Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, to deliver the inaugural lecture of the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies


By Marysia Ostafin
Sep 02, 2008

Ann Arbor, MI – Former President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski will deliver the inaugural lecture of the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan. Entitled “Promoting Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,” the lecture will be held at 4 pm on Friday, September 19 in 1324 East Hall Auditorium, 530 Church St., Ann Arbor. The visit is sponsored by U-M’s Weiser Centers; Center for European Studies-European Union Center; Center for Russian and East European Studies; and College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The newly-established Weiser Centers work in common association with the Center for European Studies-European Union Center and Center for Russian and European Studies at the University of Michigan International Institute. The gift includes funding for graduate fellowships and the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professor of European and Eurasian Studies, who will direct the Weiser Centers. With matching funds from the University President’s Donor Challenge, the Weiser gift totals $11.5 million. The gift will also support collaborations with U-M units and institutions in the U.S. and abroad to develop courses, conferences, lecture series, and other opportunities for teaching, learning, research, and outreach.

Ronald Weiser (BBA ’66) served as U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia from 2001 to 2004. In addition to his diplomatic responsibilities he organized three international investment conferences attended by investors from hundreds of companies. In 2004, he received the White Double Cross from Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, the highest award given to non-Slovaks, and the Cultural Pluralism Award from the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad for his work in the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Zakopane, Poland, and the medieval Trencin Castle, one of Slovakia’s most cherished historical sites. In 2007, he was awarded the distinguished Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.

Eileen Lappin Weiser (MMUS ’75) has served on the boards of a number of civic organizations. In 1997 she was elected in a statewide vote to an eight-year term on the Michigan State Board of Education. In 2003 she was appointed by President Bush to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board and joined its Executive Committee in 2004. In 2007, she was appointed by the State Supreme Court to its Attorney Discipline Board.

Speaker Biography
Born in 1954, Aleksander Kwasniewski first entered government in 1985 holding a number of posts before his election as Poland’s president in 1995. During his presidency through 2005, Kwasniewski coauthored the constitution of the Third Republic of Poland, signing it into law in 1997. He piloted his country to membership in NATO and has been an active supporter of further alliance enlargement. Kwasniewski campaigned for approval of the European Union accession treaty in 2003 and saw Poland become a member on May 1, 2004. He is currently Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership at Georgetown University, a member of the Atlantic Council of the United States, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.