Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

Guest Speakers

Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz
Chief architect of Poland’s economic reforms following the collapse of communism. Economist and former chairman of the National Bank of Poland (2001–2007) and Deputy Prime Minister (1989-1991, 1997-2001), famous for successfully implementing Poland’s ‘shock therapy’ economic transformation program in the 1990s. During his visit in 2008 Prof. Balcerowicz was awarded an Hon. LLD by the University of NSW. (1993 and 2008).
Prof. Władysław Bartoszewski

Politician, diplomat, war hero, historian, writer, World War II resistance fighter, Polish underground activist. (1993)

Prof. Marek Belka 

Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland in 2004/2005, economist and academic. (2006)

Czesław Bielecki

Politician, journalist and architect. Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. Active member of the democratic opposition in communist Poland. In the 1980s a well-known opposition figure. (2000)

Dr Stanley Bill

The Director of Polish Studies Programme at the University of Cambridge. (2020)

Piotr Buras

The head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. His topics of focus include Germany’s EU and foreign policy, Poland in the EU, and EU politics. Buras is a journalist, author and expert on German and European politics. (2021)

Prof. Norman Davies

Historian and author of many critically acclaimed books including God’s Playground. A History of Poland (1981), Europe: A History (1996), Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (2006), Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (2011). Norman Davies has been awarded Poland’s Order of the White Eagle and in Britain the CMG ‘for services to history’. He holds honorary doctorates from several universities in Britain and Poland as well as the honorary citizenship of five cities. (2014)

Prof. Barbara Engelking

The author of many books related to the issues of the Holocaust. Her research focuses on the experiences of the Holocaust in the accounts of the Survivors, attempts to describe this experience also in the light of all other available sources (official and personal documents, letters, accounts, memories) and perspectives (victims, witnesses, executioners). (2021)

Prof. Dorota Folga-Januszewska

Art historian, art critic, museologist. Former President ICOM-Poland, member SAREC ICOM, AICA. Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, where she is Head of the Theory Department, Faculty of Graphic Art; Deputy Director, King Jan III Palace Museum, Wilanów, Warsaw. (2022)

Andrzej Folwarczny

Founder and President of the ‘Forum for Dialogue Among Nations’, the largest and oldest Polish non-governmental organisation engaged in Polish-Jewish dialogue. Between 1997 and 2001 he served as a Member of the Polish National Parliament (Sejm) representing the Freedom Union at which time he acted as Chairman of the Polish-Israeli Parliamentary Group. Andrzej Folwarczny co-edited the book Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue in association with the American Jewish Committee (2006). He has served as Vice-President of the Israel-Poland Friendship Association (Towarzystwo Przyjaźni Polsko-Izraelskiej) (1999 – 2004). (2015)

Prof. Bronisław Geremek

Social historian, academic and politician, one of the key strategists in Poland’s transformation to democracy in the later 1980s–early ‘90s. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland (November 1997­–June 2000). He was a prominent dissident during the Solidarity years. (2003)

Prof. Daniel Grinberg 

Historian, Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (1990–1995). His visit was co-sponsored by AIPA and the Federation of Polish Jews. (1994)

Dr Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz

Economist and politician, Chairman of the National Bank of Poland (1992-2000). She was awarded a prize by the British economics magazine The Central European (1995 and 1998). (1999)

Henryk Grynberg

Polish/Jewish/American writer, poet and journalist, member of the Polish Writers’ Association and American Pen Club. Grynberg’s visit to Australia was sponsored jointly by AIPA and the Federation of Polish Jews. (1999)

Prof. Fr Michał Heller

Roman Catholic Priest, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology, Cracow. Founder and Director of the Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. (2007)

Eva Hoffman

Polish/American/British writer, literary critic and academic. Her visit was co-sponsored by the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. (2003)

Katarzyna Jagodzińska 

Art historian and journalist. Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University, and Chief Specialist at the Research Institute of European Heritage, International Cultural Centre, Cracow. Her visit was jointly sponsored by AIPA and the University of Melbourne. (2018)

Prof. Jan Karski 

World War II hero and resistance fighter who first informed the world about the Holocaust. Writer and scholar at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (1993)

Prof. Leon Kieres

Lawyer and politician, President of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (2000-2005). (2004)

Mr Michal Krasucki

Art historian. From 2016 the Director of the Capital City Heritage Protection Department. As part of his professional work, he performs multiple functions related to Warsaw heritage, chairing meetings of the Bureau for the Warsaw Monuments Conservation Studios and the Bureau for Monuments and Commemorations. (2022)

Dr Jan Krzysztof Bielecki

Economist and politician. Prime Minister of Poland in 1991, Chief Delegate of the Polish Parliament to the European Parliament in 1991-92. In 1993 appointed to the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London. (1995)

Prof. Roman Kuźniar

Political scientist, academic, political advisor and expert on international relations. Director of the Diplomatic Academy (2003-2005). Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Advisor to President Bronisław Komorowski and to the Minister of Defence (2010-15). (2020)

Dr Janusz Lewandowski

Economist and politician. Minister for Privatization in two Solidarity-led cabinets (1990–91 & 1992–93) and a deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for State Treasury and Privatization. (1998)

Helena Łuczywo

Independent journalist, activist in the democratic opposition in communist Poland. Co-founder of Gazeta Wyborcza, and for a period its Deputy Editor-in-Chief.Recipient of the 1989 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, Harvard University. (1992)

Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska

A former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland in Israel (2006 – 2012) and Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Department at the Ministry of National Defence (2012-2016). (2021)

