Author and Human Rights Activist Adam Michnik Visits April 4

Historian, writer, and lecturer Adam Michnik, author of Letters From Prison and Other Essays and current editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, will visit the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Wednesday, April 4 to discuss “Democracy and Religion.” The public portion of the program begins at 6:45 pm; seating is free, on a first-come basis.

A lifelong activist for human rights, Michnik was detained many times between 1965 and 1986, spending a total of six years in prison for his opposition to the communist regime. An adviser to the Solidarity trade union during the 1980s, he was a negotiator for the Solidarity team during the Round Table negotiations of 1989 between representatives of the government, Solidarity, and other groups that brought an end to communist rule in Poland.

He is the author of countless essays, articles, and books, including Letters from Prison and Other Essays (1985), Letters from Freedom: Post-Cold War Realities and Perspectives (1998), and The Church and the Left (1993). In these he discusses Polish intellectual tradition, history, politics, and current affairs. Historians and scholars have commented that his writings, like the Federalist papers or the articles and letters of Gandhi, are not only reflections on action, but a form of action themselves.

In addition to receiving numerous awards for his eloquently articulated advocacy of democracy and freedom of the press, Michnik is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and Der Spiegel. He is also a visiting fellow at Loyola Marymount University in Santa Monica as well as Princeton University.

In 2005 Michnik spoke at a number of events and met with classes on campus as a Podlich Distinguished Fellow. These included his featured remarks on the late Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Miloszhonored during the Milosz International Festival: The Exile in California, a four-day event held on the CMC campus in 1998and the recent passing of Pope John Paul II. He also was a keynote speaker for the Athenaeum conference The Changing Face of Europe: European Institutions in the 21st Century, organized by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.

While in residence at CMC, he also worked on two articles: one on terrorism and the French Revolution, and one on Milosz and the contemporary meaning of The Captive Mind.

Michnik’s April 2007 visit to CMC is sponsored by The Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

——Consuelo Gaytan ’07