The biggest group among this-year scholarship holders are people from Ukraine (30), while the rest come from Belarus (4), Russia (3), Armenia (3), Georgia (2), Moldova (1), Kazakhstan (1) and Kyrgyzstan (1). They are mostly academics, but also analysts, NGO workers, and civil servants.
The host of the academic year inauguration ceremony at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin was Prof. Radosław Dobrowolski, Vice-President for Research and International Cooperation, who welcomed the scholarship holders and guests. Wishes of successful studies in Poland were also conveyed by the Lublin Vice-Mayor Krzysztof Komorski, Director of Non-Investment Projects Department of the Lublin City Office Krzysztof Łątka, as well as Consul of Ukraine in General Consulate of Ukraine in Lublin Svitlana Horbovska, and the Secretary of the Consulate Ihor Ius.
Agnieszka Mazur, the PAFF Program Officer briefed the guests on the Polish-American Freedom Foundation activities, while Agata Wierzbowska-Miazga, the Leaders of Change Foundation President and CEO, told them about the history and aims of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program.
The inaugural lecture on global conflicts was given by Wojciech Janicki of UMCS, PhD.
Over the 10-day orientation session in Lublin, aimed at cultural and language preparation of scholarship holders to their year-long stay in Poland, the Kirklanders participated in East European Initiatives Congress, had meetings with Lublin local government and NGOs representatives, and attended Polish language classes. They also went on a sightseeing tours in Lublin and Kazimierz Dolny.
The objective of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program, implemented since 2000, is to share Polish experiences in transformation and European integration with representatives from the countries of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. The Program is in form of two-semester complementary studies at Polish universities, and since 2016 the offer has been extended with the Kirkland Research Program which is the one-semester course for academics. The program is currently addressed to candidates from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus as well as Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Under individual study programs, the scholarship holders study selected aspects of economics and management, public administration and business, law, social and political sciences.
In the years 2000-2018, 789 scholarship holders coming from 11 countries completed the program. Of that number 433 were from Ukraine, 147 from Belarus, 54 from Georgia, 48 from Russia, 29 from Armenia, 22 from Moldova, 18 from Kazakhstan, 12 from Lithuania, 10 from Slovakia, 8 from Azerbaijan, and 8 from Kyrgyzstan.
The program founder is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and its manager is the Leaders of Change Foundation.