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The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Skopje

together with

The School of Critical Thinking, Writing and Debating


cordially invite you to

a public lecture followed by a discussion




Krzysztof Czyżewski


Liberty versus Solidarity: Challenging Modern Art and Culture


Gem Club, Old Bazaar, Monday, December 14th, 7:00 pm


…We return to solidarity like wanderers returning home from a long journey along the paths of liberty. It is for liberty that we have created the Cartesian worldview of the human "I" in the centre, we have also created for it the state system (in the service of the national independence), the political system (with the government elected by the majority’s free will) and the economic system (based on the notions of private property and free market), and finally, we have developed the culture that puts in its centre the unfettered ego of the artist-demiurge. It took time for us to understand that liberty without equality and brotherhood brings slavery. Inhabiting sovereign nation-states we have begun to feel threatened by internal and external violence of those who had the first-hand experience of the lack of solidarity. Continually expanding the scope of individual freedoms we learnt to know the bitter taste of alienation, selfishness and loneliness among other people, as well as depression, the most common disease of liberal societies. It is the experience of modernity that made us realize that man is born for freedom, but becomes truly free only when one is able to voluntarily consent to give up one’s freedom.·Therefore, we return to solidarity…

Krzysztof Czyżewski·is a social activist, theater producer, essayist, and publisher, and the founder and director of the·Borderland Foundation·(Fundacja Pogranicze) in Sejny, Poland (just miles from the border with Lithuania). After graduating from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan with a degree in Polish literature, he co-founded in 1977 the now world-renowned Gardzienice Theater Company in Lublin, which collects ethnographic materials from around the world to create what they call an "ethno-oratorial song theater."
In 1990, called to action by the possibilities afforded by the collapse of Communism, and departing from his experimental theater past, Czyżewski committed himself to creating a model of·a living civil society. He founded the Borderland Foundation as an innovative institution devoted to memorializing, rebuilding, and sustaining the rich cultural diversity in Central and Eastern Europe that was nearly destroyed by two world wars. The following year he founded the Borderland Center of Arts, Cultures, and Nations, which comprises a school, several studios, an archive, and a café. And in 1993, he founded the Borderland Publishing House (Wydawnictwo Pogranicze) as well as the magazine·Krasnogruda—which is named after Czesław Milosz's family manor nearby (a house that the Borderland Foundation has obtained for the home of its International Dialogue Center). Czyżewski's own manifesto,·The Path of the Borderland, was published in 2001.

Czyżewski participates in meetings of the European Discussion Club Gulliver in Amsterdam and the Remarque Forum in New York. As a member of its council on culture he collaborates with the Open Society Institute in Budapest.·

He has been a member of the Council on Culture for the President of Poland, the Council on Culture UNESCO-Poland, the Programming Council of "Kraków 2000—European Cultural Capital", the Adam Mickiewicz Polish-Lithuanian Council, and a member of the board of the Czesław Milosz Foundation in Lithuania.

Czyżewski is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among others: award of the Foundation POLCUL (Melbourne 1992), Kultura (Paris 1996), Gabor Bethlen Award for the Man of Central Europe (Budapest 1998), Diploma of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for extraordinary service in the promotion of Poland in the world (2000), Giedymin Order for his input in developing collaboration between Poland and Lithuania (2001), and the Order of Polonia Restituta (2002).

Since 2003 Krzysztof Czyżewski has been an active·member of the European Culture Parliament, bringing his authoritative voice to bear on the role of culture and the arts in Europe. In 2008 he served as·Polish Ambassador to the European Commission's European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. He was appointed Artistic Director of Wroclaw—European Capital of Culture 2016 for 2012-2013. He is a Chairman of the Jury of the Irena Sendlerowa Prize (Warsaw) and a President of the Board of Eastern Partnership Congress of Culture (Lublin).

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