Guests list – World in Focus

Taras Kuzio

Professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Olaf Bock

German journalist for ARD

Olaf Bock has been Editor, Reporter and Editor as Chief in Charge for WDR. He worked as TV Correspondent and Editor in the USA, France, Kosovo, Libanon and states of former Soviet Union. From 2007 to 2013 he was ARD Correspondent in Russia.

Since 2017, he is the Head of TV-office and TV Correspondent in ARD-Studio Warsaw, Poland


Adam Dziedzic

A graduate of the BSc Global Management of Social Issues and MSc Organization Studies in the Netherlands.

Multiple projects and events coordinator focused on international relations, sustainable development and broadly understood social and civic activity. He also runs workshops on soft skills and intercultural communication for young people.

Currently, he is the President of the Board of the United Nations Association Poland. He gained experience, among others at EY Academy of Business or Fundacja im. Heinrich Bol in Warsaw. He also provides educational advice at the Baltic Council for International Education, where he works as a Study Abroad Manager.


Adam Traczyk

Co-founder and president of the Global.Lab Foundation, a progressive think-and-do tank dealing with foreign policy.

He studied international relations and political science in Warsaw, Bonn and Berlin. He worked, among others as a research assistant at the Ebert Foundation.

He writes about international policy and Polish-German relations in Polish and foreign press, including Krytika Polityczna, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Politico Europe and Die Welt.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Rafał Tomański

Rafał Tomański – journalist, Japanologist, author of books about Japan and Koreas.

He worked in Beijing as a correspondent for Polish Press Agency. He was reporting multiple international summits in this region for Polish press, among the others, G20 in Hangzhou in 2016, in Osaka in 2019 and second summit retweet Trump and Kim in Hanoi. 

Speaker in the following sessions:


Katarzyna Golik

Adjunct professor at the Centre of Asian and Pacific Studies at the Institute of Political Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Katarzyna Golik – adjunct professor at the Centre of Asian and Pacific Studies at the Institute of Political Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, lecturer at SWPS University. Graduate of Mongolian and Tibetan Studies and Finance and Banking. PhD in China’s education policy towards Mongols in Inner Mongolia. She received scholarships to study in Mongolia at the National University of Mongolia and in China at the Inner Mongolia University and at the Liaoning Normal University. She visited China regularly to participate in field research and academic conferences.

Author of several dozens of academic and popular science articles, co-author of a series of economic reports. Academc collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, University of Duisburg-Essen, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Zhejiang University.

Her main focus is on nationality processes in PRC, determinants of China’s local educational policy, economic and political transition in Mongolia and China.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Grzegorz Rzeczkowski

Sociologist and Europeanist, graduate of the Jagiellonian University. Former journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza” and “Przekrój”. He was the deputy head of the department of domestic issues in Dziennik.

Nominated for the Grand Press Award 2009 in the category of investigative journalism for a series of articles on The Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS). Nominated for the Radio ZET Award Andrzej Woyciechowski in 2018 and 2019. Author of the book “Foreign Alphabet. How the Kremlin and PiS people played wiretaps.”

Speaker in the following sessions:


Kai-Olaf Lang

Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Kai-Olaf Lang is a Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, a foreign-policy think-tank based in Berlin.

He holds a diploma in public administration and a PhD in Political Sciences. Previously, he worked as a research fellow at the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies (Bundesinstitut für internationale und ostwissenschaftliche Studien, BIOst) in Cologne.

His fields of specialisation include: countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including their transformation, domestic political developments, foreign and security policy, bilateral relations with Germany; EU enlargement and implications; security issues in CEE and European Neighbourhood Policy.

He is a member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde, of the German-Polish Kopernikus-Group, of the Council of the German-Czech Discussion Forum, of the Editorial Board of Przegląd Zachodni (Poznań), of the Advisory Board of Aspen Review Central Europe (Prague) and of the Scientific Council of Nowa Res Publica (Warsaw).

Speaker in the following sessions:


Mateusz Szczurek

Lead Economist for EU member states at the EBRD

Mateusz Szczurek is the Lead Economist for EU member states at the EBRD, member of the European Fiscal Board, and an adjunct professor at the Warsaw University.

