The Centre for European and Latin American Studies in collaboration with the Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia and Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw organized a symposium on the topic “Understanding Poland’s Role in Contemporary Europe” at the Academy of International Studies, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.
The two speakers for the symposium were, Boguslaw Waldemar Zaleski, an academic and former deputy foreign minister of Poland; and Hanna Schreiber, a faculty member at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw, Poland. The symposium was chaired by T. C. A. Rangachari, Director, Academy of International Studies.
Zaleski talk was titled “Political and Economic Transformation in Poland,” in which he discussed the Polish political landscape and foreign relations in the context of the European Union. He stated that the political milieu in Poland is very vibrant and diverse with the present government being a coalition of several political parties just like in India. In relation to other European countries, he said Poland ranks somewhere in the middle in terms of economy and trade. He further added, their strongest and largest ally and trading partner in Europe is Germany, a fact that Poland is conscious of.
Speaking of social-diversity in the Polish society, he mentioned that although ethnic Poles comprise the majority, there is a small number of other cultural minorities living in Poland, out of which Muslims make the largest minority. However, he said, they have been completely assimilated into the larger Polish society because unlike in other countries of Europe, the Polish Muslims have been part of the Polish society for centuries.
Schreiber’s talk on the other hand, was titled “Cultural Turn in Military Affairs – Polish Experience.” She stated that her field of expertise was “Cross Cultural Awareness in International Relations and in Military Operations,” and because of that she provides cultural sensitivity training to the Polish military personnel, who are involved in many NATO and UN-led military operations throughout the world. As an expert on culture, she mostly talked about the significance of cultural awareness in the military.