The Treasure of Solidarity (2013-15)


25 years after the fall of communism, the Centre for The Thought of John Paul II embarked on a project to remind present and future members of the governing professions of the essence of Solidarity –. “The treasure of solidarity lies not in politics or economics,” explains Michał Łuczewski, the Deputy- Director of the Centre, “but in the strength of the human spirit, in the desire to make the world more human. This desire never passes away.” In order to understand and restore solidarity –– to its rightful place, one has to dig down to its spiritual roots. This is the objective of the program “The Treasure of Solidarity”.

This project aims to draw the attention of political leaders, intellectuals and young generations of Europeans entering adult life to the enormous spiritual potential of the Solidarity movement. It is particularly significant today, as the socio-economic crisis, migrant crisis and conflicts affecting Europe trigger discussions concerning the foundations of Europe itself. Despite the process of rapprochement between nations, we still find some traces of unhealed wounds between them.

Implementation of the project

Within the scope of this project, a group of ten fellows explored the treasure of solidarity. Witnesses of the Solidarność movement and the most eminent specialists from Poland and abroad accompanyied them in this process (among them Dariusz Gawin, Ireneusz Krzemiński, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Czesław Porębski, Zbigniew Stawrowski, as well as Daniel Philpott, Jan Kubik and Andrea Bartoli). During joint seminars and debates, participants created a practical manual – „Solidarity – Step by Step”. With specialists from the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, the manual became the basis for school lessons plans. Finally, in a series of group discussions, members of the governing professions were confronted with the spiritual heritage of solidarity. The culmination of the programme included an international conference in Georgetown University (DC): Love and Forgiveness in Governance and in the European Parliament: The Treasure of Solidarity: Lessons for Europe. Moreover the meetings with witnesses resulted in a documentary film: The Father, the Son and the Friend. Forgiveness after Solidarity.

The Project was realized with the support of the Fetzer Institute (Kalamazoo, USA), in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and „Rzeczpospolita” daily newspaper.

Authors: Dr Michał Łuczewski, Emilia Kowalewska LLM
Coordinators: Dr Elżbieta Ciżewska, Dr Monika Bartoszewicz