Humanity in Action Fellowship in Warsaw

Program Description

Illiberal democracy in Poland. Polarization. Challenges for diversity.

How has Poland shifted from a developing democracy, a result of an exceptional non-violent revolution led by “Solidarity” movement, to a state rapidly backsliding into an illiberal direction? The Warsaw Fellowship addresses the wider context, both historical and contemporary, of the unfolding systemic crisis and how it relates to the present human and minorities rights challenges in Poland. The Polish program scrutinizes how the Polish state and the society have been dealing with the issue of diversity. Due to the puzzled situation of almost complete ethnic and religious homogeneity, the aftermath of WW II and the Holocaust, Polish society has lacked exposure to ‘the Other’ and it has been polarized in debates on pluralism. Nowadays, the political and social debate is divided to even a greater extent due the swift rise of populist and xenophobic rhetoric, and hostile attitudes, including hate speech, especially towards refugees and migrants. Therefore, the 2019 Humanity in Action Fellowship will focus on the issue of diversity in the era of growing polarization and radicalism. Throughout the program, the participants will also have a chance to take part in skills trainings employing social entrepreneurship methods aimed at boosting their activism capacity. Fellows in small international groups will have a chance to help identify and address local communities’ challenges or raise awareness on human and minority rights by carrying out projects mentored by members of HIA Senior Fellows Network.


2018 Agenda

June 9

Opening of the 2018 Fellowship: WELCOME! Let’s Get to Know Each Other and the Fellowship, part 1

Let the program begin! First things first: the day opens with the program introduction and practical tips about your stay in Warsaw (transportation, health, safety, etc.). This info session will be followed by a communication workshop to make sure we are all on the same page. In the evening, we will have a chance to participate in Warsaw Pride.

  • Introduction (Monika Mazur-Rafał, Przemysław lwanek, Aleksandra Hołyńska, & Hanna Pieńczykowska - HIA Poland)
  • Who is Who?
  • Let's Talk about the Fellowship
  • (Un)Easy Communication - What Type of a Communicator are You? (Aleksandra Hołyńska)
  • Equality Parade (optional)

June 10

Let’s Get to Know Each Other and the Fellowship, part 2 

What makes an activist? How does one become involved in human rights advocacy? During this day, we will take a closer look at our activist life paths. Knowing each other better will allow us to agree upon the rules, which will govern our community during the next four weeks. Afterwards, we will take a guided walk through Warsaw’s Jewish history and present.

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Who Are We as Human Rights Activists/Advocates? (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Let’s Talk about Us in the Fellowship
  • (In)Visible History and Vibrant Present in the Streets of Warsaw - Guided tour through Warsaw, part 1 (Jagna Kofta)

June 11

The Protest Instead of a Dialogue - the New "Norm"? 

Is dialogue really possible in the context of a society so deeply divided, as it is the case with Poland? What are the most pressing issues that made Poles take to the streets recently? Is the protest the new norm? Is it outrage? This day will provide us with an overview of the leading social issues in the Polish public debate. The last program element is the second part of the guided walk tour through Warsaw, this time in the Praga district. How did ethnic/religious diversity in Poland looked in the past? And how does it look now? 

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • "Good Change" after Two Years in Poland - Panel Discussion (Barbara Nowacka, Polish Initiative Association
, Leszek Jażdżewski, Liberte
, Dominika Sitnicka,
  • Fellows' Corner
  • #MeToo - Me who? Marta Mazurek, Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment in Poznan
  • Fellows' Discussion
  • (In)Visible History and Vibrant Present in the Streets of Warsaw - Guided tour through Warsaw, part 2 (Jagna Kofta)

June 12

Populism and the Rise of Xenophobia and Hate Speech

Polish identity is being challenged and re-defined as we speak. During this day, we will reflect on what it means to be a Pole. Who can belong to the Polish society? Why “the Other” is not welcome? Has it always been the case? What are the mechanisms of hate speech? We will discuss the thin line between hate speech and freedom of speech so come prepared to challenge and be challenged. 

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Warsaw Book - Reflections from the tours
  • Fellows' Presentations
  • Propaganda, Manipulation 
& Fragile Democracy in Europe in the Digital Era
 (Konstanty Gebert, Gazeta Wyborcza)
  • Prejudices & Stereotypes vs. Hate Speech: How to Bring Social Change?
 (Prof. Michał Bilewicz
 Center for Research of Prejudice, Warsaw)
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Pre-empting Prejudice: Raising Awareness and Instigating Change by HIA Network & HIA Poland
 (Monika Mazur-Rafał, HIA Poland)
  • Will Nationalism Make Poland Safe Again? 
(Jacek Purski, Institute of Social Safety)
  • Fellows' Discussion

June 13

Poles and Jews. Contradictory or Complementary Narratives?

