In the justification of its decision, the jury stressed that the former prime minister of Poland received the award, among others, for her fruitful contribution to the creation of foundations of the Third Polish Republic. Hanna Suchocka is greatly surprised by this distinction. ‘I have never assumed that I could obtain the award that he established,’ she says. Because of the existing situation, she will collect the award only in autumn.
Laurels for thinking of the state as the common good
The Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award was established in 2004 both by the legendary “Courier from Warsaw” and the City of Wroclaw, the College of Eastern Europe, the University of Wroclaw and the Ossoliński National Institute. It is granted to people who impersonate “thinking of the state as the common good” as well as institutions that significantly contributed to the fall of communism, the restoration of Poland’s independence and the formation of a civic society.
‘Thinking of the state as the common good is the lesson that we still have to learn. The entire transformation process was an attempt to create a civic society. A state understood as the common good, where we all feel responsible for it,’ remarks Hanna Suchocka.
The Mayor of Wroclaw Jacek Sutryk emphasises Hanna Suchocka’s huge contribution to the development of self-governance and the idea of local government. ‘We cannot forget that it was Hanna Suchocka’s government that created the self-government reform assuming the introduction of counties and large provinces. From the current perspective, we can see how important that initiative was and how strongly it contributed to the development of the self-government that we know today. Particularly in Wroclaw, we are very grateful for this,’ Jacek Sutryk has no doubts.
Hanna Suchocka was born in 1946. An academic teacher, the holder of a habilitation degree in legal sciences, an associate professor of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. A Dame of the Order of the White Eagle. She was the first female prime minister in Poland (1992–1993). She held the functions of Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General (1997–2000) and was the ambassador of Poland to the Holy See and the Order of Malta (2001–2013).
She was a member of the Sejm of the 8th term of the Polish People’s Republic and of the Contract Sejm in the years 1980–1985 and 1989–1991 and a member of the Sejm of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd term of the Republic of Poland in the years 1991–2001.
Previous laureates of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Award:
- 2004 – Tadeusz Mazowiecki – the first prime minister of the Third Polish Republic (1989–1991)
- 2005 – George H. W. Bush – the 41st president of the United States (1989–1993)
- 2006 – Stanislav Shushkevich – the first chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus
- 2007 – Jean-Marie Lustiger – a cardinal and Archbishop of Paris in the years 1981–2005
- 2008 – Sergei Kovalyov – a human rights activist
- 2009 – Václav Havel – the last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and the first president of Czech Republic (1993–2003)
- 2010 – Leszek Balcerowicz – the author of Polish economic reform in the years 1989–1990, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Finance in the years 1989–1991 and 1997–2000, President of the National Bank of Poland in the years 2001–2007
- 2011 – Jerzy Koźmiński – President of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation
- 2012 – Valdas Adamkus – President of Lithuania in the years 1998, 2003 and 2004–2009
- 2013 – “Kultura” Literary Institute – established by Jerzy Giedroyć in Paris in 1946
- 2014 – Zbigniew Brzeziński – President Carter’s National Security Advisor in the years 1977–1981
- 2015 – Tomas Venclova – a Lithuanian poet, essayist and prose writer, a professor at Yale University (USA)
- 2016 – Bishop Borys Gudziak – Eparch of the Saint Vladimir the Great in Paris, the founder of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv
- 2017 – Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz – Archbishop Emeritus of Wroclaw
- 2018 – Szewach Weiss – a former ambassador of Israel in Poland
- 2019 – Joachim Gauck – President of Germany in the years 2012–2017