• August 27, 2016
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Kasner, Widacki, Radziwiłł – Giedroyć Prize was awarded

Małgorzata Kasner PhD, Jan Widacki prof. and duke Maciej Radziwiłł were laureates of Jerzy Giedroyć Prize, which was awarded on Friday. A prize for contribution in Polish-Lithuanian relations awarded by the Jerzy Giedroyć Polish-Lithuanian Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation

The Ceremony of the statuettes awarding was held in the Chodkiewicz Palace in Vilnius. The welcoming speech was delivered by the prime minister and the last year’s prize laureate  Valdas Adamkus. The prime minister was talking about the meaning of friendship between the nations.

“ I had an opportunity to work with all prime ministers of free Poland- Lech Wałęsa, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Lech Kaczyński, Bronisław Komorowski and Andrzej Duda. I was also privileged to know Adam Michnik, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. Mutual understanding and respect, which associated those contacts, are one of the most beautiful experience of my life. That is why I am upset by lack of agreement, mutual insults and dignities- things that destroy out trust, and make us weaker and fragile, both in political and spiritual meaning. “ – noticed Valdas Adamkus.

„I would desire and I wish us do not yield to this. Let’s do not allow to be drawn into this trap of mistrust. A great number of people have been honestly working for a long period, in order to create our relations, based on prudence and trust. Let’s do not waste this richness. Let’s remember about the history lessons- about the results of our nations and countries disputes, and who benefits them” – added the prime minister.

A chairman of the Jerzy Giedroyć Polish-Lithuanian Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation  Alvydas Nikžentaitis prof., talking about this year election of prize laureates stressed that it was held in a completely democratic way- the candidates could be proposed by all forum members. Two of eighteen candidates- Małgorzata Kasner and Jan Widacki- became leaders very quickly. In turn, Maciej Radziwiłł candidature was nominated in cooperation along with the Polish-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce. All laureates were awarded the statuettes of  “Dąb Jagiełły i Witolda” by a sculptor Stefan Wierzbicki.

„ I am going back home”

The laudation in honour of Małgorzata Kasner –  a PhD in literary studies, a  former director of the Polish Institute in Vilnius – was delivered by the director of Lithuanian Art Museum Romuald Budrys.

“I have the honour of introduction a personality, who within decades was not only visible in Lithuanian cultural life, but she also enriched it. The prize is awarded not for one particular merit, but for a contribution in restoration and cooperation of Poland, Lithuania and the Central-Eastern Europe. What can one person do in such a complicated process? A men should always be a decent men, humanist, professional in his field- then his words and deeds make sense, and he discovers peace, mainly inside himself, to pass it to other people then. And that is exactly the description of Małgorzata Kasner.”- said Romuald Budrys

„A diplomatic serve is not easy. Vilnius was, is and forever will be a common place of Lithuanians and Poles memory. The history of these nationalities, predictions and stereotypes mainly derives from the XIX century or interwar and do not always serve diplomats’ noble goals. Thanks to good manners, erudition, extensive world view, tolerance, ability to overcome stereotypes, honest respect towards everything, what is Lithuanian and at the same time the ability to present, in a very subtle way, her country in Lithuania, helped Małgorzata PhD to overcome the barriers of mistrust” – stressed director Budrys.

„In 2005 I was awarded by the Parliament of Lithuania with a wonderful Felicja Bortkevičienė Prize. The Jerzy Giedroyć Prize, is a prize which, in a beautiful way, connects with this first presentation of respect to my activity in Lithuania.. I suppose, that two such unbreakable personalities from the first half of the XX century always looked in the future, did not yield to particular interests, but always took care of their nation’s interests and wrote the future of their nations and counties, which were to build, in the European future”- reminded Małgorzata Kasner in her speech.

“ I am always overcome with emotion, when I come back home, to Lithuania. Not because I am afraid of these meetings, talks, challenges. For me, the searching of a common way is always important and I never know, whether this time I manage to choose the proper one, which will lead me to a men, with who I will be able to change the world. Now, I and the other laureates start a new route, which will be full of tasks and work” – added Kasner PhD.

