Traditionally the joint diploma awards ceremony is held at the University of Warsaw, however this year due to the pandemic situation five smaller ceremonies were organized in all scholarship holders affiliation cities – Kraków, Lublin, Poznań, Warszawa, and Wrocław. The meetings were attended by scholarship holders’ tutors as well as by Kirkland Program regional coordinators and animators.
Diplomas were presented by representatives of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the Leaders of Change Foundation to 43 scholarship holders. Twenty of this year’s scholarship holders graduated with honors. Some of them also received honors for progress in learning Polish or for their social activity. “That was an exceptionally hard time. Over a few months you were bravely enduring isolation, distance learning and online meetings. We are glad you all managed to complete your studies and gain new experiences, make new friends, and acquire new energy to work further. We hope this scholarship will be an impulse for you to achieve further successes,” said PAFF Program Director Agnieszka Mazur who addressed the scholarship holders at the academic year-end ceremony in Kraków.
This year’s scholarship holders came from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan who participated for the first time in the Kirkland Program. The most numerous group were analysts, academics, NGO representatives and civil servants. This year’s graduates have joined a group of 832 Program alumni. There were also 5 scholarship holders under the Kirkland Research path who did their research internships in Poland in the first term of the 2019/20 academic year.
The objective of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program, launched 20 years ago, is to share the Polish experiences in transformation and European integration with representatives of Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia through one-year supplementary courses at Polish universities. Since 2016 the Program also offers one-semester courses for academics under the Kirkland Research path. Currently the Program is addressed to citizens of 11 countries. Under individual courses the Kirkland scholarship holders study selected aspects of economics and management, public administration and business, law, social and political sciences.
The founder of the Program is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and the Manager is the Leaders of Change Foundation.