He served as the Polish Minister of Finance in the governments of successive prime ministers Donald Tusk and Ewa Kopacz from 2013 to 2015. Named CEE Minister of Finance of the Year 2014 by Euromoney and Europe’s Finance Minister of the Year 2015 by The Banker magazine. He Co-chaired the finance ministers’ EPP group in 2015.

From 2011, Mateusz Szczurek was ING Bank’s chief economist for Central and Eastern Europe and for Poland in 1997-2011, an expert of CASE, and the Polish representative to Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.

He holds doctorate and MA from the University of Sussex and degrees from Warsaw and Columbia University.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Karolina Zbytniewska

Editor-in-Chief at

Graduate of European and American Studies, she studied at the University of Warsaw and in England, with an Erasmus detour at Freie Universität Berlin. After stints in the European Parliament, the Ministry of Environment and OSCE, as well as in several media outlets as a freelancer, she joined EURACTIV.PL in 2010. Starting as a journalist, she eventually became the managing director and editor-in-chief. Her analyses, op-eds and interviews are also published by English-language, pan-European EURACTIV.COM and Karolina often represents EURACTIV.PL, as an expert in European and international affairs, in radio and TV programmes. She is currently a PhD candidate focusing on contemporary populism and a European Marie Curie-Skłodowska research fellow in political science.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Joanna Maria Stolarek

German journalist and editorialist.

Joanna Maria Stolarek has been managing the Foundation’s Warsaw office since October 2019. She studied German, Slavic and Spanish philology at Karls-Eberhardt-Universität in Tübingen. Before taking on a career in journalism, she worked as a researcher at the faculty of economics and business law at HfWU Nuertingen Geislingen University in Geislingen/Steige.

After studying journalism in Munich, she worked as an editor and political commentator at Südwest Presse in Ulm, in the Märkische Oderzeitung in Frankfurt an der Oder and in the Neue Berliner Redaktionsgesellschaft in Berlin.  Her commitment to diversity – including in the media – took her to the NGO Neue deutsche Medienmacher, which promotes diversity in the media and works to ensure that texts and articles are written with sensitivity to cultural diversity. There she sat on the board and managed media projects. 

Joanna Stolarek publishes in various media, taking a Polish–German perspective. She specialises in politics – German and Polish politics in particular. She likes to write about and discuss Polish–German relations, and to analyse the political situation and social changes in both countries. She explains Poland to the Germans, and Germany to the Poles. She is an active mentor, and particularly supports women in their professional development.


Ziemowit Szczerek

Journalist, cooperates with “Polityka”,” Gazeta Wyborcza “and” Dziennik”.

Author of many books and reportages. He is mostly interested in Eastern Europe and geopolitical, historical and cultural eccentricities.

Winner of the 2013 POLITYKA Passport for the book “Przyjdzie Mordor…”, nominated for this book for the Nike 2013 and Angelus 2013 awards.


Ewa Łabno-Falęcka

Director of Corporate Communication and External Affairs at Mercedes-Benz Poland.


Dr Ewa Łabno-Falęcka: graduated of the Jagiellonian University (German Philology), Ph.D. in comparative studies at the University of Tübingen. Worked at universities in Poland and Germany. In the years 1993-1999 she councelor for culture at the Polish Embassy in Bonn / Germany). From 2000, responsible for communication and external affairs in the Daimler AG Group in Poland (a. o. Mercedes-Benz Polska and Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Poland).

Winner of many marketing and industry awards, including “Golden Arrow”, “PRotony”, “Thinking Outside of the Box” (twice), twice nominated for the European Excellence Award; “Businesswoman of the Year” (2016). ). Member of the Council of Superbrands and the Program Council of the Congress of Women. Co-founder and first president of the Partnership for Road Safety Association (2006-2010) and Society of Friends of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2008-2012)

Awarded by the Minister of Infrastructure “For Merit for Transport of the Republic of Poland” (2014) and Cross of Merit on the Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany (2019).  


Ingrid Brekke

Writer and journalist.

