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About the University

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Winners from the previous years

The winners of the Oświęcim Award for Human Rights of John Paul II in 2005 were Stefan Wilkanowicz (Poland) and Bp Václav Malý (Czech Republic).

Václav Malý (born September 21, 1950 in Prague), an auxiliary bishop of Prague, the former spokesman for the Charter 77, a defender of human rights. From 1969 to 1976 he attended the seminary in Litoměřice. On June 26, 1976 he was ordained priest. In 1977 he signed Charter 77. Two years later, the Communist authorities forbade him to perform priestly duties and put him to prison for 7 months. Between 1980 and 1989 he worked physically as a stoker, at the same time secretly performing priestly duties. From January 13, 1981 to January 7, 1982 he was the spokesman for Charter 77, and later he co-founded the Civic Forum (Občanské forum). He played one of the key roles in the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Between 1990 and 1996 he was the parish priest in the St. Anthony's Church in Holešovice, Prague. On 1 December 1996 John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Prague. His motto as a bishop is "Humility and Truth". He is also an ardent defender of human rights, who visits countries ruled by totalitarian regimes, such as Belarus, Cuba, China, Iran and Chechnya, where he meets with opposition members, speaks up for political prisoners and supports their families.          

Stefan Wilkanowicz (born January 3, 1924 in Warsaw), a Polish journalist, columnist and a Catholic activist, a philosopher and an engineer by profession. He was one of the founders of the Clubs of Catholic Intelligentsia in Warsaw and Krakow. Since 1957 he has been cooperating with Znak publishing company and with Tygodnik Powszechny weekly. From 1978 to 1994 he was the editor-in-chief of Znak monthly. As a catholic activist, he presided over the Apostolic Lay Commission of the Pastoral Synod of the Krakow Archdiocese. Between 1977 and 1979 he was the member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Since 1993 he has been the Vice-Chairman of the National Council of Catholic Laity. Besides, he is the Deputy Chairman of the International Auschwitz Council and the head of its Education Committee, the Chairman of the Council of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, the Deputy Chairman of the Polish Committee for UNESCO (since 1999) and the Chairman of the Board of Znak Christian Culture Foundation. He has written several books and a number of articles on Christianity and was the main author of the preamble to the present Polish Constitution. His achievements include a number of initiatives designed to promote Polish-Jewish and Polish-German dialogue. He was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of St. Sylvester as well as numerous prizes.

In 2009 the Award went to André Glucksmann (France).

André Glucksmann (born June 19, 1937 in Boulogne-Billancourt), a French writer and philosopher of Jewish origin, a member of the Nouvelle philosophie movement. One of the most distinguished philosophers and non-fiction writers of the modern day. In his books he often deals with the issue of cruelty. He is an ardent proponent of the attitude of commitment, both in thinking and in politics. He belongs to the generation of French intellectuals, who rebelled against the dominant Marxism in the 1970s. His philosophical views have been based on deep moral sensitivity to harm and suffering. He tries to communicate this sort of sensitivity to his readers, encouraging them to reflect upon human suffering inflicted by other human beings. This sensitivity makes him horrified by the cruelty, present throughout the history on nearly all fields of human activity. For many years he has been preaching his "eleventh commandment": Thou shall not make other people suffer and pursue your goals at their expense, but refrain from evil.  

 

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