2014 Warsaw Agenda

The following was the agenda for the 2014 Humanity in Action Fellowship in Warsaw, Poland. The theme for this year's program was “Incubator of Ideas: Transformation, Democracy and Human Rights.”


Input Phase

May 31

Opening and Program Introduction; Who Is Who: Let’s Get to Know Each Other

This day is conceived as a smooth transition of all participants into the program: all fellows who arrived the day before have first the opportunity to adapt to a new environment in Warsaw, to reenergize after the travel and to get to know each other informally, whereas later in the morning the fellows will have the chance to get to know each other in a program setting especially during the first session. In the second session there will be a chance to continue the process of introducing each other by sharing personal experiences in human rights work. The third program element is a guided walk tour through Warsaw in order to explore especially how history of Warsaw is interconnected with Polish history and what are the links between past and present. The day will end up with a joint welcome dinner. The aims of the day are to get to know each other and to familiarize yourselves with the nearest environment.

  • Introduction by Monika Mazur-Rafał, National Director of Humanity in Action Poland, President of the Managing Board of Humanity in Action Poland
  • ‘Facebook Live‘: Who Is Who, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Let’s Talk about You as Human Rights Activists, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • (In)Visible History and Vibrant Present in the Streets of Warsaw
  • Guided tour through Warsaw, part 1, Adrian Grycuk, guide
  • Free Time and Informal Networking
  • Welcome Dinner and Get-Together

June 1

Let’s Get to Know the Fellowship

The second program day is devoted to exploring the program in a more detailed way, to clarifying the expectations and to agreeing upon the ‘rules of the game’. It consists of 3 sessions. In the first session there will be a short introduction to the program by the HIA staff and a discussion on expectations. In the second session the group will discuss and agree upon rules/obligations during the program in form of a contract, as well as the staff will provide some practical information about the stay in Warsaw (transportation, health, safety, etc.).The third program element is the second part of the guided walk tour through Warsaw, this time in the Praga district which will give some ideas how ethnic/religious diversity in Poland might have looked like in the past.

  • Introduction by Monika Mazur-Rafał
  • Let’s Talk about the Fellowship, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Let’s Talk about You in the Fellowship, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • (In)Visible History and Vibrant Present in the Streets of Warsaw, Guided tour through Warsaw, part 2, Magda Kalicy, guide
  • Free Time and Informal Networking 

June 2

Prejudices & Stereotypes: “The Other”

The day starts with a debriefing session after a guided-tour walk through Warsaw’s streets. Then, during the second session HIA Poland staff will present how Humanity in Action Poland has contributed to pre-empting prejudice and the promotion of human rights ideals/culture through its activities/initiatives. Furthermore, content-wise the day is dedicated to exploring how social psychology explains the universal mechanisms that lead to discrimination, violence and hate speech. The aim is to make the fellows aware about the key paradigms of social psychology regarding the ‘human nature’. In addition to this, in the fourth session the fellows will get to know the reasons, processes and organizations/institutions which had impact on shaping the ‘Polish identity/identities’ as well as Poles attitudes towards ‘the other’. Finally, there will be an introductory session on the Polish Solidarity movement.

  • ‘Warsaw-Book’ – sharing impressions from the guided tour through Warsaw - Fellows’ Discussion, Monika Mazur-Rafał and Przemysław Iwanek Humanity in Action Poland Project Manager
  • Pre-empting Prejudice: Raising Awareness and Instigating Change by Humanity in Action & Humanity in Action Poland, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Prejudices & Stereotypes: How They Are Constructed and Deconstructed and How They May Lead to Hate Speech?, Dr. Michał Bilewicz, Center for Research of Prejudice, Warsaw University
  • The Marginalized “Other”: the Roots, Nature and Evolution of Discrimination in the Polish Context, Prof. Zdzisław Mach, Center for European Studies, Jagiellonian University
  • Solidarity Movement as a Mass-Movement: Its Emergence, Impact and Legacy, Eugeniusz Smolar, Humanity in Action Poland Board Member
  • Fellows‘ Discussion

