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Page Title

KrzysztofCzyżewski

Country, Date of election

Poland 2003

Field

Civic participation

Krzysztof Czyżewski wprowadza nową przestrzeń obywatelską, gdzie obywatele mogą pokojowo omówić konflikty, które ich dzielą. Skupiając się na kształceniu nowego pokolenia młodych ludzi, którzy są tolerancyjni i wrażliwi na różnorodność we współczesnym świecie. Krzysztof tworzy sieci centrów kulturalnych i społecznych, które łączą ze sobą ludzi z różnych środowisk, by razem mogli rozwijać swoją społeczność.

Problem

The problem is the crisis of multicultural societies and broken relations between people . Communities from many different cultural and ethnic groups are confronting their cultural diversity in new ways. Misunderstandings, historically rooted prejudices, ignorance, and intolerance stemming from religious or cultural stereotypes are particularly vivid in border areas. Given the enormity of the problem, this issue is often dealt with on a microlevel, with only certain aspects of the problems presented or discussed. The need is for a cohesive, complex program consisting of longterm interventions to create ownership and active participation of community members in creating a new, open, plural society.

Impact

In 2011 the President of Poland opened an International Center for Dialog in Krasnogruda in the reconstructed manor house. It is functioning as a laboratory for innovative crosscultural practices and an academy for the bridgebuilders form different borderlands of the world. The Sejny model actively trains thousands  of community builders  the leaders of major initiatives and organizations of multicultural communities. Thetraining has resulted in the creation of several nonprofit institutions and intercultural exchange projects throughout CEE. They Foundation created the Borderland Cultures Documentation Center  it serves as a reference library for scholars around the world. 

Idea

Krzysztof established the Borderland Foundation in Sejny  the area which contains many traces of different cultures including those of the Poles, Lithuanians, Jews, Russian „Old Believers,” Belarussians, Ukrainians, Roma, and more. The tremendous diversity made this location ideal for building a model of cooperation and mutual enrichment among multicultural communities. He uses social, cultural, and educational programs to help people get to know, understand, and respect the history, culture, and traditions of their neighbors. He abandons the idea of onetime events and dedicates himself to establishing longlasting processes of everyday work in the local community, dialogue, and constant exchange with others.

Vision

Krzysztof is introducing a new civic space where citizens can peacefully discuss the conflicts that separate them. He is focusing on educating a new generation of young people who are tolerant and sensitive to diversity in a contemporary world.

Motivation

Driven by his own experiences of living on the „border” both socially and economically, Krzysztof’s work with theater became infused by his intense interest in the study of culture and cultural borders. This was reinforced as he traveled the world, gathering stories of the elderly in remote village areas in order to better understand traditional cultures. In 1989 Krzysztof realized he needed to commit himself to overcoming the deep historical burdens faced by borderland communities. So with friends and family, Krzysztof moved east in order to start the Borderland Foundation and commit his life to modeling the living civil society.

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