This episode was recorded as a live broadcast on 23 March 2022.
Poland boasts a rich history of citizen engagement. It has the oldest constitution in Europe, and the renowned Solidarity movement lead the country’s transition to democracy in the early 90s. It has been an active member of NATO and the EU since the turn of the century – two decades on, Poland faces new challenges.
Changing migration patterns both in and out of the country are presenting Poland with the dual challenges of integrating newcomers and encouraging young people to set down roots. Meanwhile, Polish society faces changes to rural-urban dynamics, and questions over the role of religion and women’s rights. Turning to the economy, its energy sector is reliant on fossil fuels, and a just transition to renewables risks jeopardising energy security. Anxiety over the rising energy prices and living costs are compounded by rising global inflation. As Poland’s economy comes under pressure, will this threaten aspirations of joining the G20? Finally, Poland’s geopolitical objectives are being reshaped due to tensions with the EU over the rule of law and uncertainty in the geopolitical context with the rise of China and Russia. How will these global and national challenges shape the country’s future?
Jan Cienski – Jan is Senior Policy Editor at POLITICO in Europe. In 2014-2015 he was Poland correspondent for the Economist. From 2003 to 2014 he was the Warsaw bureau chief of the Financial Times. His main work was reporting on central Europe’s integration into the European Union, with its complicated political and economic consequences.
On the panel:
Dr Stanley Bill – Stanley is Director of the Slavonic Studies Section and Chair of the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES). He is founder and editor-at-large of the news and opinion website Notes from Poland, where he also hosts the NfP Podcast. Stanley works on twentieth-century Polish literature and culture, and on contemporary political discourse in Poland. He has particular interests in populist discourse, postcolonial interpretations of Polish cultural and political history, the poetics of the body, religion and secularization, and Polish-Ukrainian relations. In 2018, he received the Best Lecturer Award at the Annual Student-Led Teaching Awards from the Cambridge University Student Union.
Amb. Anna Clunes – Anna is the UK’s Ambassador to Poland. Prior to her current role she served as Director then Acting Director General of the Department for Exiting the European Union. She has previously directed the office for Economic Diplomacy and and office for Protocol in the FCDO, and has held various other roles in the department working on international relations, development, counter-terrorism, and communications.
Professor Katarzyna Pisarska – Katarzyna is a Polish social entrepreneur, civic activist, and academic. She is the Founder of the European Academy of Diplomacy, the Visegrad School of Political Studies, and a Co-Founder of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation and the Warsaw Security Forum in Poland. Currently, Prof. Pisarska is the Chair of the Warsaw Security Forum. She also presides over the Board of Directors of the European Academy of Diplomacy and the Foundation Council of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation. She is also the Vice President of the European Forum Alpbach in Austria, a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington D.C., and an Expert of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Amb. Piotr Wilczek -Piotr is Poland’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. In 2016-2021 he served as Poland’s Ambassador to the United States. Before joining the foreign service, he taught at the University of Warsaw as a tenured professor. He has been a coordinator and expert in many international research projects, a visiting professor and guest speaker at leading European and American universities (including Oxford, University of London, Harvard, Rice University, and the University of Chicago). He is an author of numerous books and journal articles.