Europe and the Challenge of Democracy
Author: Bronisław Geremek
Publisher: Torino, Centro Studi sul Federalismo
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Bronisław Geremek, born in Warsaw in 1932, is a lecturer at the Polish Academy of Sciences, and has also studied in France at the École des Hautes Études. In 1962, he became director of the Centre for Polish Culture, instituted at the Sorbonne University, a position which he maintained until 1965. He also taught at the University of Warsaw from 1965 to 1980. Between 1950 and 1968 he was a member of the Polish communist party, although he distanced himself from it when Soviet tanks repressed the “Prague Spring”. In the 1980s, he adhered to the Solidarnosc movement, and became Lech Walesa’s personal advisor. As a member of the Polish Parliament (1989-2001), he was Minister for Foreign Affairs (1997-2000) and president of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1998.
Professor at the Collège de France (1992-1993), he was elected to the European Parliament in 2004 as a member of the Freedom Union. At the Natolin campus of the College of Europe, he has been the director of a cathedra of “European Culture” since 2002, and he has been awarded the International Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen. Vice-president of the European Society of Culture (2003), in 2006 he was elected president of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe. In April 2007, he refused to conform to the Polish law (lustracja) which obliges politicians and government officials to confess to having collaborated with the communist political police. He died July 13, 2008 in a car accident near Lubieńin.
Geremek has been awarded more than twenty honorary degrees and his scientific work is well-known throughout the world. Among his books which have been published in Italy, we can cite I bassifondi di Parigi nel Medioevo (1972), Mendicanti e miserabili nell'Europa moderna (1985), La pietà e la forca: storia della miseria e della carità in Europa (1986), Le radici comuni dell’Europa (1991), La democrazia in Europa (with Ralf Dahrendorf e François Furet, 1992), Uomini senza padrone: poveri e marginali tra Medioevo e età moderna (1992), La storia e altre passioni (with Georges Duby, 1993) as well as, in French, La rupture: la Pologne du communisme à la démocratie (1991), Quelles valeurs pour quelle Europe? (2003).