On September 26, the official inauguration of new Kirkland Program and Kirkland Research round took place at University of Opole. A total of 49 scholarship holders from 10 countries of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia started their studies in five academic centers in Poland.
The scholarship holders were welcomed by: Prof. Izabella Pisarek, Vice-Rector for Academica and Student Affairs at UO, Prof. Agnieszka Dołhańczuk-Śródka, Director of Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology at UO, Prof. Daniel Janecki, Vice-Director of Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology at UO, and Dr. Eng. Dariusz Suszanowicz, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology at UO.
President of the Leaders of Change Foundation Agata Wierzbowska-Miazga presented the history and objectives of Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program.
The opening lecture on ‘Silesia – the Place Where We Are, Historical and Cultural Outline’ was given by Michał Jakubik.
The biggest group among this year’s Kirklanders came from Ukraine (7 people); the others came from Kazakhstan (6 people), Belarus and Georgia (5 people from each country), Azerbaijan (4 people), Armenia and Kyrgyzstan (2 people from each country), Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (1 person from each country). The Kirkland Research Path will be done by 7 scholars from Ukraine (6 people) and Moldova (1 person). Most of the scholarship holders chose studies in management, social sciences and law.
During the 10-day orientation program aimed at preparing the scholarship holders to their stay in Poland with respect to cultural and language aspects, the participants of the Program attended lectures on history of Poland, workshops on cultural differences and time management during their stay in Poland, as well as meetings with representatives of NGOs. They also had classes of Polish.
The objective of Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program, launched in 2000, is to share the Polish experiences in transformation with representatives of the Region. It takes place during two-semester complementary courses at Polish universities. In 2016 the offer was supplemented with one-semester course for scholars – Kirkland Research path. The program is currently addressed to candidates from Ukraine, Belarus, as well as Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
In the course of their individual programs, the scholarship holders study selected aspects of economics and management, public administration and business, law, social and political sciences. The initiator and founder of the program is Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and its Manager is the Leaders of Change Foundation. Since 2019, part of scholarships under the Kirkland Program has been financed from the resources of Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.
Over the years 2000-2022 the Program has been completed by 986 people coming from 13 countries, including: 540 from Ukraine, 175 from Belarus, 62 from Georgia, 69 from Russia, 36 from Armenia, 24 from Moldova, 24 from Kazakhstan, 12 from Lithuania, 10 from Slovakia, 11 from Azerbaijan, 15 from Kyrgyzstan, and 4 from Uzbekistan and 4 from Tajikistan.