerous publications. Lena Kolarska-Bobinska is also a well known media commentator on current events.


H.E. Dr. Stanisław Komorowski is the Undersecretary of State for Defence Policy at the Ministry of National Defence. He was born in 1953 and holds a PhD in physics from Warsaw University. Komorowski has served as Polish Ambassador in the Hague and in London and has headed the Foreign Ministry’s department of Asia and the Pacific Region. He was Undersecretary of State at the Foreign Ministry between 2006 and 2007.


Sir David Manning was the British Ambassador to the United States, NATO and Israel, and the. Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister Tony Blair. He previously held numerous posts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including Deputy Under-Secretary, Head of Policy Planning Staff and Head of Eastern Department, and in the Embassies in Moscow, Paris, New Delhi and Warsaw. He was a UK member of Contact Group on Bosnia.


Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas is a lawyer and academic. She is the Chairman of the Royal Opera House, Solicitor (England and Wales), Member of the U.K. government’s Equalities Review Panel. Previously she was Provost of King’s College, Cambridge and Chairman of Birkbeck College, University of London, Fellow of Eton College Windsor, Vice Chair of the London Development Agency. She was political leader of the City of London and Chairman of its Local Education Authority.


Dr. Robin Niblett is Director of Chatham House. Before joining Chatham House, from 2001 to 2006, Dr Niblett was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies. He is a frequent panelist at conferences on transatlantic relations. He has testified on a number of occasions to U.S. Senate and House Committees on European Affairs. He also comments regularly on radio and TV.


Jonathan Powell is Senior Managing Director of the Investment Banking Division in Morgan Stanley. He was Tony Blair’s chief of staff from 1995 to 2007, and the chief negotiator for peace in Northern Ireland. He has recently published Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland.


Janusz Reiter is the deputy head of the management board of Pressepublica, the publisher of the Rzeczpospolita daily. Reiter is a graduate of Warsaw University (German studies) who was a journalist on Zycie Warszawy in the late 1970s and was dismissed under martial law. He wrote for Catholic and underground newspapers in the 1980s and after 1989 served as Polish Ambassador in Germany from 1990 to 1995. Reiter was Polish ambassador in Washington from 2005 to 2008. He founded and headed the Center for International Relations (CSM). He is a regular commentator in international issues in the Polish and foreign media.


Professor Adam Rotfeld is a former Polish minister of Foreign Affairs. He graduated from Warsaw University (International Law and Diplomacy) and holds a PhD on self determination of peoples from the Jagiellonian University. Rotfeld worked at the Polish Institute of International Affairs from 1961 – 1989 and was appointed the head of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in 1991, a post he held till 2002. He became a Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002 and the Minister in 2005. Rotfeld is the author of numerous publications including New Security Dimensions : Europe after the NATO and EU Enlargements.


Dr. Krzysztof Rybiński is a partner at Ernst & Young in Warsaw. He was born in 1967 holds MA degrees in mathematics and computer sciences and a doctorate in economics all from Warsaw University. Rybiński has worked at chief economist at commercial banks in Warsaw before serving as the deputy head of the NBP (Poland’s central bank) between 2004 and February of this year. He is the author of numerous articles and is due to publish his second book ‘Gordian knots of the 21st Century’ this month.


Piotr Serafin is an undersecretary of state at the Office of the Committee for European Integration (UKIE). He was born in 1974 and graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics (MA economics) and Warsaw University (law) . Serafin has been at UKIE since 1998 where he has worked on Polish EU accession and 2007 – 2013 budget issues. Before becoming an undersecretary Serafin worked headed UKIE’s Analysis and Strategy Department.


General Richard Shirreff is Major General and Colonel Commandant of the Royal Armoured Corps. He was the commander of British troops in southern Iraq. He previously served in Germany, Canada, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Brunei, during the first Gulf War and in Kosovo, and was a Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff.


Dr. Aleksander Smolar is the chairman of the Stephan Batory Foundation. Born in 1940 he is a graduate of Warsaw University (sociology and economics) and a political émigré after 1968. A professor in political science at the CNRS in Paris he advised the governments of Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Hanna Suchocka.


Eugeniusz Smolar is the president of the Center for International Relations (CSM) in Warsaw. He graduated from Uppsala University (Social and Political Studies) after going into political exile from Poland in 1970. Formerly director of the Polish section of the BBC World Service and after his return to Poland after 1989 vice chairman of Polish Radio (Polskie Radio SA).


H.E. Witold Sobków is the political director at Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Born in 1961 he holds two degrees from Warsaw University (English Literature and Italian Studies) as well as an MA in Islamic Studies at London University. Sobków has served as Polish Ambassador in Dublin and deputy head of Mission in London and was under secretary of state for European Affairs.


Professor Ryszard Stemplowski is an associate professor at the Jagiellonian University In Kraków in the department of International Studies. Stemplowski was at the Polish Academy of Sciences between 1974 and 1989 and was appointed chief clerk of the Sejm, the parliamentary chamber of deputies in 1990. Stemplowski served as Polish Ambassador in London and later became the first head of the reconstituted Polish Institute of International Affairs.


Paweł Świeboda is the founder and head of demosEuropa – the Centre for European Strategy. He graduated in 1994 from the London School of Economics (International Relations). In 1996 he became an adviser on European policy to the President of Poland and later headed the European Integration Office in the President’s Chancellery. Between 2001 and 2006 he served as the Director of the European Union Department in the Foreign Ministry. Swieboda is a member of several expert commissions including the Lisbon Council and the Commission on Europe after 50 set up by Chatham House. He writes a regular column on foreign policy in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.


H.E Ric Todd is the British Ambassador to Poland. Previously he held posts in the British Embassies in Slovakia, Bonn, Czechoslovakia, Cape Town/Pretoria. He worked in the Treasury and in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London, and was a UK member of the EU Economic Policy Committee.


Adam Zamoyski is a historian and the President of the private Czartoryski Foundation which runs the Czartoryski Muzeum in Kraków. A graduate of Oxford University (Russian language) his latest works are Napoleon’s March on Moscow 1812 and the Rites of Peace on the Congress of Vienna. Most recently he published Warsaw 1920, Lenin’s failed conquest of the West.


Professor Jan Zielonka is Professor of European Politics at the Univeristy of Oxford and Ralf Dahrendorf Fellow at St Antony’s College. Before coming to Oxford, he was Professor of Political Science at the European University Institute in Florence. He has published numerous works in the field of comparative politics, international relations, human rights and security, including Political Ideas in Contemporary Poland, Explaining Euro-Paralysis. Why Europe is Unable to Act in International Politics and, most recently, Europe as Empire. The Nature of the Enlarged European Union.

See also