Posted on November 26, 2014

Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Doha, hosted a public event titled “The Fall of the Iron Curtain: A Polish Perspective”, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, held on the university’s Education City campus.

Dr. Gerd Nonneman, dean of GU-Q, launched the event with an official welcome, which was followed by an introduction by the Polish Ambassador in Qatar, HE Krzysztof Suprowicz, for a special photo exhibit and film screening, both of which focused on Poland’s dramatic political transition and national solidarity at this time. Professor Andrzej Rychard, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, discussed the Europe-wide impact of the fall of communism with a lecture titled: “The Fall of the Iron Curtain: Poland's 25 Years of Transformation in a Regional Context”.  Continuing the conversation, Dr. Oded Stark, Distinguished Research Scholar at GU-Q, offered a response.

“The post-war world order agreed upon in the course of the Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam conferences confined lives of millions of Europeans to living on the wrong side of the ‘Iron Curtain’. It took two generations to do justice to their grandfathers’ aspirations,” remarked Ambassador Krzysztof Suprowicz.

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“We were delighted to host this major event with the Embassy of Poland, remembering and reflecting on the Polish experience at such a historic juncture: 1989 was the year that transformed Europe, with reverberations that continue to be felt today - and the change began in Poland. This was a fabulous educational opportunity for our students who, after all, study international history, politics and economics! But it also provided a fascinating window for the wider community at Georgetown and in Doha, onto the nature of political and economic change and our contemporary world,” said Dean Nonneman.

The photo exhibit, titled: “1989 – the End of the System”, was on display in the atrium of the Georgetown building throughout the day, and presented the “relay race” from communism to democracy which began in 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe. Several informational boards showcased text comprised of pieces of memoirs, documents, articles from the official and non-official press, as well as photographs and posters. The film screening for the documentary “1989”, directed by Michal Bielawski, showed the political transition of the country that took place in a short period of time - between the end of 1988 and the beginning of 1990. The documentary was produced under the auspices of the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.

The program of events also included a question and answer session, and concluded with a reception in the Georgetown atrium.