Ewa Kulik-Bielińska, director of the Batory Foundation, became the winner of the Henryk Wujec Citizens’ Award on Saturday. – She is a spokeswoman and defender of social organizations in Poland and Europe, working for good law for social and civic activities – reads part of the laudation given in her honor. The distinction was presented during the finale of the 23rd edition of the WATCH DOCS Film Festival.
On Saturday, the Henryk Wujec Citizens’ Award was awarded for the second time. The winner was Ewa Kulik-Bielińska. “She is the director of the Batory Foundation, an activist of the democratic opposition in the Polish People’s Republic, a translator of fiction, for years involved in activities to improve the functioning of non-governmental organizations, the development of philanthropy and civic activity in the country and abroad. Former president of the European Foundation Center (EFC) in Brussels, bringing together over two hundred of the largest European foundations,” write the organizers of the award.
As Karolina Dreszer-Smalec, president of the Polish Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations, who delivered the laudation in honor of the winner, said: “Ewa Kulik-Bielińska is a spokeswoman and defender of social organizations in Poland and Europe, works for good law for social and civic activities, supports organizations by creating financing programs their actions, and engages in initiatives and campaigns for democracy, free media and the common good.
Helena Łuczywo, the second laudator who collaborated with Ewa Kulik during the Solidarity era, added: – Ewa was 24 years old when, just after the introduction of martial law, she became a pillar of the Solidarity underground. In her hands was the hiding of the leaders of the Warsaw “Solidarity”, their safety and communication with the world. She co-founded TKK (Temporary Coordination Committee of NSZZ “Solidarność” – ed.), i.e. the national leadership of the underground.
“He is a living symbol of Polish civil society”
– Human rights in Poland they are still violated. Ewa Kulik-Bielińska knows the environment, joys and pains of civic movements and organizations like no one else. For years, she has been making sure that activists are not alone and can fight for our rights – said Julia Brykczyńska, director of the Civic Fund. Henryk Wujec.
Maciej Nowicki, president of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, said: – Ewa Kulik-Bielińska supports the cooperation of social organizations on specific, important issues and defends their freedom of action in times of crisis of the rule of law. He is always guided by the public interest, not by particular sympathies. She is a living symbol of Polish civil society, which has a wise guardian in her.
– This year’s context is also important. Parliamentary elections were the most important event of 2023, and Ewa Kulik-Bielińska was with defenders of women’s rights at that time. With her involvement in mobilization and turnout initiatives, she supported the victory of civil society – added Anna Błaszczak-Banasiak, director Amnesty International Poland.
Kulik-Bielińska: I received the award with great emotion
Ewa Kulik-Bielińska admitted in an interview with TVN24 that she received the award “with great emotion”. – The last eight years have been quite intense and we had the feeling that these civil and human rights needed to be defended at virtually every step – she added.
– Social organizations that deal with this, human rights activists, after these eight years, I have the feeling that some of them are really exhausted. And the people who helped them in this difficult work are often not visible, she continued.
– So I am very pleased that the organizers of this award decided that it is worth showing those who help those who help others. Because help requires support. It also requires support in this material dimension. You simply need to have the means to be able to help others. But also in the psychological and emotional dimension. Our solidarity and concern for these people, she said.
As she admitted, “I am so pleased that the Batory Foundation in my person, because I see it as a reward for me, but also for the Foundation that provides such help, has been noticed.”
The organizers inform that Saturday’s award ceremony ended the two-day Rally of Defenders of Human Rights and the Rule of Law ’23, which created an opportunity to meet social organizations and activists from all over Poland. The program included workshops, training, film screenings and discussions, participation in the Letter Writing Marathon organized by Amnesty International and meetings on current issues, such as the case of Andrzej Poczobut, the meeting of the ‘Our Ombudsman’ initiative, the meeting of the OFOP Monitoring Committees and the joint celebration of the International Human Rights Day.
Henryk Wujec Award
“The Henryk Wujec Citizens’ Award is awarded to those who exceptionally support people and organizations working for human rights. It is an award for people and institutions that have shown courage, empathy and commitment to support activists defending human rights in Poland The award for ‘helping people’ was presented by social organizations on the evening of December 9 during the closing ceremony of the 23rd WATCH DOCS International Film Festival. Human rights in film. The patron of the award is the oppositionist and social activist, Henryk Wujec, and its organizer is the Henryk Civic Fund. “Uncle”.
It is awarded periodically around International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10. In December 2022 received the first Citizen’s Award Dr. Hanna Machińska.
The Chapter of the Citizens’ Award Henryk Wujec is composed of representatives of: the Civic Fund. Henryk Wujc – the organizer of the Award, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights – the organizer of the WATCH DOCS Festival, the National Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations, within which the “Our Ombudsman” initiative operates, and Amnesty International Polska.
Patron of the award
Henryk Wujec (1940-2020) was an activist of the democratic opposition against the communist authorities of the Polish People’s Republic, politician and social activist. He co-organized a relief campaign for the repressed workers of Ursus and Radom, cooperated with the Workers’ Defense Committee, was a member of the Social Self-Defense Committee “KOR”, co-founder of the Free Trade Unions of the Coast and a member of the authorities NSZZ “Solidarity“. In the 1980s he was a political prisoner. He participated in the Round Table talks.
He was also a member of the Sejm in 1989-2001, deputy minister of agriculture in Jerzy Buzek’s government and social adviser to the president Bronisław Komorowski.
Main photo source: PIOTR KAMIONKA/REPORTER