About

Solidarity Academy is an international project aimed at inspiring and supporting the development of the young intellectual elites across Europe. The project’s title refers to the Polish social movement Solidarność (Solidarity) and the peaceful socio-political transformations that took place in Poland and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Solidarity Academy, created by the European Solidarity Centre, has been gathering the young intellectual elites for more than 10 years.

In such movements we can find inspiration for solving the problems of the modern world. Workshops and tasks that the participants deal with are both theoretical and practical. The participants have the opportunity to work in a big, international team, in smaller expert groups and individually under the supervision of a trainer.

Each individual engaged in the project (participants, trainers, facilitators and organizers) benefit from that format. Organizers also encourage participants from various editions to get to know each other.

The workshops culminate in a public debate and a series of articles prepared by participants.

Main goals

One of the main aim of the Solidarity Academy 2017 is not only to extend the network of cooperation, but also to deepen, strengthen and enrich the pool of young ambitious and sensitive journalists we have gathered during all 5 editions of the new form of the Solidarity Academy. As we emphasized many times – dialogue and cooperation beyond a broadly understood concept of borders is essential to meet the challenges of modern times. This is why we are trying to put a special emphasis on the Solidarity Academy Graduation Programme, which is conceived as a space of exchange, cooperation and new initiatives.

As a part of the Graduation Programme, Solidarity Academy graduates publish regular articles, reviews, essays, political analyses and opinion pieces in bimonthly journal New Eastern Europe and on the Eastbook.eu portal. Graduates also become ambassadors for the project in their respective countries. They establish local initiatives reflective of the Solidarity Academy spirit, popularize it in their own countries and help organizers contact their countries’ representatives. What is more since 2016 there is organized a contest for the best text published in the previous year.

Editions

The project has been implemented since 2007. The number of its graduates has reached over 300 now. Although the first 8 editions had a different form. In 2013 the organizers decided to change its direction. The evaluation of the last five editions has shown that such direction is worth continuing.

Limiting the number to 16 participants has enabled an individual approach to everyone, and the development of a personal relationship with the organizers. A networking space, based on active engagement from all members, was created as a result. All the project’s participants had a chance to get to know each other and share their experiences. Division into small groups has also enabled more workshop-like activities, which allow for thoughts and experiences to be exchanged.

Each edition of Solidarity Academy has a specific theme. In 2013 the theme was the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, in 2014 – the Ukrainian crisis.

The 2015 edition was dedicated to Polish – Russian relations, with an additional focus on border traffic between Russia’s Kaliningrad oblast and Poland’s Pomeranian and Warminsko-Mazurskie Voivodeships. In the year 2016 two editions of the Solidarity Academy were organized: the Visegrad Group edition and Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue.

Organizers & Partners

In 2016 the the Visegrad Group edition of Academy – in partnership with Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů (Czech Republic), Ad hoc(Slovakia), József Attila Kör (Hungary) – is supported by the International Visegrad Fund.

In 2016 the Solidarity Academy Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue – in partnership with The Common Europe Foundation – editorial office of Eastbook.eu(Poland), The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Germany), The Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College in Wroclaw – editorial office of the New Eastern Europe (Poland), Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, office in Kaliningrad (Germany), The Schleswig-Holstein Youth Council (Germany) – is co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 2015 the Academy was supported by the The Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understandingthe Marshal of Pomeranian Voivodeship and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.