Janusz Makuch

Director and co-founder of the Jewish Festival of Culture in Cracow, one of the biggest events of its kind in the world. Janusz Makuch, like all other Jewish Festival organisers, is not Jewish. In 2008, he was the first recipient of the Irena Sendler prize awarded by the Taube Foundation for preserving and revitalising Jewish heritage in Poland. For his work in this area, he was also awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. (2017)

Adam Michnik

Historian, essayist, political commentator, one of the leading organizers of the illegal, democratic opposition in communist Poland. Co-founder and long-time Editor-in-Chief of the largest Polish daily paper Gazeta Wyborcza. (1992 and 1997)

Zbigniew Nosowski 

Editor of the Catholic monthly Więź and co-chair of Poland’s Council of Christians and Jews. (2009)

Jan Nowak-Jeziorański

War hero, journalist, writer, politician. Head of the Polish Section of Radio Free Europe (1952–1976). Security advisor to US presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Jan Nowak-Jeziorański officially opened the Institute. (1991)

Dr Stanisław Obirek 

Jesuit priest. Director of the Centre for Culture and Dialogue in Cracow. One of his main interests is the development of Christian-Jewish dialogue. Between 1994 and 1998 he was the rector of Cracow’s Jesuit Seminary. (2000)

Janusz Onyszkiewicz

Expert in international security, human rights activist from the 1960s and member of the Solidarity opposition in the 1980s. Former Vice-President of the European Parliament and Vice President of its Foreign Relations Committee. He was Defence Minister of the Republic of Poland in two separate post-1989 governments. He is on the Executive Board of the UK-based European Leadership Network, Chairman of the International Center for Democratic Transition (Budapest) and a member of the Polish-Ukrainian Partnership Forum. He is a recipient of numerous international awards and honours, including the Légion d’honneur. (2017)

Prof. Rafał Pankowski

A co-founder of Poland’s leading anti-racist organization ‘NEVER AGAIN’. (2021)

Dr Gunnar Paulsson

Historian and writer, Pearl Resnick Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (2001–2002). He has taught at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and was Senior Historian of the Holocaust project at the Imperial War Museum, London. (2006)

Prof. Timothy Garton Ash

Writer, Historian and Senior Research Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Specialist in Central European affairs. His visit was co-sponsored by The Age and The Goethe Institute. (2000)

Prof. Jacek Purchla

Art historian and economist, founder and first director of the International Cultural Centre in Cracow (1991–2018), Professor of art history at the Jagiellonian University. (2003)

Prof. Adam Daniel Rotfeld

Diplomat, academic and politician. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in 2005, Co-Chairman of the Polish-Russian Working Group on Difficult Matters, Member of the Advisory Board of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, and Member of NATO’s Group of Experts on new Strategic Concept of Alliance: ‘Wise Men Group’. (2009)

Prof. Andrzej Rychard

Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences (Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN). Professor Rychard is the author and/or co-author of more than 100 scientific publications in Polish, British, Swedish, German and American professional journals, including books and monographs. (2015)

Dr Piotr Rypson

Curator, historian of literature and visual culture, museum expert. Associate Professor at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology (New Media Department); Curator at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Chair of ICOM Poland. (2022)

Dr Andrzej Rzońca

Economist and Associate Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics where he specialises in international comparative studies. Elected President of the Society of Polish Economists (2016) and appointed chief advisor to the free-market Civil Development Forum (FOR), the prominent Polish think tank. In 2010, appointed by the Senate of the Republic of Poland to the position of Member of the Monetary Policy Council for a six-year term. (2016)

Ewa Siedlecka

Polish Journalist at Gazeta Wyborcza (1989–2017), and at Polityka (from 2017). Winner of the Dariusz Fikus Award for ‘journalism of the highest order’ (2011). Actively involved in promoting issues of civil society, human rights and animal welfare. (2018)

Radosław Sikorski

A distinguished politician and author, a Member of the European Parliament, and Poland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs. (2021)

Prof. Aleksander Skotnicki

Haematologist and Professor of medical sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Jagiellonian University, Kraków. He is active in documenting the history of Jews in Poland, particularly during the Holocaust. (2010)

Prof. Paweł Śpiewak

Sociologist, historian, former politician, public intellectual, Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, recipient of the Józef Tischner Prize for religious and philosophical writings (2013). Author of many books including on the subject of anti-totalitarianism (2003) and the widely acclaimed Żydokomuna (2012). (2013)

Dr Hanna Suchocka

Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland in 1992-93, specialist in Constitutional Law, member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Science in the Vatican. (1994)

Jerzy Surdykowski

Writer, journalist, and diplomat. Active in the democratic opposition in communist Poland. (2013)

Dr Paweł Ukielski

Political scientist and historian. Deputy Director of The Warsaw Rising Museum. Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. Former Vice-President of the Institute of National Remembrance (2014-2016). (2022)

Dr Joanna Wawrzyniak

Sociologist and historian. Co-organiser of the international project ‘Genealogies of Memory’ in Central and Eastern Europe ( Dr Wawrzyniak was invited by the University of Melbourne to present a conference paper on her research. She also gave a lecture on the subject to AIPA. (2014)

Dr Krzysztof Zagórski

Sociologist, Head of the Public Opinion Research Centre in Poland (CBOS). (2002)

Krzysztof Zanussi

Film and theatre director, graduate of the Polish National Film School, Łódź. (2001)

Archbishop Józef Życiński

Philosopher, writer, Roman Catholic metropolitan Archbishop of Lublin and professor at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in the Vatican. (2002)

Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

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