WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright will commemorate the legacy of Polish Solidarity adviser Bronislaw Geremek with the Atlantic Council on June 18. The visionary democracy activist and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Poland passed suddenly in July 2008, and the Council quickly established an annual lecture series in his name to honor and preserve his democratic ideals.
For the inaugural Bronislaw Geremek Lecture, Secretary Albright will discuss Professor Geremek’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic values in light of the pressing concerns facing Europe today. President and CEO of the Atlantic Council Frederick Kempe praised the professor’s courage: “Bronislaw Geremek wielded more than just his brilliant mind to challenge the post-World War II order that had left Poland and much of Europe unfree. He acted on those convictions at considerable personal risk as a key adviser to Poland’s Solidarity movement and its leader Lech Walesa. It was a role that landed him in jail for a time, but it also put him at the center of Poland’s democratic transformation. His actions helped change his country, Europe and the world.”
Born in 1932 and smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto as a young boy, Professor Geremek was a leading figure in the Polish democracy movement and a prominent dissident by the 1970s. He actively supported the Gdansk trade union protests in 1980 and was interned for a year after martial law was declared in December 1981. Upon release, he worked alongside Lech Walesa in Solidarity and played a critical role in the movement’s 1989 Polish Round Table Talks with the Communist Party, resulting in Poland’s first free parliamentary elections. As the Polish Foreign Minister from 1997 to 2000, Geremek oversaw Poland’s accession into NATO in March 1999, developing a close friendship with Dr. Albright throughout the process. He was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 until his passing.
The Atlantic Council aims to renew the Atlantic community for 21st-century global challenges through constructive U.S.-European leadership and engagement in world affairs. A coordinated response from the Atlantic community is essential to addressing today’s most pressing issues: economic instability, climate change, energy security, failed states, a rising Asia, a resurgent Russia. Led by Senator Chuck Hagel, Chairman, and Fred Kempe, President and CEO, the Atlantic Council embodies a network of policy, academic and business leaders who foster transatlantic ties through non-partisan and cross-national discussions and studies.