Postage stamp of Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Poland

Lech Wałęsa Speaks About Russia's War on Ukraine and Its Global Impact

  • Apr 27, 2022

The Clements Center for National Security will host Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa at The University of Texas at Austin on Thursday, May 5. The former president of Poland will deliver his perspective on Russia’s War on Ukraine and Its Global Impact during an in-person talk at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center.  

An electrician turned labor activist, Wałęsa was the co-founder and leader of the Solidarność (Solidarity) movement that led to the fall of communism in Poland. At its height, the Solidarity movement held more than 10 million members, eventually bringing about the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.  

During Poland’s elections in 1989, Wałęsa was elected as the country’s first president—not only the first democratically elected leader since 1926, but also the first-ever Polish leader elected by popular vote. He governed 1990-1995, shepherding the country’s transition from communism to free-market capitalism and liberal democracy.  

Viewed as a hero by millions across the world in the 1980s and 1990s, Wałęsa won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. He was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1981 and included among its list of 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. He has also received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Knight Grand Cross of the British Order of the Bath, and the French Grand Cross of Legion of Honour, as well as more than 40 honorary degrees from universities including Harvard, Columbia, and the Sorbonne. 

UT Austin’s Polish Club obtained funding to present this event through co-sponsor Texas Global’s Internationalization Event Fund, along with support from other co-sponsors, including the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; the Center for European Studies; the Department of Government; the Liberal Arts Honors Program; and the McCombs School of Business Department of Business, Government & Society. 

Pre-registration is required for entry. Visit the Texas Global event listing to access a registration link. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for registered attendees of this in-person event on Thursday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Amphitheater 204 of the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center.