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CREECA LECTURE: Since 1989 – Poland’s Democratic Experience

February 18, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

Don Pienkos, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Co-Sponsored by the Polish Heritage Club of Madison, Wisconsin.


This talk will be given over Zoom: REGISTER HERE. 


Poland’s President Lech Walesa (right) and Don Pieknos (left) in Warsaw in August 1994.

In 1989, Poland, thanks primarily to the efforts of the Solidarity movement, emerged from 44 years of Soviet domination to establish a new system of representative democratic government. Given its people’s extremely difficult situation at that time, coupled with Poland’s failed experience with democratic governance in the years after its national rebirth in 1918, few observers were hopeful about the chances for democratic governance after 1989. Why they were proven wrong, how Polish democracy has developed over the past three decades, and what we can learn from Poland’s experience – both from its successes and its challenges – are covered in this talk.

Donald Pienkos is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has published extensively on Poland’s politics and was a founder of UW-Milwaukee’s programs in Russian and East European Studies and Polish Studies. In the 1990s he worked for Poland’s admission into NATO.  A past president and national director in a number of academic bodies and organizations focused on Poland, including the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and the Polish American Congress, he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of Service from the President of Poland in 2010.  He holds his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (1971).

Please note that Professor Pienkos has provided some reference documents for those attending the event. These include a presentation on Elections in Poland since 1989; an article “Witness to History” on his involvement in Poland’s entry into NATO; and the publication “Do You Know Poland?


February 18, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm