Launched in 2004, the program is addressed to active university students and professionals from countries of Eastern Europe and other post-communist states. The objective of the program is to show participants the realities of Poland and the European Union as well as develop and strengthen professional and personal contacts between young leaders from Eastern Europe and their Polish hosts.
University students are offered a study tour of more than ten days to Poland; the eligible candidates are 18 to 21 years old, they come from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Students participating in the “STP” meet representatives of the Polish academic environment, civic organizations, leaders of public life; they also participate in lectures, workshops, seminars, and cultural events.
Students apply to the program individually. The tours are organized for mixed groups of about a dozen people coming from various countries. They are held twice a year, in the spring and the fall, and are managed by experienced Polish NGOs selected in an open competition. Study tours for students are coordinated by the Borussia Foundation from Olsztyn.
The offer for professionals is addressed to representatives of local governments, state administration, central state institutions, NGOs, media, education, and other professional groups from Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus, and Central Asia. The tours, aimed at sharing the Polish experiences in transformation and European integration, are held in cooperation with Polish NGOs, as well as central and local administration bodies.
After the Maidan events in 2014, special emphasis in contacts with Ukraine has been placed on sharing experience with people involved in local government reform and activities related to integration of Ukraine with EU structures. From 2004 to 2022, study tours to Poland were held for 6,655 citizens of Ukraine, including 4,508 professionals and 2,147 students.
The recruitment of participants in study tours for professionals is preceded by a letter of intent sent to the “STP” program office in Warsaw by an interested institution and its partner organization from the countries of the region, or by a Polish NGO or another institution.
Between 2004 and 2020, a total of 10,486 participants, including 3,615 university students and 6,871 professionals representing various environments took part in the study tours. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 300 experts and more than 200 students visited Poland every year.
Due to the pandemic and related restrictions in force, the study tours to Poland under the “STP” program were suspended from the spring of 2020 until the fall of 2021. Contacts with interested persons and alumni (students and professionals) were kept online. Among other things, webinars for alumni and a series of online meetings Neighbor Dialogues on local government in Poland and Ukraine were held.
At present, study tours to Poland are organized but restrictions related to pandemic situation and sanitary regime are taken into consideration.
Under the “Study Tours to Poland” Program, the Foundation supports the Warsaw Euro-Atlantic Summer Academy – WEASA – a joint initiative of of PAFF, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the College of Europe. The Academy offers two weeks of classes, based at the Natolin campus, and is addressed to experts from the EU Eastern Partnership countries, i.e. analysts, political and government advisors, think tank and NGO staff, civil servants, and journalists. In the years 2013–2016, the thematic scope of the Academy focused on political transformation, European integration, and transatlantic relations. Since 2017, WEASA’s main subjects have been digital challenges, in particular cybersecurity. The 10th WEASA edition, titled “Information war and the new geopolitical reality”, was mainly focused on Russia’s war against Ukraine and its consequences for the Region, Europe, and the rest of the world.
In total, the ten (2013-2022) WEASA editions attracted 456 people from Eastern Partnership countries and (since 2017) the Western Balkans, including: 44 participants from Armenia, 34 from Azerbaijan, 40 from Belarus, 82 from Georgia, 40 from Moldova, and 126 from Ukraine.
The Foundation has disbursed $7.502.911 in grants, including $320,534 for the current edition of the program.