Polish-Jewish dialogue and relations have not been easy, which we will explore during this day’s sessions. Is there a conflict between the Polish and Jewish narratives and understanding/ interpretation of history? How to interpret the recent law penalizing discourses hinting at Polish complicity in the Holocaust? 

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Introduction to 
the Polin Museum
 (Joanna Fikus, Polin Museum)
  • Site Visit: Core Exhibition, Museum of the History of Polish Jews Polin
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Polish-Jewish Relations in 2018: Living in a Co- existence or in a Community?
 (Tomasz Krakowski, the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, Prof. Dariusz Stola, Polin
, Anna Chipczyńska, Jewish Community in Warsaw
  • Fellows' Discussion
  • Individual Sightseeing (optional)

June 14

From Hate to Extermination: Genocide Step by Step

How does a genocide happen? The question may sound banal but isn’t it the banality of evil that really lies the ground for the unthinkable? This day will deal with the dark history of the Nazi camps and the Holocaust. Starting with a documentary film, followed by a site visit to the former concentration camp site in Treblinka, we will discuss the long- lasting impact of hatred supported by systemic violence. Most importantly, we will also think about possible actions to prevent genocides.

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Seeing is Believing. ‘The Warsaw Ghetto 1940-1943’
 - Jewish Historical Institute documentary movie

  • Sharing Impressions
 (Tomasz Cebulski, PhD, guide, historian and political)
  • Travel to Museum of Armed Struggle and Martyrology in Treblinka by bus
  • Never Again? The Legacy 
 of the Holocaust
 (Guided by Tomasz Cebulski, PhD, Location: Treblinka)
  • Fellows’ Discussion
 Guided by Tomasz Cebulski, PhD
 Location: Treblinka
  • Travel to Warsaw by bus

June 15

The Other: Discrimination and Privilege

Who defines you? What defines you? Where does “Us” end and “Them” begin? Today’s sessions will be devoted to identity politics and to making sense of one’s self, as connected to a web of privileges or the lack thereof. A special appearance of Humanity in Action’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Judith Goldstein, will provide yet another portion of food for thought. 

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • The Privilege in Poland: the Roots, Nature and Evolution of Discrimination in the Polish Context
 (Jan Sowa, PhD, sociologist, author)
  • Let’s Talk about HIA and Activism Beyond
 (Judith Goldstein, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of HIA
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Privilege & Discrimination vs. Minority & Majority
 (Malgorzata Leszko, trainer)
  • Fellows' Discussion

June 16

Training I - How To Make an Impact by Use of Online Social Campaign

“Write it, cut it, paste it, save it | Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it.” Put aside everything you know about the principles of academic discourse, open your mind and learn to create a post that cha(lle)nges the status quo. And then, in the evening, reward yourself with great food at our barbecue.

  • Announcement of the Challenges & Introduction into the Output Phase
 (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Social and Advocacy Campaigns in Action
 (Marek Dorobisz, Strategic Copywriter and Creative Director working for top Polish brands including:
  • Barbecue 
- Networking with Senior Fellows and Judy Goldstein

June 17

Me and the Group & Sharing Impressions So Far

Can you believe that it’s been already 10 days? Let’s reflect on what we have achieved so far in the fellowship and what will happen in the following weeks.

  • Me and the Group (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Sharing Impressions so far (HIA Poland Staff)

June 18

The New Other and Migration

A Polish comedian joked once: “Poles are Poland’s most popular export product”, hinting at a high number of Polish migrants in other countries. How come a people so welcome in other countries is not very welcoming to others? And, really, who are these Others?

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • The New Ukrainian Puzzle in The Homogeneous Picture
 (Yulia Lashchuk, Fundacja Nasz Wybór (Our Choice Foundation))
  • Refugees and Migrants in Poland - Challenges of Integration and Inclusion
 (Agnieszka Kosowicz, Polish)
  • Joint Video Meeting with the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" (EVZ) & Team Berlin (EVZ Foundation Staff)
  • Action Projects: How to Link Output Phase with One’s Activism? Part 1 (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Fellows' Discussion

June 19

Other "Others'" in the Polish Context

Poland does not welcome “the Other” - but how accommodating is it to its minorities? “the wellbeing of women determines the wellbeing of society”, says Gloria Steinem. But what if women, or other disenfranchised groups and communities, are not well? Is there anything we, people within certain privileges, can do to advance their causes?

