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The Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award is a form of honoring individuals and institutions for their outstanding contribution to Poland’s regained independence, the overthrow of communism and the shaping and development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe as well as approaching the state as a common good.

The award was established in 2004 by Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, the City of Wrocław, Wrocław University, the Ossoliński National Institute and the College of Eastern Europe. The award is presented each year in June at the Ossoliński National Institute.

Laureates of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award

Tomas Venclova, a Lithuanian poet, writer, scholar, philologist and translator of literature is the recipient of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award 2015 for his „creative work remaining true to values representing the cornerstone of the European civilization.”

The presentation of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was held on June 7th, 2014. Its recipient was Professor Zbigniew Brzeziński, an outstanding political scientist and international-affairs expert and former national-security adviser to US President Jimmy Carter. Professor Brzeziński was awarded for his „contribution to the creation of a sovereign and democratic Poland as well as to its induction into Euro-Atlantic structures.”

In 2013 the recipient of the award was the Kultura Literary Institute, established in 1946 by Jerzy Giedroyć. The 2013 Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was collected by Wojciech Sikora, President of the Kultura Literary Institute Association in Paris. The presentation ceremony was held on June 4th at the Ossoliński National Institute. The Literary Institute was awarded for „its consistent and effective post-war activity benefiting a sovereign Poland bound to Europe, convincing Poles to support the independence aspirations of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus as well as cultivating ties with Russians struggling for democracy in their country.”

The 2012 award recipient was politician Valdas Adamkus, twice elected as President of the Republic of Lithuania, involved in building democracy in independent Lithuania and an active proponent of environmental protection. The presentation ceremony was held on 4th June2012 at Ossoliński National Institute in Wrocław. Adamkus was honored with the award for his „consistent support for the idea of collaboration among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Poland and Lithuania in particular.”

The 2011 award laureate was Jerzy Koźmiński, Poland’s former ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC, Deputy Foreign Minister and since 2000 President of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. He was honored for his „effective efforts to promote Poland’s accession to NATO and consistent support for market and democratic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe.”

In 2010, the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was presented to Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, the architect of Poland’s economic reform known as the „Balcerowicz plan.” He was honored for his „knowledge, courage and effectiveness in leading Poland’s economy from communism to capitalism.”

The 2009 Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award went to Václav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic. The presentation ceremony was held at the auditorium of Ossoliński National Institute in Wrocław on June 3rd, 2009, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Poland’s partially free parliamentary elections of 1989.

The 2008 prize was awarded to civil-rights defender Professor Sergei Kovalev, an activist of Russia’s Memorial Association and a great friend of Poland and Poles. For the first time the presentation ceremony was held in the forecourt of the Ossoliński National Institute.

In 2007, the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was presented to Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. For reasons of health the cardinal could not come in person to receive the award, therefore it was presented to him in his Paris apartment. Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger died on August 5th, 2007, several weeks after receiving the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award.

The 2006 recipient of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was Professor Stanislav Shushkevich, former chairman of the Supreme Council of Belarus. In 1991, together with Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk he “dissolved” the Soviet Union by signing an agreement to that effect in Białowieża Forest, a sprawling primeval woodland straddling the Polish-Belarusian frontier. Professor Shushkevich is an advocate of the Europeanisation of Belarus and its accession to European and Atlantic structures.

The Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award in 2005 went to the 41st President of the United States, George Bush Senior. It was presented in Wrocław and at the Bush residence near Boston. At the Wrocław ceremony, President Bush was represented by his grandson Padraick Bush.

The first recipient of the Nowak-Jeziorański Award, presented during Nowak-Jeziorański’s lifetime, was the first Prime Minister of post-communist Poland, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. The ceremony was held in November 2004 on the eve of Poland’s Independence Day (11th November) at the Ossoliński National Institute.