On Saturday, the 9th Congress of Polish Student Societies in the UK was held in Leicester. Students had a chance to participate in various debates, workshops and speeches lead by well known Polish journalists, actors, NGO representatives and scientists.
The most important discussion from our perspective was the debate, “To reform Poland, we need to reform our thinking first” in the context of “The Culture Reform 2020, 2030, 2040” report. Organisers invited Jacek Żakowski, Przemysław Czapliński oraz Edwin Bendyk, the report’s contributors who were challenged in the debate by Piotr Trudowski and Grzegorz Lewicki from the Jagiellonski Club. A large number of students got actively involved in the discussion and some tensions between polarised views could be noticed. Luckily, except one gentleman in a bow tie, the overall atmosphere was very friendly and professional. It proves that despite the difficult political situation in Poland, a debate is needed, and what’s more, it’s possible.
KOD had significantly marked its presence not only by using visible signs like pins or business cards but also by getting involved in a discussion around the idea of equal introduction of the “modernity and modernization”. Moreover, in the light of a mass protest in Poland that took place at the same time, and the fact that such great individuals were invited to the conference, an opportunity to discuss KOD UK’s characteristics, activity and its importance for Poland, couldn’t be missed. At first, we approached Jacek Żakowski, a journalist, who expressed his satisfaction with our presence and his overall support for the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD). He confirmed that the UK’s branch activities can influence the situation in Poland by activating Poles in the UK and that it’s important we established our branch. Additionally, he talked about his interest with regard to further developments and existence of KOD in Poland. Later on, Mr Edwin Bendyk
joined our conversation – it was clear from the beginning that he is already actively involved in KOD in Poland. Luckily, we did not have to pressure the guests to have a picture taken with us and the KOD flag, they were more than happy to do it. A very interesting report from the Congress as well as from our mini KOD event can be found on Mr Bedyk’s blog antymatrix.blog.polityka.
In the evening’s part of the Conference, during the banquet, we had a chance to speak to wider groups of Polish students. Our reflection from the evening isn’t very impressive; similarly to Poland, Polish societies in the UK are strongly divided and polarised in terms of the current political situation. However, there is no doubt that the debate and discussion really made sense on an academic level!
The great teamwork and engagement of the KOD UK allowed to sow the KOD seed on the Polish student societies’ ground. Veni, Vidi, awaiting the Vici.