The aim of the project Polish Parliamentarism and Democratic Traditions is to popularise knowledge of the history of Poland and increase British public opinion’s awareness of its importance for the process of democratisation of Central and Eastern Europe. The 25th anniversary of the Round Table Talks and the beginning of restoration of a democratic Polish State is a good opportunity to remind the world of the Polish contribution to the events of 1989 and 1990, but also to remind of the fact that the Polish road to freedom and democracy began as early as 15th century. The stability of Polish democracy is rooted not only in the experiences of the last 25 years, it also derives to a large extent from Polish democratic and parliamentary traditions that date back to the 15th century. Yet, Poland is still considered one of “new democracies” that are expected to present their democratic credentials a lot more often than countries such as Portugal or Spain, despite the fact that the latter have been democracies for less than one generation. It is no surprise, if we consider the fact that both in secondary school and academic textbooks Poland appears only in the context of World War II and communism. The key to changing this image is to popularize knowledge about Polish democratic and parliamentary traditions, which will allow others to understand the roots of Polish strivings for freedom in the 1980s and the successful stabilization of democracy in the last 25 years.
The aim of the programme is to place Polish democratic traditions in the mainstream of reflections on Europe’s democratic traditions. We assume that the “mainstreaming” of Polish traditions will be a long-running process, therefore it must begin in environments that have a key impact on the formation of the next generations of Europeans — the academia and other influential circles. There have been plenty of activities promoting Polish democratic traditions among politicians or journalists (e.g. a very successful exhibition in the European Parliament), but until now there weren’t any coordinated actions that would influence those who form the policymakers of tomorrow.
The project includes:
- a series of six lectures, which will be held in British academic centres between July and October 2014
- a website, on which we will be publishing video recordings of lectures, as well as texts about Polish history
- a fan page on a social networking site
All these elements combined (website, profile and lectures) will be an excellent way of acquiring knowledge for those interested in Polish history. We hope that thanks to our project this group will grow significantly. Through the use of modern communication tools we want to reach as wide an audience as possible.
The project is carried out by the Centre for Political Thought with the support of Polish Research Centre of the Jagiellonian University in London. Lectures in the UK are organized in cooperation with the City University London. The project is co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.