Poland’s Lech Wałęsa charms school audience

Former Polish President Lech Wałęsa talked to students at the IV Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Torun, Poland, about Poland and Europe, and the European elections as an exercise in democracy, on April 17 this year.

Mr. Wałęsa during the visit

Wałęsa encouraged the students to ask questions, and the subsequent debate covered cultural identity, young people and patriotism, their expectations for the future, the history of the past 20 years, and creativity and innovation as key to the progress of humankind.

Malgorzata Białek, the school principal, says the students were particularly interested in the issue of the elections, why it is so important to vote, and the impact of our political choices as European citizens. “Many questions started with ‘why’,” says Bialek, “but Mr Walesa took them in his stride. Both the students and teachers were impressed by Mr Wałęsa’s easy contact with young people.”

Dorota Suchacz, our teacher contact in Poland, says that Mr Walesa’s popularity with the young is that he can understand and speak their language. At the end of the meeting, Wałęsa was awarded the school’s 'Primus inter Pares' medal.

Wałęsa is a politician and a former trade union and human rights activist. He is the symbol of Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995. 

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20/05/2009 by: Petru Dumitru