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The State of Democracy in Europe

As one of Europe’s leading public intellectuals, Adam Michnik is uniquely positioned to address the role of intellectuals in democracies and dictatorships. He was a co-founder of KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers), the organization of dissident intellectuals in Poland that paved the way for the Solidarity trade union in the late 1970s. He spent a total of six years in prison from 1965 to 1986 for his vocal opposition tothe communist regime. Michnik was a participant in the Round Table Talks that eventuated in the end of Communist rule in Poland. In 1989, he was elected to Poland’s first noncommunist parliament. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest daily paper in Poland.

Adam Michnik has authored scores of essays, articles and books, including Letters from Prison and Other Essays (1985), Letters from Freedom (1998), and The Church and the Left (1993). He writes frequently for his paper, Gazeta Wyborcza, as well as for such publications as Der Spiegel, Le Monde, New York Review of Books, and Washington Post. Recognized by nations, universities, and foundations for his lifelong struggle for Democracy, he has received many prestigious awards, most recently: Press Freedom Hero, International Press Institute (2000); the Erasmus Prize from the Royal Palace, Amsterdam (2001); Joaquin Garrigues Walker Award from Salvador de Madariaga Foundation, Spain (2001); Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, France (2003); Dan David Prize, Tel Aviv University (2006); Honorary Senator, University of Ljubljana (2006).

Adam Michnik’s lecture is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC and will be given in Polish, and translated by Irena Grudzinska Gross, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Executive Director of the Institute for Human Sciences at Boston University.