The Copernicus Program in Polish Studies (CPPS) at the University of Michigan is pleased to announce that Robert Biedroń will give the 2016 Annual Copernicus Lecture on November 2. Biedroń was elected mayor of Słupsk in 2014, serving before that as a member of the Polish parliament. He is the co-founder of the Warsaw-based Campaign Against Homophobia, and is the first openly gay parliamentarian and mayor in Poland. “Robert Biedroń is not only an important LGBT activist; in recent years he has become an important advocate for minority and human rights more broadly, supporting the rights of refugees in Europe and women in Poland,” says CPPS director Geneviève Zubrzycki. “We are thrilled to bring this important figure in Polish and international politics to campus.”
In the Annual Copernicus Lecture, titled “Sexual Minorities and Civil Rights in Poland,” Biedroń will explore the recent history of LGBT rights in Poland. Since the fall of communism, Polish society has become more accepting of sexual minorities, aided in part by the official registration of organizations and media presence. The recent political trend in Poland has been conservative, fueled in part by the country’s strong Catholic base, and there has been a backlash and legislative ban on almost all LGBT-related issues. Biedroń will draw on his years of experience as a legislator and activist to provide an overview of this history and discuss the current political climate.
During his visit to the University of Michigan, Biedroń will meet with students and members of the local Polish community. He will also meet Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor and the Ann Arbor LGBT City Liaison.
Wed, Nov 2, 5:30-7 pm
Annual Copernicus Lecture. “Sexual Minorities and Civil Rights in Poland.” Robert Biedroń, LGBT activist and mayor of Słupsk, Poland. Stern Auditorium, UMMA, 525 S. State. Free and open to the public.
The Copernicus Program in Polish Studies (CPPS) at the University of Michigan was established in 2014 after 40 years of activity and programs offered by the Nicolaus Copernicus Endowment. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the great Polish astronomer’s birth, the endowment and a Polish program were launched in 1973 in cooperation with students, faculty, and the Polish Americans of Michigan who contributed generously with their time, energy, and financial assistance. CPPS continues the tradition today by enabling faculty appointments, programming, and student fellowships in Polish studies. It also organizes the Annual Copernicus Lecture—established in 1980—which brings prominent academic, cultural, and political figures to campus to offer the public a deeper understanding of Poland’s people, culture, and history, as well as its growing influence in world academics, arts, and affairs. For more information, visit ii.umich.edu/cpps.