Varsovian of the Year 2020


 
Warszawianka Roku

idea

The idea of the Plebiscite is to honour a woman whose social engagement or professional activities have made a special contribution to the development and promotion of Warsaw.
The Varsovian of the Year title recognises both; commitment to the Capital City and efforts to promote openness and tolerance as well as exceptional field-specific achievements and efforts to support women, the civic society and local communities in Warsaw.

In view of this year's celebration of the 15th anniversary of Poland's accession to the European Union, and the 30th anniversary of the first free elections in Poland, we have also decided to award a special title of Varsovian of the Transition Period. The idea is to select community leaders from among women whose outstanding activities over the last 30 years have contributed to the major social transitions in freedom, equality and human rights.

From among the proposed candidates for the Varsovian of the Year title, the Jury will choose 10 candidates for the nomination.
Candidates for the special Varsovian of the Transition Period title will be proposed by the Jury members themselves, who will then choose five ladies to compete for the title.

The winners in both categories will be selected through public voting.
It is you, dear Varsovians, who will decide whom you wish to call Varsovian of the Year and Varsovian of the Transition Period!

nominations

Nomination for the Varsovian of the Year

Ewa Jurkiewicz (zdjęcie)

Ewa Jurkiewicz

Conductor of amateur choirs in numerous cultural institutions operating in Warsaw.
She began signing while dancing at the Song and Dance Group of the Warsaw University of Technology, which she had joined to get credits on her PE lessons. more

While in the Group, she realised that music can not only be of huge therapeutic value but also have impact on interpersonal relations. She was then admitted to the Faculty of Choir Conducting at the University of Music in Warsaw, which she completed with merits.

Jurkiewicz's mission is to make Polish people sing more often, feel more confident and become more open to others. Her dream is to revive the old Polish tradition of making music and singing together: at home, with one's own family, on many occasions.

The amateur choirs she conducts attract people representing various social backgrounds, generations and views, who come together to share their passion for singing. During her workshops, Jurkiewicz teaches people to accept both themselves and others.
Her enthusiasm is infectious, and she shows others how to derive pleasure from conscious and communal contact with music. less
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Katarzyna Homan (zdjęcie)

Katarzyna Homan

Local democracy and civic activist; culture animator and urban activist.
She wants Warsaw to become a place friendly to all residents (especially young mothers) as well as a green city free from social and architectural barriers more

– a capital that cherishes originality and uniqueness, with residents committed to the good of their community.

She believes in joint actions which respond to the actual problems and people's needs. Together with Varsovians, she took measures to uphold the tradition of the Wolumen Bazaar, proving that Warsaw can join forces for the common cause despite the division.
The action “We won't return the Wolumen!ˮ brought together residents, merchants, farmers, members of local government and artists. In 2013 Homan set up the “Bielany Activistsˮ group integrating social activists, members of cultural circles, entrepreneurs, as well as representatives of various institutions based in the Bielany District, and officials. She was the initiator and producer of the “Genius szuka locumˮ debate, the aim of which was to shed light on the issues of establishing local centres and creative spaces, and making workshop facilities available to creators and craftsmen in various districts of Warsaw. She has also launched several resident integration projects, such as “Local Activity Festivalˮ or “Open Microphone: Residents Speak Out.ˮ less
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Urszula Nowakowska (zdjęcie)

Urszula Nowakowska

A lawyer and a feminist, founder of one of the first organisations dealing with women’s rights – the Polish Feminist Association (Polskie Towarzystwo Feministyczne). more

Despite her inborn shyness, she always reacts to injustice. She is co-founder of Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE), and founder of the Women's Right Centre (Fundacja Centrum Praw Kobiet), an organisation providing legal advice and psychological counselling to women who are victims of violence, sexual offences or mobbing. She is the author of numerous publications, including guidebooks on law for women. She was also the author of draft legislation on counteracting violence in close relationships, numerous amendments to legislation on counteracting violence in families, and amendments to laws regarding rape.

