March 18, 2019

Goerdeler Kolleg in Warsaw

Midterm seminar 2019

The midterm seminar of Carl Friedrich Goerdeler Kolleg for Good Governance, which took place from 11 till 16 March 2019 in Warsaw, focused on the rule of law and human rights. Over six seminar days, the twenty Goerdeler fellows worked on their projects and addressed the issue of the rule of law and human rights as European principles of justice. Debates on Poland’s political and economic transition after the fall of communism and the contemporary role of Poland in the European Union were also on the agenda.

The midterm seminar of the Goerdeler Kolleg started with a meeting with Piotr Buras, head of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Warsaw. His briefing on the political and economic transformation of Poland in the 1990s was the thematic introduction to our midterm seminar and to our host country. The discussion on Poland’s recent history and contemporary politics continued with a discussion on the rule of law and human rights at the University of Warsaw. “A constitutional democracy is a state whose constitutional powers are legally bound, which actions are limited by law in order to safeguard the freedom of individuals,” said Prof. Robert Grzeszczak, professor for international law at the University of Warsaw. Prof. Miroslaw Wyrzykowski, founder of the Center for Human Rights and former judge at the Constitutional Court of Poland, answered numerous questions of the fellows on the current turbulence in the Polish judiciary. The visit of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, the discussion with Deputy Marshal of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki and other members of parliament on the priorities of Polish domestic and foreign policy, the Polish transition process and Poland's role in the EU as well as a debate at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on the human rights situation in the home countries of the Goerdeler fellows were the highlights of the seminar week.

Director of the Goerdeler Kolleg and former Vice President of the European Commission Prof. Günter Verheugen accompanied the midterm seminar. The former EU Commissioner for Enlargement also spoke at the University of Warsaw about Europe before the election: “Without European integration, we will be alone in dealing with new risks, threats and opportunities. The world will continue to move without us.”

Next to high-level debates and background talks, the fellows presented their Good Governance projects in Pecha Kucha style: 20 slides of 20 seconds each and consulted one another on challenges in their projects. “Before the peer consulting, it was just my problem – then it was our common,” said one of the fellows. By giving peer advice and working together on the challenges of their projects, the fellows benefited from the collective wisdom of the group.

Now that the Goerdeler fellows have returned to their home countries, the second phase of the good governance project begins. We wish them much success for their good governance projects in the remaining half of the Kolleg year and look forward to meeting them again in August at the final seminar!


The Goerdeler-Kolleg is a one-year professional development program for committed leaders who champion social responsibility in public administration, business, and civil society, conducted by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). 

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