Ingrid Brekke is a writer and a journalist at Aftenposten, where she focuses on Germany and Central Europe. In 2010-2012, she was a Berlin correspondent, and, in 2017, she received a Willy Brandt Prize for her exceptional work on fostering German-Norwegian relations.

She has written extensively on Central and Eatern Europe, publishing, among others, “Angela Merkel. Et europeisk drama” (Angela Merkel. A European Drama) and “Da øst ble vest. Livet i Europa etter kommunismens fall” (And then the East Turned West. Life in Europe After Communism’s Fall).

Her last book “Polen. Aske og diamanter” (Poland. Ashes and diamonds), was  published in 2019, and provides an overview of Polish history for Norwegian readers.


Manuel Sarrazin

Member of the Bundestag. Member of the Foreign Commission. Member of the European Union Affairs Committee.

Spokesman for the Alliance of 90 / Greens in matters of Eastern European policy. Historian. In the years 2004–2008 he was a member of the Hamburg city / state parliament and spokesperson of the then-green alternative fraction (GAL Fraktion) for European affairs, foreign affairs and youth participation.

Member of the Bundestag since May 2008, he represents his parliamentary club in the European Union Affairs Committee. He was a spokesperson for European policy (2009-2017), since 2018, he is an ombudsman in matters of Eastern European policy, a member of the Foreign Commission and still a member of the European Union Affairs Committee. He is also the chairman of the German-Polish parliamentary group.


Emilie van Outeren

Central Europe and the Balkans correspondent.

Emilie van Outeren is a Central Europe and the Balkans correspondent, mainly for NRC, the Netherlands’ paper of record. Before moving to Warsaw in February of 2019, she was a political reporter in The Hague for six years.

She covered the 2016 US presidential election from Washington DC and was in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali — both embedded and unembedded.

She studied history at the University of Groningen and got a second master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School in New York. She has made regular appearances on Dutch talk shows and recently as an analyst on BBC World.


Christian Davies

Guardian and Observer correspondent based in Warsaw.

Christian Davies is a foreign correspondent based in Warsaw for the Guardian and Observer. He has written for the New Statesman, Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, and the London Review of Books, and he is a columnist for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2018, he received a commendation from the judges of the World Justice Project’s Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism.’


Bogdan Góralczyk

Director of the Centre for Europe at the University of Warsaw. 

Prof. dr hab. Bogdan Góralczyk is a political scientist, sinolog, publicist and a diplomat. He is a former Polish ambassador in Asian countries. 

Currently, he is a professor at the Centre for Europe at the University of Warsaw and chief editor of Publishing Programme at the Centre for Europe. He has recently published a book: “Great Renaissance. Chinese transformation and it’s consequences” (in polish). 

As a diplomat, he spent seven years in Hungary. He is currently working on his new book called: “Hungarian syndrome – Trianon”. 

Speaker in the following sessions:


Shahin Vallée

Senior policy fellow of the DGAP.

Shahin Vallée was a Senior Economist at Soros Fund Management and is currently working on a PhD at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

He was the Economic Advisor to the French Economy Minister until April 2015 based in Paris. Prior to that he was Economic Advisor to the President of the European Council based in Brussels. He is also fellow at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik. 

In the past Shahin served as a pro bono advisor to the Green Party’s presidential campaign in France on European and economic issues.

Shahin holds a master’s from Columbia University in New York, and a Public Affairs Degree from Sciences Po in Paris, as well as an undergraduate economics degree from La Sorbonne. 

Speaker in the following sessions:


Maria Świetlik

Political anthropologist, she works for workers’ rights and global justice.

Maria Świetlik is activist of the Climate Camp a member of the National Commission of the trade union “Inicjatywa Pracownicza” and of the board of the Roz: Ruch Association.


Piotr Trzaskowski

Political scientist and social activist associated with the NGO sector in Poland and Eastern Europe for 10 years.

He was involved in the projects related to energy transition in the CEE Bankwatch Network and European Climate Foundation. Later, he initiated the establishment of Akcja Demokracja, of which Piotr was a director. As a freelancer, supporter of organizations and social movements in Poland dealing with environmental protection, political education and defense of the rule of law.