June 3

Poles, “Polishness” and “The Others

In contrast to Western Europe, after the WWII Poland from a very diverse country turned into a more homogenous country due to the war, the Holocaust and communist policy to eradicate any form of social difference. As diversity was a challenge even before the WWII (the Second Polish Republic was a state struggling with consequences of diversity), communist propaganda managed to convince many Poles that the newly ‘introduced’ homogeneity was not only good but also one of the successes in this part of the world. After over 44 years of living in a communist/socialist freezer with very limited freedom of speech, Polish society is facing several challenges resulting from a more visible and growing diversity. Moreover, since Roman-Catholic Church was serving as a sort of real and symbolic asylum/shelter to the people who in this or other way disagreed with the regime and uniform Communist Party-line gathered in the Solidarity movement, it tried to keep the society together against the common enemy – the ruling regime. As much as it enabled to exercise some sort of freedom (personal, artistic and the like) and mobilizing resistance, it looked for ways of strengthening ‘Polishness’ and being together. Finally, opening borders after 1989 exposed Poles to growing diversity not only by influx of migrants, but also by ‘discovering’ some diversity within the country exemplified by national and ethnic minorities as well as the possibility to travel and cross borders again. The challenges with the presence of and coexistence with various ‘others’ will be showcased on two examples: migrants and the Jews.

  • Welcome at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Prof. Dariusz Stola, Director of the Museum of Polish Jews and Humanity in Action Poland Board Member
  • Religion as an Underpinning of “Polishness”: Poles and the Roman-Catholic Church, Reverend Wiesław Dawidowski, PhD, former President of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews
  • Migrants as Aliens: Challenges of Integration and Inclusion, Katarzyna Słubik, Association For Legal Intervention
  • Counteracting Anti-Semitism in Poland: Good Practices & Challenges, Paula Sawicka, Vice-President and Jan Herczyński, Board Member, Open Republic Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia 
  • Fellows’ Discussion

June 4

Poland after 1989: Freedom, Solidarity & Transformation

With reference to the first semi-free elections to the Polish Parliament on June 4, 1989 Poles celebrate 25 years of (regained) freedom. This is the perfect occasion to familiarize the fellows  with the unique features of the Polish Solidarity Movement, its leaders, values and methods of resistance. Why this social movement was so successful and influential not only for Poland but also for other parts of Europe? What are the universal lessons learned which are relevant nowadays? Which good practices could be inspirational for other countries? The second focus of this day concerns the system transformation after 1989. It is the beginning of the state-myth and the key point of reference when discussing contemporary Poland as its successes and failures shaped the so-called Third Polish Republic. Finally, the last session will enable the fellows to understand how Poles are struggling with regained rights. The ambiguities related to the limits of freedom of speech and features of hate speech are the perfect point of departure for further discussion on condition of democracy in today’s Poland. The afternoon is free of scheduled activities in order to enable the participants to take parts in various freedom celebrations around town.

  • 1989: the Beginning Poland’s Transformation, Prof. Andrzej Rychard, Director of Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Freedom of Speech as a Cornerstone of Democracy: Where Does it Begin and End?, Prof. Mirosław Wyrzykowski, University of Warsaw, Law and Administration Department
  • Fellows’ Discussion
  • Joining Public Celebration and Informal Networking

June 5

Other Others” in the Polish Context: Cases of Roma, LGBTQ and Migration

The Polish system transformation brought democracy and market economy on macro level, but on a micro level of an average family it meant first of all a radical change: a new social order with new rules. As certain groups could not cope with new challenges, transformation also generated marginalization and exclusion and caused socio-economic divides within the society. The aim of the day is to explore the process of forging the new social order and its consequences on three case studies: the Roma, LGBTQ and migrants. The 3 cases will be introduced by representatives of 3 different non-governmental organizations, which will share their approaches towards human rights violations especially hate speech and good practices in responding to them. The fact worth stressing is that some of the speakers are minority members themselves and therefore will also be able to present first-hand perspectives.