She was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

Her greatest satisfaction comes from positive stories of women who were successfully supported, as well as from the visible transformation of social awareness, and legal changes. Her dream is to engage the greatest possible number of women in efforts to help other people. less
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Ewa Kulik-Bielińska (zdjęcie)

Ewa Kulik-Bielińska

She needs a purpose in life, something that would go beyond her own life, and that is why she has been socially committed since her early years. more

She is a translator of literature, but her urge to take action has never allowed her to stay in one place for too long. During the communist era, she was an activist in the Student Solidarity Committee, editor of independent periodicals, and co-organiser of the all-Polish opposition underground centre.
Following the transformation, she has been supporting non-governmental organisations and charity projects, and promoting civic participation.
For nearly 20 years, she has been supporting the development of democracy and civic society in the Stefan Batory Foundation, where she is the Executive Director.

Her greatest satisfaction comes from supporting and building a society in which people want to develop communities, co-operate and engage in various activities, focusing on the well-being of their communities instead of their own.

She is convinced that we are living in an era of women who shape reality by taking action in culture, NGOs, urban movements and charity organisations. less
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Ewa Błaszczyk (zdjęcie)

Ewa Błaszczyk

Co-founder of the Akogo? Foundation. She is a renowned actress and singer, who claims to have been forced to overcome her inherent timidity when taking entrance exams to a drama school. She has always found human brain fascinating more

So, had she not passed the exams, she would have most likely become a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
She did not found the Akogo? Foundation by choice. It was life that challenged her. Having no options to choose from, she simply took matters into her own hands.
The Foundation that Błaszczyk founded jointly with Rev. Wojciech Drozdowicz in 2002 has facilitated the exchange of knowledge on treatment of coma patients and the introduction of experimental therapies in Poland.
It was through the Foundation's efforts that in 2013 the “Budzikˮ (“Alarm Clockˮ) Neurorehabilitation Clinic was established in Warsaw as the first model hospital treating paediatric coma patients. So far, the facility has had an impressive record of 50 patients waking up from a coma.
In 2017 the first “Budzikˮ for adult patients was established in Olsztyn, and it will soon be followed by another facility, this time in the Bródno District of Warsaw.
Błaszczyk has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. less
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Dr Bianka Siwińska (zdjęcie)

Dr Bianka Siwińska

Doctor of political sciences, advocate for increased participation of women in technology development.

Head of the “Perspektywy” Education Foundation, and Editor-in-Chief of a periodical of the same title. more

She organised the first campaigns in Poland for supporting women’s carriers in science and technology sectors, e.g. Campaigns entitles “Girls to Universities of Technology”, “and “Girls to Science”. She is developing scholarship programmes for women and girls, to help them spread their wings.
In 2019, she initiated meetings for talented women in new technologies (“Perspektywy Women in Tech Summit”). The popularity of the event exceeded her expectations, as over 2,500 women software developers, technology specialists, scientists and innovators from 37 countries of the world came to Warsaw.

She would like “Poland to become the heart of a wise discussion on women and their extraordinary potential in the STEM area (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), and a meeting place for talented women from the entire area of Europe and Central Asia.”

Her greatest satisfaction comes from co-creating the world in which a growing number of wise women can take the lead. Her activities are changing the face of Polish science and the technology business. less
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Julia Maciocha (zdjęcie)

Julia Maciocha

Activist, member of the LGBT community, feminist. She has been socially committed from her early years.
Warsaw has been her love at first sight and when commencing higher education, she chose the city as her own place to take action. more

