The Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) at the University of Michigan International Institute is pleased to announce that Lech Wałęsa will deliver the WCEE Distinguished Lecture, “Russia’s War on Ukraine and Its Global Impact.” The lecture will be presented in person at Rackham Amphitheatre and virtually as a livestream video on Tuesday, September 13 at 4:00 PM. Along with WCEE, generous support for this lecture comes from the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Democracy & Debate, and the Weiser Diplomacy Center.

Lech Wałęsa was the co-founder and leader of the Solidarity movement that paved the way to the first democratic elections in Poland in 1989 and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he was the first democratically elected President of Poland since 1926, serving from 1990-95.

“We are excited to have Lech Wałęsa visit and share his perspective on the war in Ukraine. Poland has a long and complicated history with Russia, and Lech Wałęsa’s personal and political experiences as leader of Solidarity in the 1980s and as President of Poland in the 1990s give him a unique vantage point to discuss some of the implications of Putin’s authoritarian regime,” said Geneviève Zubrzycki, WCEE director and professor of sociology.  “Polish society’s response to the war, welcoming millions of Ukrainian refugees, also reminds us of the importance of solidarity, a value Lech Wałęsa holds dear.” Zubrzycki also notes, “The University of Michigan has long been the leading Polish studies program in North America, and it is fitting to have Lech Wałęsa—a central figure in modern Polish history—visit Ann Arbor to talk with students.” The event complements a major international conference at the University of Michigan in 1999, “Communism’s Negotiated Collapse: The Polish Round Table Ten Years Later,” which gathered former communist leaders, members of Solidarity, and leaders of the Catholic Church in Poland who negotiated the first semi-democratic elections in Communist Europe and marked the end of communism in the region.

WCEE Distinguished Lecture
Russia’s War on Ukraine and Its Global Impact
Tuesday, September 13, 4:00 PM
Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E. Washington
Livestream at

The 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 comprised of the Center for European Studies (CES); Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES); and Copernicus Center for Polish Studies (CCPS); and works in association with the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan International Institute. For more information, visit