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Page Title

KrzysztofStanowski

Country, Date of election

Poland 2000

Field

Civic participation

Krzysztof is stimulating the growth of locally-based volunteer groups throughout Central and Eastern Europe and linking them in an expanding network of educators and civic leaders. He believes these networks of committed individuals are critical to  solving pressing local and regional problems. By strengthening cross-national and cross-regional collaboration, these networks further strive to replace rising nationalism and regional prejudice with proactive collaborative efforts in the citizen sector.

Problem

The dissolution of Communism in Central Europe brought with it the expectation that democracy would cure the region’s social and economic ills. Instead of facilitating an ultimate cure, however, the collapse of the former political structure generated a host of new problems and challenges for the emerging civil sector. Almost a decade later, democratic systems in many regions remain weak or nonexistent.

Impact

The foundation’s activities are centered on three main areas:
Socialization and democratization of schools; Civic duty and 
activism; Global solidarity.Since Krzysztof initiated the program in 1989, it has attracted over 11,000 participants, of whom 3,600 were trained in 1998. With assistance from his volunteer staff, Krzysztof has organized hundreds workshops in Poland, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Foundation is constantly increasing its offer of publications devoted to civic education and civil society, including methodological and training materials.

Idea

Krzysztof believes that strengthening local efforts and facilitating the emergence of NGOs is key to effecting largescale democratic change in Poland and in neighboring nations. As the success and expansion of his program demonstrates, he is committed to establishing strong communitybased groups which share information and strategies for implementing social change. These small groups, comprising volunteer educators and emerging community leaders, collaborate to solve local problems, restore civic awareness and participation, and implement training efforts to bolster basic citizen skills.

Vision

The Education for Democracy Foundation‘s objective is to initiate, support and conduct educational activity aimed at propagating the idea of democracy and preparing people to work for the benefit of democracy and to participate in democratic institutions. They support local communities in their activities aimed at civil society building and we promote high ethical and professional standards in the civic sector.

Motivation

Krzysztof’s introduction to activism was largely furnished by his parents, both of whom demonstrated commitment to social change in their respective fields. Yet as politics became the focus of his work, he was increasingly subjected to government scrutiny. His affiliation with the political union organization Solidarity resulted in a twoyear prison sentence in the mid1980s. In 1992, after launching an initial program in Poland’s underprivileged Suwalki region, Krzysztof served as a consultant to the Ukraine as part of a training effort. The trip proved pivotal in shifting Krzysztof’s focus to largescale, crossregional reform.

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