  • Living on the Margin? Roma in Poland, Dr. Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska, Association of Roma in Poland
  • Living in the Shadows? LGBTQ in Poland, Zofia Jabłońska, Board Member, Campaign Against Homophobia, Vyacheslav Melnyk, Campaign Against Homophobia
  • Diversity in Poland: The Challenges of an ‘Almost-Homogenic’ Country, Dr. Mikołaj Pawlak, Foundation for Social Diversity, Supervisory Board Member, Anastasia Padlikowska, Foundation for Social Diversity
  • Fellows’ Discussion

June 6

From Hate to Extermination: the Stages of Genocide

The goal of this day is firstly to deepen the historical knowledge of the fellows on the WWII and the Holocaust on Polish territory. The historical realities of those times will be reanimated with the help of a documentary film on the Warsaw Ghetto. A film screening and site visit to Treblinka will lead to discussions on the relevance and legacy of the Holocaust as well as on linkages with other genocides and possible actions to prevent genocides. Secondly, the day is also thought out as a chance to commemorate the victims as well as an opportunity for personal reflection on this chapter of history and its relevance today.
  • Seeing is Believing – “The Warsaw Ghetto 1940-1943,” Jewish Historical Institute documentary movie
  • Sharing Impressions, facilitated by Tomasz Cebulski, Historian and Independent Guide
  • Travel to Museum of Armed Struggle and Martyrology in Treblinka by bus
  • Never Again: The Legacy of the Holocaust, Guided by Tomasz Cebulski
  • Individual time 
  • Fellows’ Discussion, facilitated by Tomasz Cebulski
  • Travel to Warsaw

June 7

Let’s Take a Step Back: Fellowship and Beyond

There are several aims to be achieved on this day. First of all, the fellows will be provided with time and space to reflect upon and to share thoughts on the visit in Treblinka in the context of the Holocaust and WWII. Second of all, they will discuss their fellowship experience, share impressions and decide what could be improved and in what ways they would like to become more involved in the program. Third of all, the fellows will get to know how by being a part of the Humanity in Action community they can contribute to stopping injustice and becoming upstanders/leaders/activists. To make it as useful and practical as possible, there will be the chance to meet up with a senior fellow who has proven outstanding leadership.

  • Fellows’ Discussion
  • The Program So Far: Sharing Impressions, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Towards a (Social) Change: Fellows’ Action Projects, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • HIA Fellow in Action: the Ukrainian Struggle for Freedom, Yulia Gogol, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and Ukrainian Activist in Poland
  • Free time and informal networking
  • Get together with Humanity in Action Senior Fellows

June 8

Humanity in Action Poland Cinema Evening

June 9

The Phenomenon of Hate Speech: Understanding & Counteracting It

The overall goal of this day is to gain a more precise understanding about the phenomenon of hate speech in general as well as through sociological and legal perspective. Throughout the day the fellows will try to find answers to the following questions: What is the mechanism behind and scale of this pathology? What counts as hate speech and what does not? How the Council of Europe does define hate speech? What are the good practices in preventing hate speech developed by the Council to be shared? What are the responses from the Polish civic society to acts of hate speech?

  • Hate Speech as Scapegoating? A Sociological Perspective, Dr. Piotr Toczyski, Academy of Special Education (APS)
  • Counteracting Hate Speech: Contribution of the Council of Europe, Dr. Hanna Machińska, Council of Europe, Office in Poland
  • Together Against the Hate Speech: Contribution of NGOs – the Case of the “No Hate Speech” Coalition, Jan Dąbkowski and Dariusz Grzemny, Representatives of the No Hate Speech Movement in Poland
  • Fellows’ Discussion

June 10

Relations between Majority and Minority: Education, Prevention & Politics

The day would be focused on exploration of various strategies of long-term prevention against discrimination and hate speech. How can state policies, non-formal education and civic monitoring contribute to abeyance of human rights? And finally what can an individual do in reaction to injustice? How to remain/become a just person even in sometimes extreme circumstances?
  • Education as a Long-term Form of Prevention: the Case of the Museum of History of Polish Jews, Piotr Kowalik, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Educational Department
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews: Inside Out, Piotr Kowalik, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Educational Department
  • Minority Rights as a Political Issue: Polish Human Rights Policy, Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Relations with the Jewish Diaspora
  • Jan Karski: the Power of One, Maciej Kozłowski, former Ambassador of Poland to Israel
  • Fellows’ Discussion
  • Monitoring and Reacting to Acts of Hate in Poland: the Case of the Never Again Association, Jacek Purski, a Representative of the Never Again Association

