Historian Wojciech Roszkowski Named To Miller Centers Kosciuszko
Chair In Polish Studies
16, 2000 -- Wojciech Roszkowski, formerly director
of the Institute of Political Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences
in Warsaw, has been named as the first professor to hold the Kosciuszko
Chair in Polish Studies at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.
While at the center, he will conduct studies on 20th-century
Polish history, politics and democratic transformation.
Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies was inaugurated at the Miller
Center in October 1998, after completion of a $500,000 chair endowment
campaign. At that time, Lech Walesa, former president of the Republic
of Poland and chairman of the honorary committee for the establishment
of the chair, said, "We can work together only when we know
each other. Lack of knowledge causes misunderstanding, prejudice
and conflict. ... From the time of [Gen. Casimir] Pulaski and [Tadeusz]
Kosciuszko, the contributions of Polish ethnic groups have been
part of the American cultural heritage. I believe that the chair
will keep this heritage alive." Pulaski and Kosciuszko both
fought with the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War; Kosciuszko
was a friend of Thomas Jefferson, and the two often discussed democracy
Kosciuszko chair could not have become a reality without the sponsorship
of the American Institute of Polish Culture and the personal generosity,
vision and leadership of its president and founder, Lady Blanka
A. Rosenstiel. For the greater part of a decade, Rosenstiel worked
closely with Miller Center senior scholar Kenneth W. Thompson, then
the centers director, to organize a series of conferences,
forums, and small group discussions at the Miller Center focusing
on the Polish constitution, its government, and some of the central
challenges facing the country as it becomes a democracy.
this period, we became acquainted with Polish leaders in education,
the legislature and the courts," Thompson said. "We came
to realize the similarities and differences between Poland and other
Western countries, particularly the United States. What became clear
to all of us was that Poland has a rich tradition of constitutional
government, history, culture and economic development. This led
naturally to our desire to create a permanent form of study, discussions
and writing on Polish society and governance."
also has been a professor of history at the Warsaw School of Economics.
He has held research and teaching positions at the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars, Georgetown University and the
University of Maryland. His books include Half a Century: World
Political History After 1945 and Land Reforms in Central
Europe after World War I. He has written extensively for such
publications as East European Quarterly and the Journal of European
Economic History, and he contributes often to programs on Radio
Free Europe, Voice of America and the BBC.
welcome the appointment of Professor Wojciech Roszkowski as holder
of the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at the Miller Center,"
Rosenstiel said. " He is certain to fulfill our vision for
the advancement of Polish studies in the United States and to enhance
American understanding of the history, culture, government and economy
of Poland as it takes its place again among modern European states.
The friendship between Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Thomas Jefferson began
with their common interests in freedom and liberty for their countries.
It is fitting that this chair be established at Mr. Jeffersons
Miller Center at the University of Virginia links the local and
University community to the wider world of national and international
affairs. The center is also among the countrys premier sites
for studying and understanding the American presidency and the executive
branch of government.
Margaret Edwards, (804) 924-7236