After moving in to the capital, she ran the Women's Congress press office, began working for the Feminoteka Foundation hotline, and became a volunteer at the Wolontariat Równości Foundation which she then came to chair at the age of 23.
In 2018, assisted by several dozen volunteers, she organised the biggest equality event in Poland, engaging diverse communities threatened by exclusion or unequal treatment. She not only manifests great courage in her activities, but is also willing to cite relevant paragraphs from the penal code when faced with challenging questions.
Being able to provide tangible assistance to people in need, in order to let them feel supported and not being left alone, is what she cherishes most in her work.
She understands equality as the sense of security for all people regardless of their nationality, religion, economic status, views or sexual identity.
She believes in women's power and solidarity. less
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Izabela Sopalska-Rybak (zdjęcie)

Izabela Sopalska-Rybak

President of the Kulawa Warszawa Foundation, blog author, social educator and coach. When she was 19, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and decided that it was the best time to take action. more

She does not allow her condition to limit her, and she is pursuing her plans and dreams, approaching each problem as a challenge. She trains rugby on wheelchairs with the Four Kings team, she travels, and proves that architectural barriers cannot stop anyone.

For several years now, she has been actively involved in the issue of accessibility in cities, expanding knowledge of the needs and rights of persons with disabilities, and promoting their independent living. Her blog entitled “Kulawa Warszawa” (”Crippled Warsaw), and the foundation's website are platforms of knowledge for people with disabilities and for everyone who wants to know more about the things which can be done to improve accessibility.
She believes that everyone can be affected by disability, so it is extremely important to get accustomed to the unknown, and most of all support each other.
Her dream is to make Warsaw the most accessible city in Europe in 50 years. less
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Nicole Sochacki-Wójcicka (zdjęcie)

Nicole Sochacki-Wójcicka

Gynaecologists and obstetrician pending specialisation, educator, Roger's and Gilbert's mum. In her blog mamaginekolog.pl she shares not only her medical knowledge, but also her personal experience related child care and treatment. more

Thanks to the publications on her website, thousands of women can learn how to take care of their health, how to look after their children, what to expect from doctors, and how to understand their own bodies.
After she gave birth to her first child, she discovered that it was not easy to find sufficient specialist knowledge presented in a comprehensible way on the Internet. That is how she came up with the idea of a blog, where she has been trying to share medical knowledge in the form of a conversation with her friend, to make child care easier. She also encourages women to attend preventive medical check-ups, and engages in social campaigns as their ambassador.

She treats her work as passion, and she believes her profession to be the best of all, because she accompanies people in the happiest moments of their lives, during childbirth.

In 2019 she supported the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity with a donation of over PLN 1 million, the money she earned from the sale of her e-book. less
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Karolina Pacoń (zdjęcie)

Karolina Pacoń

She believes that we are all inherently predisposed to help others.
She discovered that need in herself when she met a man who was short of money to pay for his dinner. more

She paid for the meal and soon came up with an idea to help on a greater scale.
Pacoń initiated and organised the “Podaruj obiad” (“Fund a Mealˮ) Initiative, which gives everyone the opportunity to buy online a meal for a person in need.
Meals are distributed by hand of various foundations supporting the homeless and people in need, in the form of tickets-invitations to meals at one of the “Kuchnia Za Ścianąˮ (“A kitchen behind the wallˮ) restaurants in Warsaw.
Due to this easy-to-use formula proposed by Pacoń, thousands of Poles have already joined the initiative, with around 4,000 meal tickets distributed every month.
The “Fund a Meal” campaign is an invitation to the table which restores the sense of dignity in the invitees and makes them smile again. By meeting people in need, we can all learn how to enjoy life at this very moment and experience small pleasures against all odds. less
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Nomination for the Varsovian of the Century

Krystyna Janda (zdjęcie)

Krystyna Janda

Actress, director, author of lyrics, and founder of Fundacja na Rzecz Kultury Krystyny Jandy (Krystyna Janda's Foundation for Culture), who runs two Warsaw theatres – Polonia and Och-Teatr.
She has been living her life to the fullest since her early years, trying to be active, and taking up every opportunity to introduce changes. more