Member of the Executive Committee of the CEE Bankwatch Network. A graduate of the 25th edition of the School of Political Leaders.

In his free time, Piotr co-creates the cooperative “Dobrze” and plays ultimate frisbee. He manages the Energy and Climate program in Heinrich Boell Fundation in Warsaw.


Stefan Gullgren

Stefan Gullgren is the Ambassador of Sweden to Poland. As a career diplomat he has previously served in Kiev and Moscow, as an ambassador.

He holds a master’s degree in law from the Uppsala University.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Justyna Gotkowska

Justyna Gotkowska is a project coordinator of the Security and Defence in Northern Europe Programme at Centre for Eastern Studies, where she works since 2008.

Her expertise includes security policy of Nordic states, Germany and Baltic States.

She graduated from University of Warsaw and RWTH Aachen.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Ellen Ueberschär

Since July 2017, Ellen Ueberschär is, along with Barbara Unmüßig, one of the presidents of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. As president of the Foundation she is responsible for the Foundation’s domestic policy department, for foreign and security policy, and for the European Union/North America department. In addition, she is in charge of the scholarship department, the Green Academy – a think tank of scholars and politicians -, as well as the research archive “Grünes Gedächtnis” (Green Memory Archive).

Between 2006 and 2017, she was the secretary general of the German Protestant Church Assembly (Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag). In this function, she coordinated six Protestant Church Congresses and one ecumenical one. Before, the ordained pastor was dean of the study program for theology, ethics, and law at the Evangelische Akademie Loccum.


Breathing room for freedom: How to benefit from digitalization rather than fear it


Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir

Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir (Iceland), has been Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights since 19 July 2017.

Ms. Gísladóttir has 35 years of leadership experience working on human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law at the international, national and local levels. Before taking up the position of ODIHR Director, she served from 2014 as Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at UN Women, and Country Representative to Turkey. From 2011 to 2014 she was Country Representative of UN Women to Afghanistan.

From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Gísladóttir served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. She was previously a Member of Parliament and Chairperson and Leader of the Social Democratic Alliance (2005 – 2009) and Mayor of the City of Reykjavik (1994 – 2003). In the early years of her political career, in 1982, she was one of the founders of the Women’s Party, laying the ground for Iceland’s remarkable progress in gender equality.

Throughout her career, Ms. Gísladóttir has been involved in policy and development work in conflict and non-conflict countries, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and human rights.


Joseph Soeters

Joseph Soeters is a retired professor of management and organization studies at the Netherlands Defense Academy. Currently he is a parttime professor of organizational sociology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, where he teaches in the program of Global Management of Social Issues. He has published extensively on military affairs, including peacekeeping, conflict resolution, effectiveness of military operations and multinational military operations.

His latest book was on “Sociology and Military Studies”. Next year, his new book on “Management and Military Studies” will be published. In 2015 he received the Morris Janowitz Award for service to the discipline of military social studies. 


Stefano Vergine

Freelanced investigative journalist, coauthor of “Il Libro Nero della Lega”

Stefano Vergine holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosopy at Università Statale di Milano and and a master’s degree in Journalism at IFG Carlo De Martino. After having worked for 10 years as freelancer for Italian newspapers, he served as Australia correspondant for the public Swiss radio of Canton Ticino from 2012 to 2014, and as reporter and deputy news editor of the Italian weekly L’Espresso from 2014 to 2018. His works focus on economics and politics.

He is now a freelance reporter contributing to Italian and foreign media. He has contributed to several international investigations such as Panama Papers, Malta Files and Football Leaks. He is the coauthor along with Giovanni Tizian of “Il Libro Nero della Lega”, a two years investigation into the Italian party headed by Matteo Salvini. In February 2019, the book first revealed the plan to fund Lega with Russian oil money.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Agnieszka Wójcik

UN Youth Delegate of Poland in the term 2019-2020. She studies law atthe University of Warsaw and has graduated from the Center for American Law Studies (Emory University School of Law & Georgia State University). She also serves as a localwatchdog.

