ANN ARBOR, MICH., January 15, 2014 –
For Immediate Release

Contact: Marysia Ostafin
Copernicus Program in Polish Studies
University of Michigan
Phone: 734. 647.2237

The University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) and the International Institute (II) have formally approved the establishment of the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies. The program is supported by the Nicolaus Copernicus Endowment, LSA and the II, and administered as part of the Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE). It is directed by Geneviève Zubrzycki, associate professor of sociology.

The Nicolaus Copernicus Endowment was founded in 1973 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Its activities quickly gained national and international recognition and is now widely regarded as the premier Polish Studies program in North America. It has been at the forefront of rigorous, multidisciplinary analysis of Polish affairs, and the teaching of Polish language, history, culture, and politics. Undergraduate and graduate courses relevant to Polish Studies are routinely taught by a dozen faculty and lecturers affiliated with the program. Since 1990, over 25 doctoral dissertations on Polish topics have been successfully defended. The Nicolaus Copernicus Endowment funds Copernicus Fellowships for Incoming Graduate Students in Polish Studies and Copernicus Summer Grants, and supports Polish language instruction.

In addition to formal instruction and graduate training, the Copernicus Endowment organizes the Annual Copernicus Lecture, which has featured luminaries such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henryk Górecki, Agnieszka Holland, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Leszek Kolakowski, Czeslaw Milosz, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Many of these distinguished lectures have been part of broader programming built around symposia and mini-courses, art exhibitions, musical performances, and film series. In 1999, the Copernicus Endowment’s Steering Committee organized an unprecedented—and never replicated—conference on the tenth anniversary of the Polish Round Table Agreement, attended by key participants of that historic event and prominent scholars from across the world.

By formally recognizing the Copernicus Endowment’s activities as a Program on its 40th anniversary, the University of Michigan is investing in a vibrant and internationally renowned area studies program with wide support at the university and in the community, while contributing to the University of Michigan’s tradition of excellence in global education. The Copernicus Program in Polish Studies promises to deepen and spread knowledge on Polish-related themes in the future and looks forward to building new bridges with educational institutions of that vibrant society.

Geneviève Zubrzycki      Ken Kollman
Associate Professor of Sociology Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor
Director, Copernicus Program in Polish Studies Professor of Political Science
  Director, International Institute