She speaks her mind, because she believes that it is our obligation to speak up, and act for all those who are weak and treated in an unfair way.
She never avoids important and difficult topics both in her artistic and social activities. She has created a theatre which is not only attractive to the viewers, but also tells about real-life problems, and educates through entertainment.
The plays enter the public space every year, inviting thousands of Warsaw residents to take part in free open-air events and meet the world of art.
She thinks that creative activities make our lives meaningful, and that nobody should resign from their dreams and goals, postponing their lives.
She is a winner of numerous prestigious awards and honourable mentions, i.a. Charlemagne Medal for her outstanding acting oeuvre, involvement in a European alliance between the East and the West, and her activities for the equal treatment of women. She was given the title of “Woman of 25 years of Freedom” in the category of art. less
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prof. Ewa Łętowska (zdjęcie)

prof. Ewa Łętowska

The first Polish Ombudsman, who gave the office not only the letter but also the spirit of the law.
Between 1999 and 2002 she was judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, and later moved to the Constitutional Tribunal where she worked between 2002 and 2011. more

Full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a university teacher working in numerous European universities, and the author of numerous publications on civil and constitutional law, and consumer protection.
First and foremost, she is a law teacher, and speaks of the law with passion in such a way as to make it comprehensible and fascinating. She also writes about music, in particular about opera, which is her greatest passion.
Winner of numerous prestigious awards and honourable mentions. She was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
She was awarded by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for her activities in the field of human rights’ protection and strengthening the rules of the state.
She received the Medal of Merit for Tolerance, and the Bold Thinking Award. less
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prof. Anna Dobrzańska (zdjęcie)

prof. Anna Dobrzańska

Medical Doctor, National Consultant in Paediatrics. She is the Head of the Department of Neonatology, Neonatal Pathology and Intensive Care in Warsaw, which she founded and organised. more

She has been saving the lives of the youngest patients, using all available resources, and trying to give hope even in the most difficult situations.
She can always find the time for her patients and their families.

She was the first in Poland to claim that the parents’ presence with the child is a vital part of therapy, and permitted the parents to accompany their children 24 hours a day. That is how she initiated changes of hospital procedures across the country. Thanks to the changes she introduced, parent-friendly zones are created in hospitals, allowing parents to stay with children undergoing months’ long treatments.

Since the 1960s, she has been acting for children and young people with disabilities as part of the Extension Scouting section of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP), called “Nieprzetarty Szlak” (“Unexplored Trail”).

Her greatest joy is to discharge a healthy child form hospital following its long-term treatment, and the visits from my former patients who return with their own children. less
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Ludwika Wujec (zdjęcie)

Ludwika Wujec

A physicist, mathematician and teacher by profession, and activist for democracy and human rights by vocation.
During the communist era, she cooperated with the Workers’ Defence Committee (KOR), and was one of the founders of underground press. more

She combined her family and social life with her activities as an opposition member, trying to change reality one step at a time.
Her Warsaw flat was the editor's office of “Robotnik”, the KOR bulletin, and a lecture room of the Scientific Course Society (Towarzystwo Kursów Naukowych).
As member of “Solidarity” she was engaged in, i.a., supporting the detained opposition members and their families. She was also detained during the Martial Law.
She assisted Tadeusz Mazowiecki during Round Table talks. She supported Lech Wałęsa as Deputy Director of the Citizens’ Committee Office.
After the fall of the communist rule, she was an active member of the Democratic Union (Unia Demokratyczna) and the Freedom Union (Unia Wolności). Between 1995 and 2002 she was involved in local-government activities as secretary and member of Warszawa-Centrum Municipality authority.
She was awarded the Commanders Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity. In 2016, together with her husband Henryk Wujec, she was winner of the Zbigniew Hołda Award, which is given to people committed to the rule of law and human rights. less
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Krystyna Starczewska (zdjęcie)

Krystyna Starczewska

Polish phiolologist, philosopher, educator, brought up in the spirit of Janusz Korczak's pedagogy. She was engaged in communist opposition in the communist-era Poland.
She took part in the Round Table more

talks as a member of the education affairs team, advocating for the right to establish independent schools, which would be able to implement their own curricula and personal development programmes. She has been President of the National Private Education Forum (Krajowe Forum Oświaty Niepublicznej) for years, cooperating with independent schools across Poland, which implement innovative and interesting teaching and personal development methods.

