45 scholarship holders from 8 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia have started their university courses in Poland. On September 18, a ceremony opening the 16th round of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program was held at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.
Among this-year scholarship holders the most numerous is the group from Ukraine (33 people), the remaining ones come from Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. They include mainly lawyers, economists and journalists, but also local administration employees and NGO activists.
The new scholarship holders were welcomed by Vice Rector for Science and International Cooperation, Prof. Jacek Witkoś.
Agnieszka Mazur, the PAFF Program Officer, presented the guests with the Polish-American Freedom Foundation as well as the structure and objectives of the Kirkland Program. Next, together with Urszula Sobiecka, the Kirkland Program Officer of the Education for Democracy Foundation (the Program Manager), she introduced the scholarship holders.
The inaugural lecture on „Bologna Process as the basis for equaling the educational opportunities and the chance for cooperation with non-EU countries” was given by Krystyna Łybacka, Ph.D., former Minister of National Education and Sport, at present Member of the European Parliament.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Poznań City Hall, tutors as well as regional coordinators and the social-and-cultural animators of the Kirkland Program in Poznań.
In their first days of the visit to Poland, the scholarship holders visited the Old Town in Poznań and the Porta Posnania ICHOT, where they met the Poznan Vice President Mariusz Wiśniewski, and local community animator Anna Żygulska. Their tourist agenda also included visits to the cradles of Polish nationhood, Gniezno and Biskupin, as well as Rogalin, Museum of Środa Region – Mansion in Koszuty, and the Arkady Fiedler Museum in Puszczykówek.
During the next week of preparatory program in Poznań, the scholarship holders will meet deputy marshal of Wielkopolskie province Wojciech Jankowiak and will attend lectures on Polish economic and political transformation, and on the history of Poland. Among the lecturers who the scholarship holders will have the opportunity to listen to, there are Prof. Hanna Suchocka, Prof. Paweł Churski, Prof. Krzysztof Podemski and Prof. Stanisław Jankowiak.
The inaugural meeting is part of a 10-day course aimed at preparing the program participants to their year- long stay in Poland, in the area of culture and Polish language.
Implemented since 2000, the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program aims at sharing the Polish experiences in political transformation with representatives of the East European countries. This is done in the form of two-semester supplementary studies at Polish universities. Currently it is addressed to applicants from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. As part of individual tutorship the scholarship holders study selected aspects of economy and management, public administration and business, law, social and political sciences. The initiator and founder of the program is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. The program is managed by the Education for Democracy Foundation. Since the beginning of the program, the two-semester supplementing courses have been completed by 654 people from 11 countries, including 340 from Ukraine, 133 from Belarus, 46 from Georgia, 40 from Russia, 24 from Armenia, 18 from Kazakhstan, 18 from Moldova, 12 from Lithuania, 10 from Slovakia, 6 from Azerbaijan and 7 from Kyrgyzstan. The majority of them study economy and management, law and public administration.