The most numerous group among this-year’s scholarship holders are the citizens of Ukraine (35 people); the remaining came from Belarus (6 people), Russia (6 people), Armenia (1 person), Azerbaijan (1 person), Georgia (2 people), Kazakhstan (1 person), Kyrgyzstan (3 people), Uzbekistan (1 person), and Tajikistan (2 people). Most of them are academics, NGO workers, and civil servants.
At the inauguration ceremony at Jagiellonian University in Kraków the new scholarship holders were welcomed by Prof. Piotr Jedynak, Vice-President for Human Resources Policy and Finance. Agnieszka Mazur, PAFF Program Director informed the guests about the mission and activities of Polish-American Freedom Foundation, while Agata Wierzbowska-Miazga, President of the Leaders of Change Foundation spoke about the history and objectives of Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program.
The opening lecture on Change of Climate and the Future of Our Planet was given by Dr. eng. Iwona Kuczyńska, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków.
Over the 14-day introductory course on cultural and language aspects, held in Kraków and aimed at preparing scholarship holders to their stay in Poland (so-called “orientation”), there were lectures on history of Poland, workshops on cultural differences and adaptation at the time of pandemic, as well as meetings with representatives of NGOs. There were also Polish classes. Due to COVID-19 risk, some meetings were held online.
The objective of the program, implemented since 2000, is to share Polish experience in transformation with representatives from the countries of the Region during a two-semester complementary course of studies at a Polish university. In 2016 the Program offer was broadened with so-called Kirkland Research one-semester course for academics. The program is currently addressed to candidates coming from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Under 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 is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and the Program Manager is the Leaders of Change Foundation. Since 2019, part of scholarships under Kirkland Program are financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.
Over the period 2000-2020 the Program has been completed by 880 people from 13countries, including: 484 from Ukraine, 157 from Belarus, 58 from Georgia, 56 from Russia, 34 from Armenia, 24 from Moldova, 22 from Kazakhstan, 12 from Lithuania, 10 from Slovakia, 10 from Azerbaijan, 10 from Kyrgyzstan, 2 from Uzbekistan, and 1 person from Tajikistan.