WASHINGTON, DC – Senator John McCain and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski will deliver the Atlantic Council’s second annual Geremek Lecture on March 1st. In light of Senator McCain’s recent trip to the Middle East, the lecture will touch on global democracy movements and their connection to and inspiration by the Solidarity Movement, led in part by Professor Bronislaw Geremek. Senator McCain will also be awarded the Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland which is awarded to foreigners or Poles resident abroad who have rendered great service to the Polish state.

Said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, “Upheavals in the Mideast have reminded us that questions of democratic change and good governance are as crucial today as they were 30 years ago at the birth of Poland’s solidarity movement. How the U.S. and its allies respond marks the most crucial moment of the transatlantic relationship for the Obama administration.”

Launched in 2009 with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the lecture series was founded as a tribute to Professor Geremek, a legendary leader of the Solidarity movement and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Professor Geremek was an architect and founding father of a modern and democratic Poland and Europe.

Senator John McCain is one of the most outspoken advocates for democracy and human rights. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Senator McCain served 22 years as a naval aviator, including five-and-half years as a Prisoner of War at the “Hanoi Hilton.” First elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1986, Senator McCain is the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he has been a strong supporter of NATO enlargement. He has been a consistent and forceful voice speaking up for justice, democratic values, and individual rights for those who aspire to freedom across the globe, and particularly in Russia and Europe’s East.

Chairman of the Students’ Strike Committee in 1981, former political refugee and reporter covering the wars in Afghanistan and Angola, Sikorski has played key roles in securing Poland’s democracy, guiding Poland into NATO, and transforming Poland into a leader within the European Union. Today, he is a strong and articulate advocate for democratic movements and human rights, which are still inspired by a strong message and unwavering commitment of Solidarity.