Former Minister of Foreign Affairs leads Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters

ANN ARBOR, MICH., February 10, 2012–Polish-Russian relations carry a heavy burden of historical conflict and misunderstanding. To address these challenges, the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) welcomes Adam Daniel Rotfeld, former Polish minister of foreign affairs, for his lecture titled, “Polish-Russian Reconciliation: Implications for Europe” at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, February 21. Professor Rotfeld is co-chairman of the Polish-Russian Group on Difficult Matters, a committee established by the governments of both countries to address their shared history, such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact under which the Soviet Union and Germany secretly agreed to divide and invade Poland in 1939 and the Katyn Massacre for which the Soviets falsely blamed the Germans for killing thousands of Polish officers in 1940.

Professor Rotfeld will draw upon the lessons learned from this process of historical reconciliation between Poland and Russia to show how it can be useful for other European countries with strained historical relationships. He will argue that the reconciliation process will be essential to establishing a new and effective Euro-Atlantic Security Community built on understanding, trust, and cooperation. Lessons from the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters show that overcoming historical grievances requires a broad-based, comprehensive, multilevel process, which should transcend official political and diplomatic efforts and engage many different sectors of society in dialogue.

Adam Daniel Rotfeld is professor of humanities at Warsaw University and was the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs from January-October 2005. He has been the Polish Co-Chairman of the Polish-Russian Group on Difficult Matters since it was established in 2008.

DATE: February 21, 2012

PLACE: 1636 International Institute/School of Social Work, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; Center for European Studies; Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Copernicus Endowment; International Policy Center


The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) promotes scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Initially focusing on transitions in Europe and Eurasia, it will subsequently expand its scope to other emerging democracies across the globe. For more information, visit

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). For more information, visit