Chronology of international guest speakers


  • Katarzyna Jagodzinska – Dr Katarzyna Jagodzińska is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland), and Chief Specialist at the Research Institute of European Heritage, International Cultural Centre in Kraków.


  • Ewa Siedlecka – Esteemed Polish Journalist at „Gazeta Wyborcza” (1989–2017), and reputable weekly „Polityka” (from 2017). Winner of the Dariusz Fikus Award (2011). Actively involved in promoting the issues of Civil Society, Human Rights and Animal Welfare.


      • Janusz Makuch – the director and co-founder of the Jewish Festival of Culture in Cracow, one of the biggest events of this kind in the world. Janusz Makuch in common with all other festival organisers, is not Jewish.In 2008, he became the first recipient of the prestigious 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 by the President of Poland.


      • Janusz Onyszkiewicz – an influential expert in international security. He is a 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. Currently, he is an Executive Board member of the UK-based European Leadership Network and the Chairman of the International Center for Democratic Transition (Budapest). He is a member of the Polish-Ukrainian Partnership Forum.
        A distinguished human rights activist. In the historic year of 1989, he was the spokesperson for the Solidarity delegation to the Round Table negotiations that paved the way to the demise of communism in Poland and Central Europe. He is a recipient of numerous international awards and honors including the Legion d’Honour (France)..


      • Dr Andrzej Rzonca, Economist. Currently an Adjunct Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics where he specialises in international comparative studies. He is the President of the Society of Polish Economists and the chief advisor to the free-market Civil Development Forum (FOR), the prominent Polish think tank. In 2010, the Senate of the Republic of Poland appointed him to the position of Member of the Monetary Policy Council (an equivalent to Reserve Bank Board) for a six-year term.


        • Professor Andrzej Rychard, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Institut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN). Professor Rychard is the author and co/author of more than 100 scientific publications in Polish, British, Swedish, german and American professional journals, including books and monographs.


        • Andrzej Folwarczny, the Founder and President of the Forum for Dialogue, the largest and oldest Polish non-governmental organization engaging in the Polish-Jewish dialogue. Between 1997 and 2001 he served as a Member of the Polish National Parliament (Sejm) representing the Freedom Union. He acted as the Chairman of the Polish-Israeli Parliamentary Group. Andrzej Folwarczny co-edited the book Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue, published in 2006 in collaboration with the American Jewish Committee. Between 1999 and 2004 he served as Vice-President of the Israel-Poland Friendship Association (Towarzystwo Przyjaźni Polsko-Izraelskiej).



              • Professor Norman Davies, the distinguished historian and author of many critically acclaimed books including God’s Playground. A History of Poland (OUP, 1981), Europe: A History (OUP, 1996), Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (Macmillan, 2006), Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Allen Lane, 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, and is a life member both of Clare Hall and of Peterhouse Cambridge.  Professor Davies gave lectures at Hobart, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. (March-April 2014)
              • Dr Joanna Wawrzyniak,  a sociologist and co-organiser of the major international project ‘Genealogies of Memory’ in Central and Eastern Europe ( Dr Wawrzyniak shared  information about her research into the subject of collective historical memory in Poland. Dr Wawrzyniak came to Melbourne on invitation from the University of Melbourne where she presented a paper “Regions of Memory: Reflecting on Eastern European Memory Frames in Global Perspective” at an international conference.  (19 – 27 February,  2014)


              • Professor Pawel Spiewak, prominent public intellectual, Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, 2013 winner of the prestigious Jozef Tischner Prize for religious and philosophical writings. Sociologist, historian, and former politician, known mainly as the author of many books including Anti-Totalitarianism(2003) and widely acclaimed Zydokomuna (2012).  (June 2013)
              • Jerzy Surdykowski – writer, journalist, and diplomat, active in the democratic opposition during Poland’s communist years. (March 2013)


              • Prof. Aleksander Skotnicki, Faculty of Medicine, Jagiellonian University, Kraków


              • Zbigniew Nosowski – editor of the Catholic monthly Więź and co-chair of Poland’s Council of Christians and Jews. (26 February – 10 March 2009)
              • Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz – second visit to Australia of this distinguished Polish economist and principal architect of Poland’s post-communist economic reforms. (August – September 2009)
              • Prof. Adam Daniel Rotfeld – 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 the Group of Experts on new Strategic Concept of Alliance “Wise Men Group”. (26 September – 6 October 2009)