June 11

Hate Speech On-Line: Case Studies& Good Practices

The day is devoted to a search of good practices & hopefully some inspiration on how to respond to hate speech. How NGOs can help to prevent and counteract hate speech on-line? What are the features of cyber-violence in general and in Poland particularly? What are the lessons learned: what strategies work and what not? What still needs to be done? Finally, we would like to explore what are the dangers of modern technologies in terms of potential infringements on our privacy? 

  • Monitoring and Reacting to Hate in Poland: Case studies: Poland Foundation/Association and Great Facebook’s Clean-up (Wielkie Sprzątanie Facebooka), Patryk Ferenc, a Representative of the Great Facebook’s Clean-up Inga Koralewska, Michał Jurczyga, Project Poland Foundation/Association & HejtStop
  • Peer Violence: Program Stop Cyber-bullying as an Example of Long-term Prevention, Ewa Dziemidowicz, Nobody’s Children Foundation (Fundacja Dzieci Niczyje)
  • Who Is Watching Whom? Privacy and Surveillance in Modern Democracy, Katarzyna Szymielewicz, President, Panoptykon Foundation
  • Fellows’ Discussion


Output Phase: Creative Action Time!

June 12

Output Phase: Incubator of Ideas

The first output phase day will be kind of transition between both program parts (the input and output phase). First of all, 2 sessions will be devoted to setting up the foundations to further work and clarifying the fellows tasks, expectations and timeline. Moreover, this would be also the time of creating international teams and assigning them with specific topics. Furthermore, there will be also some sessions scheduled during which the fellows will explore the potential of modern technologies in working for social change and will be provided with an opportunity to enhance their skills in this respect. 

Advice to Fellows: Due to the time constraints you need to plan and discuss the internal division of tasks within the group together with a realistic/feasible timetable. Moreover, this is also the time to brainstorm on the strategy of data collection and in case you decide to do some interviews - make some appointments for that day ahead of time. The division of tasks should cover all the elements of fellows’ assignment.

  • Why, What, When and How? Goals of the Output Phase, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Teambuilding, Humanity in Action Poland staff
  • Social Change! Internet and Social Media, Chris Worman, Director, TechSoup Global
  • Going Viral! Social Campaigns and More, Marek Dorobisz, Strategic Copywriter and Creative Director, Founder of 36@
  • Fellows’ Discussion

June 13

Output Phase: Creating Memes as the First ‘Homework’

On this day the skills training will be in full speed. The aim is to explore how to produce interesting memes and how to involve other people into discussions about them. The next step would be setting up Facebook pages within each working group and start process of testing various ideas as well as engaging into various exchanges with the ‘public’. Before the next feedback session the fellows are supposed to gather a set of their own observations on what strategies tend to be more effective in terms of involving outer public. Moreover, they are also expected to research the Internet for innovations when it comes to counteracting hate speech in other countries.

  • Out of the Box Activism: Getting People to Care, Faith Bosworth, Peng! Collective Berlin
  • Fellows’ Discussion

June 14

International Group Work: Searching for Good Practices and Innovations in Counteracting Hate Speech

The work which needs to be done depends on the internal work plan each group decides about. Moreover, the fellows are invited to reflect on their own Action Project. Their task is to build their ideas upon the experience of the fellowship and to come up with their own projects counteracting hate speech on-line. During this session they are expected to share their tentative ideas and plans.