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Black Protest Movement - Abortion and Women’s Rights
 (Natalia Broniarczyk, Porozumienie Kobiet 8 Marca
, Zuzanna Radzik, Tygodnik Powszechny
  • Disability Rights as Human Rights: Case Study of the Polish Disability Movement and Protests
 (Magdalena Szarota, HIA Poland & Association
 Katarzyna Bierzanowska, Pełnoprawna)
  • Fellows' Cornerł
  • LGBTQIA(+) - How to Move Forward?
 (Vyacheslav Melnyk, Campaign Against Homophobia)
  • What Does it Mean to Be a Good Ally?
 An exercise and discussion led (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Fellows' Discussion

June 20

Training II: Design Thinking and Telling Your Story

The first half of the day will be devoted to empathy-driven design method, which will come in handy during the Output Phase. Next, we will focus on what we know best - ourselves. “Who would I be without my story?”, asks Byron Katie, a self-inquiry teacher. Our stories are what makes us, us. Our stories can feel heavy at times, but can also form the foundation for a fierce stride through life. So please tell us, what is your story?

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Introduction to Design Thinking
 (Martyna Markiewicz, DT facilitator)
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Own Your Story. Why Storytelling Matters? (Ola Hołyńska, HIA Poland)

June 21

Training III: E- Activism Opportunity or Duty?

Hacktivism, Slacktivism and Clicktivism these strangely named concepts have gathered praise and recognition. On the one hand, engagement in social media campaigns is for many people (e.g. some people with disabilities) only possible and valid form of activism and the outrage created on social media can have a real-life impact (#MeToo or #BringBackOurGirls). On the other, this very outrage is oftentimes short-lived and easily replaced with the next preposterous situation. Is being an e- activist an extension of civic engagement? Is it a way to distract us from meeting in real life and becoming a threat to powerful institutions? Or rather, is it more of a fancy aspect of doing “real” work on the ground?

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Education and Activism through Technology
 (Joanna Cichocka, Wandlee)
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Research for the Output Phase - Work with Community Organizations

June 22

Training IV: Social Entrepreneurship as Tool of Change

Imagine a world, in which you can advance the causes you deeply care about without worrying about funding. Unfortunately, many great social initiatives die merely due to a lack of access to funding. We introduce two entrepreneurship tools today that contribute to designing our actions. Afterwards - let the Output Phase begin! Ready, steady, GO!

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Value Proposition (Ola Hołyńska, HIA Poland)
  • Theory of Change
 (Ola Hołyńska, HIA Poland)
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Work with Organizations

June 25

Working Output Phase Implementation

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Presentations of First Results/Concepts of Working Groups and Group Feedback Session
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Output Phase Implementation

June 26

Output Phase Implementation
  • Output Phase Implementation
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Output Phase Implementation

June 27

Output Phase Implementation

  • Output Phase Implementation
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Consultations on Groups’ Work - meetings scheduled with individual groups
 (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Output Phase Implementation

June 28

Output Phase Implementation

  • Consultations on Groups’ Work - meetings scheduled with individual groups
 HIA Poland Staff
  • Fellows' Corner
  • Open Space - initiatives proposed and lead by the fellows
  • Output Phase Implementation

June 29

Life’s a pitch & On the way to Strasbourg - looking at the EU through the lenses of Greece

Ever felt stage fright? Well, consider this: “Life’s a Pitch”. Let’s take this day to become more effective in getting our message across and then - let’s share our plans for the Action Projects. Let’s be challenged and enjoy this atmosphere of constructive feedback and disruptive thinking. After this part of the day, we will challenge the notion of “Migration Crisis”.

  • Introduction to the Day (HIA Poland)
  • Life's a Pitch! (Ola Hołyńska, HIA Poland)
  • Action Projects: How to Link Output Phase with One’s Activism? Part 2
 - Presentations of Action Project Ideas and Discussion
  • Greece - Far More Than “Migration Crisis”
  • Fellows’ Corner

July 2

Words Matter

In the final day of the Output Phase, we will have space to wrap up our endeavors and further improve tomorrow's pitches. Let's take the opportunity to bring our best work!

  • Output Phase Implementation
  • Mastering Your Pitch
 (HIA Poland Staff)

July 3

Pitch and Pizza Night

What’s the time? It’s show time! Celebration time! After three weeks of intense brainstorming, ideating, testing, feedbacking, improving and prototyping, it’s time to enjoy the results. Bedazzle your audience!

  • Welcome & Introduction to the Pitch and Pizza Night
 (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Presentations of Community Organizations (led by HIA Senior Fellows)
  • Presentations, Session 1 - Groups 1 to 4
  • Presentations, Session 2 - Groups 5 to 8
  • Q&A
 (HIA Poland Staff)
  • Summary & Closing
 (HIA Poland Staff)

July 4

Closing of the 2018 HIA Warsaw Fellowship

At last, the day has come when we are looking in retrospect at the past month. In this bittersweet moment, let’s reminisce on what happened and how we co-created this wonderful shared experience. How has it been for you? Please illuminate us with your feedback-- we promise to listen and make your words count!

  • Sharing Impressions, Evaluation & Closing Remarks 
(HIA Poland Staff)

July 5-8

Group Travel to Strasbourg

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