              • Prof. Fr Michal Heller – Roman Catholic Priest, Professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology, Founder and Director of the Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Templeton Prize Winner. (8 – 21 March 2007)



              • Dr Gunnar Paulsson – historian and writer, Pearl Resnick Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dr Paulsson 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. (22 April – 2 May 2006)
              • Prof. Marek Belka – Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland in 2004/2005, professor of economics, Director of the National Bank of Poland (since June 2010). (28 February – 11 March 2006)


              • Prof. Leon Kieres – historian and politician, President of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (2000-2005). (16 – 27 October)


              • Prof. Jacek Purchla – Director of the International Cultural Centre in Cracow, professor of art history at the Jagiellonian University. (22 March – 2 April 2003)
              • Eva Hoffman – Polish/American writer, literary critic and academic. Her visit was co-sponsored by the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. (27 August – 9 September 2003)
              • Prof. Bronisław Geremek – social historian and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland from Nov 1997-June 2000, a prominent dissident during the Solidarity years. (5 – 13 October 2003)


              • Dr Krzysztof Zagórski – sociologist, Head of the Public Opinion Research Centre in Poland (CBOS). (20 – 26 July 2002)
              • Archbishop Józef Życiński – philosopher, publicist, Roman Catholic metropolitan Archbishop of Lublin and professor of the Pontifical Academy of Theology in the Vatican. (10 – 20 September 2002)


              • Krzysztof Zanussi – film director


              • Czesław Bielecki – politician, journalist and architect. Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. In the 1980s he was a well-known opposition figure. (8 – 21 March 2000)
              • 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. (15 – 30 May 2000)
              • Prof. Timothy Garton Ash – writer and Senior Research Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, specialist on Central European affairs. His visit was co-sponsored by The Age and The Goethe Institute. (20 – 29 August 2000)


              • Henryk Grynberg – distinguished 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. (24 April – 6 May 1999)
              • Dr Hanna Gronkiewicz- Waltz – economist and politician, the Chairman of the National Bank of Poland (1992-2000). She won a prize awarded by the British economics magazine The Central European (1995 and 1998). (3 – 13 Nov 1999)


              • Dr Janusz Lewandowski – economist and politician He was Minister for Privatization in two Solidarity-led cabinets and a deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for State Treasury and Privatization. (22 November– 1 December 1998)


              • Adam Michnik’s second visit to Australia (10 – 19 November 1997)


              • Dr Jan Krzysztof Bielecki – Prime Minister of Poland in 1991, a Chief Delegate of the Polish Parliament to the European Parliament in 1991-92 and in 1993 appointed to the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London. (19 – 30 July 1995)


              • Dr Hanna Suchocka – Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland in 1992-93, a specialist in Constitutional Law, member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Science in the Vatican. (13 – 25 March 1994)
              • Prof. Daniel Grinberg – Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. His visit was co-sponsored by AIPA and the Federation of Polish Jews. (19 September – 9 October 1994)


              • Prof. Władysław Bartoszewski – politician, social activist, writer, historian, Polish underground activist, twice the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. (15 March – 4 April 1993)
              • Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz – economist and former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and Deputy Prime Minister, famous for implementing Poland’s economic transformation program, known as shock therapy, in the 1990s. (18 April – 1 May 1993)
              • Prof. Jan Karski – the Second World War resistance fighter who first informed the world about the Holocaust. Scholar at Georgetown University and writer. (29 October – 19 November 1993)


              • Adam Michnik – historian, essayist, political commentator, Editor-in-Chief of the largest Polish daily paper Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the leading organizers of the illegal, democratic opposition in Poland and Helena Łuczywo, one of the founders of Gazeta Wyborcza and for some years its Deputy Editor-in-Chief. (27 April – 9 May 1992)


        • Jan Nowak-Jeziorański – war hero, journalist, writer, politician. From 1952 Head of the Polish Section of Radio Free Europe. A security advisor to US presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Jan Nowak-Jeziorański officially opened the Institute. (11 – 22 November 1991)