Co-founder of the 1st Charter Secondary School of General Education, an independent school whose curriculum is aimed at teaching young people the principles of democracy, independent thinking, responsibility and open-mindedness. It was renamed as “Bednarska” School Complex, which includes seven institutions.
She was awarded, i.a., the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and St. George Medal awarded by “Tygodnik Powszechny” Magazine. less
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timeline

14 May – 16 June 2019 – submissions to the Varsovian of the Year plebiscite
26 June 2019 – Jury meeting
4 September 2019 – announcement of the candidates for the Varsovian of the Year and Varsovian of the Transition Period titles
4 September – 6 October 2019 – vote on the Varsovian of the Year and Varsovian of the Transition Period
9 October 2019 – announcement of the voting results and the official award-giving ceremony

jury

Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska (zdjęcie)
Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska
Anna Ojer (zdjęcie)
Anna Ojer
Beata Michalec (zdjęcie)
Beata Michalec
Agata Passent (zdjęcie)
Agata Passent
Anna Maruszeczko (zdjęcie)
Anna Maruszeczko
Dorota Warakomska (zdjęcie)
Dorota Warakomska
Tomasz Raczek (zdjęcie)
Tomasz Raczek
Rafał Dymek (zdjęcie)
Rafał Dymek

news

Voting in the Plebiscite has started! - September 4, 2019

We got to know the names of the nominees in the Varsovian of the Year 2019 Plebiscite, which will also award a special title: Varsovian of the Transition Period. From today you can also vote in a Plebiscite. Residents will decide which of the candidates will receive these awards. We are waiting for your votes until October 6th






Proceedings of the Committee - June 26, 2019

Different opinions, different personalities, turbulent discussion. Members of the Committee of the "Varsovian of the Year" Plebiscite met and debated on the candidates for this title. Their task is to select 10 nominees and to indicate five candidates for the special title "Varsovian of the Transition Period”, from which You choose the best two in the ballot. Who will be nominated by the Committee? You will find out in September!




Thank you for your application! - June 17, 2019

Over 1250 people presented their candidates! Thank you! Now, from among the 125 wonderful women indicated by you, the Committee of the Plebiscite will select 10 nominees. We will get their names in September. Then you will be able to choose the one and only, the one that is the most inspiring and committed to Warsaw.
Stay with us and join the event on Facebook.




Freedom: yesterday, today, tomorrow? - debate - 4 June 2019

On the 30th anniversary of the partly free elections of 1989, we discussed self-governance, democracy and human rights at the Idea Debate - Freedom yesterday, today, tomorrow? We were there with the “Varsovian of the Year” Plebiscite stand where we collected candidates' applications. In this jubilee year we will also award a special title - "Varsovian of the Transition Period”. It will be received by a woman who contributed to the development of values such as freedom and equality.




The "Women's Breakthrough" debate - June 2, 2019

This year's edition of the “Varsovian of the Year” Plebiscite runs under the sign of the 30th anniversary of the elections on 4 June 1989. We are at meetings, debates, especially those concerning women. The last 30 years have been the time of revealing women in public life. That was discussed during the History Meeting House debate "Women's breakthrough: Ludwika Wujec, Janina Jankowska, Joanna Szczepkowska, prof. Małgorzata Fuszara”. We were also there with our stand and we collected candidates' applications for the “Varsovian of the Year” Plebiscite.




We are waiting for submissions to the Plebiscite - April 14, 2019

We have started the second edition of #WarszawiankaRoku(#VarsovianoftheYear) Plebiscite. We are looking for exceptional women who have a particular impact on the development and promotion of Warsaw - the City for Everyone. Women who promote tolerance, equality and democratic values.

