Poland, the EU’s 5th largest member in terms of population, has been experiencing record economic development over the last decades. Interestingly, its inhabitants trust the EU more than their own government, as recent polls show. At the same time, the country has been criticized in recent years for its judicial reforms, environmental policies, and attitude towards migration.
Trying to understand Poland’s current challenges requires grappling with its turbulent past.
Roughly one century ago, in 1918, the country was reborn as a sovereign state after 123 years of struggle for independence. It later lost 6 million lives to World War Two, became a satellite state in the Soviet sphere of influence, and finally joined the EU in 2004. Meanwhile, Switzerland provided a safe haven for Polish freedom fighters in the 19th century and took in 12’500 Polish soldiers during the Second World War. Since Switzerland extended the free movement of persons to this country in 2006, the number of Polish nationals residing in Switzerland has increased fivefold and now amounts to more than 30’000 persons. With almost 500 million CHF and 58 projects, Poland has also been the largest beneficiary of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution (2007-2017). Today both countries maintain a strong relationship through economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.
In order to explore this fascinating country, the Swiss Study Foundation will conduct a study trip to Poland from 4th to 12th September 2020. Through various excursions and exchanges with local academics, politicians, businesses, diplomats, think tanks, NGOs, and fellow students, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about Poland’s history, its current challenges, and its future development.
Location: Cracow and Warsaw
Time plan: Friday 04.09. to Monday 07.09. in Cracow, followed by five days in Warsaw until Saturday 12.09
Working language: English
Lead: Vincent Barras, Alumnus of the Swiss Study Foundation and Diplomatic Attaché at the Swiss Embassy in Poland
Coordination: Dr. Sarah Beyeler
Administration: Nathalie Ellington
Participants: max. 20
Costs: CHF 300.00. All other costs (flights, hotels, etc.) are covered by the Swiss Study Foundation.
Reader: A reader will be sent to all participants ahead of the study trip. Besides doing the required readings, the participants are expected to do preparatory work for a social media campaign on Swiss-Polish relations for Twitter and Instagram.
Gerhard Gnauck – Polen verstehen: Geschichte, Politik, Gesellschaft
Günter Grass – die Danziger Trilogie: Die Blechtrommel (1959), Katz und Maus (1961), Hundejahre (1963)
Jan Karski – Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World (on WW2 and the Holocaust)
Olga Tokarczurk (2018 Nobel Prize in Literature) – Bieguni (2007), English version Flights, (2018), Deutsche Version Unrast (2009)
Stanisław Bareja – Teddy Bear (1981)
Paweł Pawlikowski – Ida (2013), Cold War (2018)
Roman Polanski – The Pianist (2002)
Andrzej Wajda – Katyń (2007), Walesa: Man of Hope (2013)