  • Out of the Box Activism: Getting People to Care, Faith Bosworth, Peng! Collective Berlin
  • Action Projects: How to Link Output Phase with Individual Activism? Part 1
  • Fellows’ Discussion facilitated by Humanity in Action Poland staff

June 15

Day off 

June 16

Ideas Development, Presentation, Support & Feedback

The day is devoted to sharing first observations and results. Each group will have the time slot of ca. 30 minutes in total. It means that the presentation should take 15 minutes maximum during which the tentative results as well as ideas for new memes should be presented. Then each group will share the impressions/challenges as well as engage in the Q&A with the training team and a different group. Training team might share some observations spontaneously, but within that day each group will also receive a written feedback on request. From that time on the given group should implement the suggestions given by the training team.

  • Memes’ Laboratory, Faith Bosworth, Peng! Collective Berlin; Hannes Boettger, Peng! Collective Berlin; Monika Mazur-Rafał; and Przemysław Iwanek

June 17

Ideas Development, Presentation, Support & Feedback

The day is devoted to joint work on developing memes together and with support/under supervision of the training team. The best ideas would be shared through social media channels. Each group will gather feedback from on-line viewers and engage into conversations with the public. Observations would be gathered and on their basis new ideas for memes developed. From this day on the training team will be enriched by a graphic designer.

  • Memes’ Laboratory, Faith Bosworth, Hannes Boettger, Monika Mazur-Rafał and Przemysław Iwanek

June 18

Ideas Development, Presentation, Support & Feedback, cont.

On this day there will be a chance to continue working on memes with the training team. All teams are expected to come up with concrete result as outlined in preparatory materials. It would be also the time to discuss what challenges were encountered and how to respond to them most effectively?

  • Memes’ Laboratory, Faith Bosworth, Hannes Boettger, Monika Mazur-Rafał and Przemysław Iwanek

June 19

Searching for Good Practices in Counteracting Hate Speech: Work Continued; (Corpus Christi Feast)

  • Individual Assistance upon Request

June 20

Presenting Further Findings & New Ideas for Memes

This is the final feedback round with the training team and the last chance to introduce new round of memes. Organizationally each group will have the time slot of ca. 20 minutes in total and there is some time for a discussion. This feedback would be done via Skype/Google-Hangout. In the meantime all the groups are invited to proceed with searching for good practices in counteracting hate speech from all around the world and start drafting a report as well as getting initial ideas on the final presentation.

  • Group Presentations 

June 21

Searching for Good Practice and Drafting Reports

Apart from the individual work on reports the fellows will be provided with the chance to continue their reflection on how their fellowship experience could be helpful/inspirational in developing their own projects counteracting hate speech on-line. This session is thought out as a follow up to the session on June 14, 2014. The fellows are expected to show and share how their thinking on Action Projects after the fellowship has already progressed.

  • Let’s Talk about Humanity in Action and Activism Beyond, Dr. Judith Goldstein, Humanity in Action Founder and Executive Director
  • Action Projects: How to Link Output Phase with Individual Activism? Part 2
  • Fellows’ Discussion
  • Ukraine: Elections and Beyond, Henryk Wujec, advisor to the President of Poland, Humanity in Action Poland Board Member

June 22

  • Day off

June 23

Preparing Final Presentations of Anti-Virus Ideas

The fellows are requested to work on their final presentation and to look for an interesting format, such as TEDx-like style, creative workshop, public event etc. Each group will have 10 minutes and after a round of 3-4 groups there will be about 30 minutes for Q&A. Moreover, the groups need to polish their written group reports. 

June 24

Presenting Final Findings & New Ideas for Memes

This day is meant as a celebration of the whole fellowship process as well as show-time. The fellows should do their best to share with others in an interesting and engaging manner their findings and ideas. It will be also a time for collective brain-storming/feedback on how to make the already existing ideas and more effective and interesting. 

  • Public Presentation of Final Projects 
  • Farewell Dinner

June 25

Closing of the Warsaw-based 2014 Fellowship 

The aim of the meeting is to share impressions after the whole experience, exchange some ideas for improvement of the program for the future as well as to fill in a feedback questionnaire. This is also the time when the certificates will be handed in. Finally, the details of the travel to International Conference will be discussed. 

  • Sharing Impressions & Closing Remarks  
  • Handing in Certificates
  • Travel to Denmark

June 26 - 29

June 29 - 30

Fellows’ Travel Back Home


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