A person of truth

“Jan Widacki is a person of outstanding merit for Polish-Lithuanian relations. But I have a problem, because there is not only one word to describe this person. Jan Widacki is a lawyer, professor, diplomat, ambassador, politician, social activist, journalist, attorney, distinguished consul, former Parliament member and this list is never ending. What does combine all these positions? In my opinion Jan Widacki it is a person of truth. Both towards his motherland Poland, and in European and world matters, this man often holds a position, not convenient for everyone, but a position which unambiguously may be called quest of truth. He is convinced that only truth, facts, neither illusions and myths, even very romantic, but comfortable, might solve a particular problem, create real relations based on partnership between ordinary people, between the heads of states and between the whole states” – said in his laudation the European Union ambassador in Russia Vygaudas Ušackas.

Jan Widacki thanking for the prize, admitted, that in a way, Jerzy Giedroyć, was a mentor to him.

“Giedroyć was a visionary, but simultaneously he was a person, who perfectly understood realities of a contemporary world. He was, a person who shaped my and my generation way of thinking about eastern politics, but also about the Polish-Lithuanian, Polish-Belorussian and Polish-Ukrainian relations. He also shaped our attitude towards history, politics, and our reluctance towards huge nationalisms, however they are called- recently they have been called the real patriotism”- said Widacki.

„Mythicized history, intrinsically is a fake history. And do not we, it this part of Europe, have a tendency to mythicize history? Do we have enough moral and intellectual strength, to look at our history in a critical way and with distance? Do we not simultaneously have a temptation to build something what, we euphemistically, call a historical politics. Does not this historical politics is for us some form of raising our value and breaking of complexes? Historical politics based on fake, because mythicized history, basically is a fake politics. In addition, in principle, impossible to be reconciled with neighbours’ historical politics. It is something that must lead to conflicts”- emphasized Widacki prof., also discussing on new threatens and problems for Europe and for the entire world steam both from terrorism and imperialistic inclinations of Russia, and willing of some political powers, to use the fear of these phenomena for their purposes.

The history alternates with business

“Before more than a year, when the Polish Chamber of Commerce was created, its founders did not only think about the development of business relations. In days of freedom of movement of services and commodities, the organisation helping to lead the business abroad, is not necessary. We were thinking about something different- to contribute to make our countries closer to each other. At that time, appeared a suggestion to distinguish a person whose personal example embodies the international business success connecting these two countries. That is the reason why we accepted, with a huge enthusiasm, the offer of Giedroyć Forum, to award this prize together” – recounts the chairman of Polish-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce  Jarosław Niewierowicz.

The laureate of this year’s Jerzy Giedroyć Prize in the business category, duke Maciej Radziwiłł, a descendant of a well-known noble house, was a initiator of merger of Polish company Trakcja with Lithuanian “Kauno tiltai”.

„It is a today’s example of a successful, regional merger of companies, simultaneously achieving a very interesting synergy in sectors, where they function. At that time he was talking, that he wants to become closer our nations also through economic activities. He still works actively as an investor and manager in building, service and agricultural sectors. A great feature of a person is the ability to share his own success and inspire others. In this way, may be described Maciej Madziwiłł activity, which supports various cultural, museum and historical undertakings” – mentioned laureate’s merits Jarosław Niewierowicz.

„A few years ago, we created one of the most successful, one of the biggest Polish-Lithuanian economic ventures. Why did not anyone else manage to do it, whereas we did? I do not know, I suppose that it is quite easy- we talk a lot, we respect each other, we do not quarrel, and again, we talk. For the first time, I met partners, who for many years were business associates, when I came for the most weird funeral in my life, when we buried, for the second time, Makołąj Czany and Rudy. The history has always alternated with business, it still does anyway, since thanks to my friends’ from Kauno tiltai agreement we support different cultural, historical, museum ventures”- said duke Maciej Radziwiłł, thanking for a honourable mention.

The Jerzy Giedroyć Polish-Lithuanian Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation  was founded in 2012 on the initiative of Polish and Lithuanian intellectuals. For the first time the Jerzy Giedroyć Award was given in 2014.A rule has been established saying that Lithuanian and Polish sides will award the prize alternately each year. In 2014 the Lithuanian intellectuals honoured Adam Michnik, the editor of “Gazeta Wyborcza”, and Bogdan Szlachta prof. dr hab, the dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. In 2015 the Polish intellectuals honoured Valdas Adamkus, the president of Lithuania, and Tomas Venclova, a poet and translator

Translated by Aneta Banacka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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