Lech Walesa Awards for Pro-democratic Activism

Lech Walesa Awards for Pro-democratic Activism

Warsaw, 17 March 2014.

Lech Walesa Awards for Pro-democratic Activism


The Lech Walesa Award will be presented for the 7th time. The Lech Walesa Institute encourages everyone to submit nominations of individuals and institutions from Poland and other countries. During the ceremony to be held in Gdansk on 29 September, the Winner will receive a diploma, a statuette, and a financial recognitions of 100, 000 USD.                                                                                                       

Twenty five years ago, during the Round Table talks, we struggled for as wide as possible opening of the door leading to freedom and democracy. The dialogue undertaken then was yet another major step on the challenging way to satisfy freedom aspirations of our nation, while at the same time it became an inspiration to democratic transformation in many corners of the world. For 25 years now we have been living in free and democratic Poland, consolidating our position in Europe and worldwide. Our Polish questions, however, should not serve as an excuse to us not to care about other nations which still need to claim their basic rights and democratic values. They’re the ones I dedicate the Award to,  says Lech Walesa who established the Lech Walesa Award in 2008 in order to honour and support activism of individuals, institutions, and social movements promoting respect for human rights, and cooperation among nations.

It is impossible to overestimate the support that was provided to the activity of Lech Walesa by the decision of the Nobel Committee in 1983, emphasizes Piotr Gulczyński, President of the Board of The Lech Walesa Institute. At the same time, the Nobel Prize obliged Poles to undertake further efforts, which eventually led to establishing a dialogue of unprecedented importance and impact, the Round Table talks. Today, 25 years after those breakthrough events we can and should be sharing the experience we then gained with others, that’s what the Award established by President Lech Walesa is meant to do, explains Piotr Gulczyński.

The Award is presented annually on 29 September, on Lech Walesa’s Birthday, bringing together illustrious guests from Poland and other countries. Since 2009 the ceremony has been held at Gdansk’s Artus Manor. Nominations for the Lech Walesa Award can be submitted by everyone, yet they have to be justified with the description of the Candidate’s activity. Out of all the nominations the Winner is selected by the Award’s Chapter chaired by President Lech Walesa, adds Piotr Gulczynski. This year’s submissions are to be provided by 30 June.


Award’s Chapter

It will be for the 7thh time that the Winner is chosen by the Award Chapter chaired by President Lech Walesa and including: Stanislav Shushkevich, former Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus; Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Poland’s former Prime Minister; Bernard Kouchner, France’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Władysław Bartoszewski, Poland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Emil Constantinescu, Romania’s former President; Rita Suessmuth, former President of the Bundestag; and Zbigniew Jagiełło, President of PKO Bank Polski.

The Chapter perceives and appreciates the effort of individuals and institutions who care for human rights, ideals of solidarity, openness to other people’s views, cooperation above divisions, and subsequently, the skill to promote such attitudes, says Piotr Gulczyński.

President Lech Walesa will present the Winner with a statuette as well as a financial recognition of 100,000 USD to be allocated to his or her activity, founded by the Award’s exclusive Partner PKO Bank Polski.

Previous Award’s Editions (2008-2013):

Up to-date the Lech Walesa Award has been presented six times, subsequently to the following:

  • King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, awarded for the promotion of inter-faith dialogue and efforts to bring peace to the Middle East;
  • Shadi Sadr, the Ladan sisters, and Roya Boroumand, Iranian female activists for human rights and the rights of women;
  • Polska Akcja Humanitarna (Polish Humanitarian Action) and its founder Janina Ochojska for supporting the ideal of humanitarian solidarity through charity;
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brasilia’s former President, for his contribution towards peaceful understanding and solidarity in cooperation among nations, particularly for consolidating the position of the developing countries on the international arena and his efforts to level social inequality;
  • Alexander Balatsky, Belarussian dissident, honoured for his endeavours to democratize Belarus, active promotion of human rights, and assistance provided to the individuals persecuted by the current Belarusian authorities;
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky,  Russian businessman, for the courage in promoting civil society values; for determination to establish foundations of economic freedom; and for the unwavering struggle for justice and human dignity.

Nominations for the 2014 Lech Walesa Award are to be submitted by 30 June 2014 through filling the form available at The Lech Walesa Institute Website.

Please send the hard copy of the filled form to:

Fundacja Instytut Lecha Wałęsy

Al. Jerozolimskie 11\19

00-508 Warszawa


or e-mail it to: lechwalesaaward@ilw.org.pl

The submissions should include the following:

  • Nominee’s first name and surname or Organization’s full name
  • Contact information
  • Description of the Nominee’s activity
  • Justification for the Award.

More information available at the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation website: www.ilw.org.pl, or that of the ‘Solidarity for the Future’ Programme: www.solidarnoscdlaprzyszlosci.pl

The exclusive Partner and founder of the Lech Walesa Award is the PKO Bank Polski.

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