- I am very happy that we are continuing our Plebiscite. The first edition showed the immense power of Warsaw’s women, the female DNA of our City. This is a way of saying thank you to the heroines of Warsaw for their commitment, everyday work, and often dedication to others - says Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor of the City of Warsaw.

We are waiting for the application forms until June 16.

In view of this year's celebration of the 15th anniversary of Poland's accession to the European Union and the 30th anniversary of the first free elections in Poland, a special title - "Varsovian of the Transition Period" will be awarded.
- I hope that just like in 2018, when we restored the memory of women who won our electoral rights a hundred years ago with the “Varsovian of the Century” Plebiscite, in 2019 we will not only bring many female figures of the Round Table to the Warsaw residents, but most of all we will bring these women out of the shadow of the history of June '89, says Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, chairwoman of the Plebiscite Jury and the Warsaw City Council.



downloads

faq

  1. Who may propose a candidate?
    Anyone may propose a candidate for the Varsovian of the Year title. However, candidates for the special Varsovian of the Transition Period title may only be proposed by the Jury.


  2. Who can become the Varsovian of the Transition Period?
    The Varsovian of the Transition Period title will be given to a woman whose activities over the last 30 years have influenced the shape of today's society. Particularly welcome are candidates with a record of promoting freedom, equality and human rights.


  3. How can I propose a candidate for the Varsovian of the Year title?
    Candidate proposals can be submitted between 14 May and 16 June
    - electronically, using the form available on www.um.warszawa.pl/warszawiankaroku
    - using the paper form available on www.um.warszawa.pl/warszawiankaroku
    - at the Marketing Department of the City of Warsaw, 9 Wierzbowa St., 00-094 Warsaw, room 153.
    Once completed, the paper forms can be
    - sent by e-mail to the following address: warszawiankaroku@um.warszawa.pl, or
    - submitted (by post or personally) to the Marketing Department of the City of Warsaw, at the following address: Biuro Marketingu Miasta, ul. Wierzbowa 9, 00-094 Warszawa, p. 153, with the following inscription: „Warszawianka Roku” [Varsovian of the Year].


  4. Who may vote?
    Votes may be cast by anyone aged 16 or more, irrespective of the place of residence and citizenship.


  5. What are the voting rules?
    In order to vote, you need to provide your full name and e-mail address or phone number. These personal details must be provided to take part in the voting. Each person may only cast one vote.
    You may cast a vote for one candidate for the Varsovian of the Year title and/or for one candidate for the Varsovian of the Transition Period title.


  6. When can I vote?
    The voting will start on 4 September and end on 6 October at 23.59 (online voting) or at 16:00 (voting using paper forms).


  7. How can I vote?
    You can vote
    - electronically, using the form available on www.um.warszawa.pl/warszawiankaroku
    - during various city events, the schedule of which will be posted on our FB profile
    - using the paper form available on www.um.warszawa.pl/warszawiankaroku
    Once completed, the paper forms can be
    - sent by e-mail to the following address: warszawiankaroku@um.warszawa.pl, or
    - submitted (by post or personally) to the Marketing Department of the City of Warsaw at the following address: Biuro Marketingu Miasta, ul. Wierzbowa 9, 00-094 Warszawa, p. 153, with the following inscription: „Warszawianka Roku” [Varsovian of the Year]


  8. When will the voting results be announced?
    The voting results will be announced at the official award-giving ceremony that will take place on 9 October 2019 in Warsaw. The results will also be posted on our website: www.um.warszawa.pl/warszawiankaroku and on our social media pages.


  9. Why does the Plebiscite focus exclusively on women?
    While we truly appreciate socially engaged individuals whatever their gender, we have decided to revive the idea of the Varsovian of the Year plebiscite for women, which used to be held in the previous decades. In other plebiscites, we also award Varsovian sportspeople and honorary citizens, including numerous men.