Agnieszka has gained her professional experience while working for various NGOs, including: Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Association for Legal Intervention, Centerfor Citizenship Education, Humanity in Action or Citizens Network Watchdog Poland.

She isactively involved in the scientific societies movement at university and has launched theeducational platform “We are the UN”. Furthermore, she has coordinated the 5th HumanRights Week project and co – organized other students projects, such as: the ActionDiplomacy, the Oxford-style Debate Tournament or the Autumn School of Young Diplomats.

She strongly believes that youth not only should have vote but also voice. As the UN YouthDelegate of Poland she is mostly focused on climate action, human rights, youth participation,enduring inequalities and civic education.


Katarzyna Chimiak

Historian, translator, social activist.

One of the founders and member of the board of the Warsaw based „For Free Russia” association, which aims to promote dialogue between civil society in Russia and Poland.

She studied history at the University of Warsaw and International Relations at the Warsaw School of Economics. She currently works in the migration policy programme of the Institute of Public Affairs (Warsaw).

Speaker in the following sessions:


Witold Drożdż

Member of the Board at Orange Polska

Since 2018, Witold Droźdż is a Member of the Board for Strategic and Corporate affairs at Orange Polska. Member of the Orange Foundation Board. In 2012-18, he was an Executive Director for Corporate Affairs at Orange Polska. In 2010-2012, he was the Vice-President, and then acting President, of the Management Board of PGE Energia Jądrowa S.A.

In 2007-2010, he was a Deputy Minister of Interior and Administration responsible for the development of the information society and public registers and the chairman of the “Digital Poland” governmental team as well as a member of the government’s team for energy security and the inter-ministerial team for digital television and radio.

He received Info-Star (2009) and INFOSTAT (2009) awards as well as the award of the Ambassador of Digital Economy (2008). He is a member of the Main Council of the Business Centre Club.

He graduated in law and international relations at the University of Warsaw. He also graduated from the Stanford Executive Program at the University of Stanford.


Sylvie Kauffmann

Journalist, editor at Le Monde

Kauffmann earned degrees from the Training Centre for Journalists in Paris, the Institute for Political Studies in Aix-en-Provence, and the faculty of law at the University of Provence Aix-Marseille. She also received a degree in Spanish from the University of Deusto in Bilbao.

In 1979 Kauffmann began working at Agence France-Presse as a foreign correspondent stationed in various locations. Eight years later she joined Le Monde as the paper’s Moscow correspondent. Soon she became the correspondent for Eastern and Central Europe, which enabled her to report on the fall of communism and the democratic transitions. In 1993 Kauffmann was transferred to the United States, where she served as the Washington correspondent and then the New York bureau chief . In 2002, she wrote a prizewinning series of articles about life in the United States following the September 11 attacks. Currently, she is the Editorial Director in “Le Monde”.


Europe Is a Soft Target. And It’s Under Attack.


Agnieszka Lichnerowicz

Head of the Foreign Desk at TOK FM Radio, host of the Światpogląd programme

Lichnerowicz also worked as a reporter, cpvering several different events such  elections, conflicts and international summits around the world. She has been to Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus as well as Northern Africa during the Arab Spring . She has also reported on the transformations in Myanmar.

Among many other prizes, she was awarded with PAP’s (Polish Press Agency) R. Kapuściński award. She co-hosts the “Poczytalni” programme. Lichnerowicz is a graduate of the Warsaw School of Economics.

Speaker in the following sessions:


Piotr Buras

Director of Warsaw’s European Council on Foreign Relations Office

Piotr Buras is a journalist, author and expert in German and European politics. Between 2008 and 2012 he worked as a columnist and Berlin correspondent for “Gazeta Wyborcza”, the biggest Polish daily.

He started his professional career in the late 1990s at the Centre for International Relations in Warsaw, one of the first Polish think-tanks. He continued his career at the Institute for German Studies at the University of Birmingham and at the University of Wroclaw (Poland). He was also a visiting fellow at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. His recent book “Moslems and the other Germans. The Reinvention of the Berlin Republic” was published in Polish in 2011.


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