44th edition of the Summer School of Polish Language and Culture at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Emil Wojtaluk


First of all welcome back after a long break! It’s been a long time since the last post was published on our blog. Finally we are back with something fresh and we hope you will enjoy it! The first entry after the break is about an unusual program organized by the School of Polish Language and Culture of the John Paull II Catholic University of Lublin. The School was established in 1974 making it one of the oldest institutions in Poland of such kind. Its students can receive American or European credits for taking the courses. The School of Polish Language and Culture KUL participates in the national system of granting certificates of Polish as a foreign language. Here we present a concise information on the Summer School program carried out by the School.


The Summer School of Polish Language and Culture runs each year in July and August since 1974

44th edition is coming this year!

 

szkola_2

Copyright: The School of Polish Language and Culture KUL (fot. Cezary Ruta)


Tailor-made programs

 

Our program distinguishes itself from others by allowing our students to design their own programs, they are always adjusted to the needs of our participants. We always try to be flexible!
The uniqueness of our Summer School can be described
in a few simple points:

  • First of all our participants have a choice of courses lasting from 2 to 8 weeks that is the only program in Poland allowing for such a wide range of learning opportunities.
  • As mentioned above there is an option for modifying the program to your individual needs, e.g. if you require more individual consultations you can request more of them, at the same time resigning from lectures or taking more classes than envisaged in the original program under additional arrangements. Also if you are interested in specific vocabulary we can always try to adjust that to your own needs.
  • We offer one of a kind levels of intensity!
  • Semi-intensive – with 4 hours* a day + a lecture
  • Intensive – with 6 hours a day + a lecture
  • Highly-intensive – the same as in an intensive course but with additional four hours a week of individual consultations.


Apart from rich and intensive language courses the cultural component of the Summer School is carried out by providing lectures on Polish culture, history, literature, music, or contemporary issues. The lectures are delivered in Polish and English.

 

Explore our country!

 

sandomierz

Copyright: The School of Polish Language and Culture KUL (fot. Cezary Ruta)

The Summer School of Polish Language and Culture is not only about studying! To give you a relief after hard working days spent on learning one of the most difficult languages in the world we prepared rich cultural and social activities. This includes:

  • one-day trips to picturesque places in the Lublin region where students are given a unique opportunity to see some of the masterpieces of Polish art and architecture;
  • sightseeing of Warsaw, the capital of Poland;
  • trips to interesting places along Poland’s eastern frontier;
  • all of these activities are included in the course fee!

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    Copyright: The School of Polish Language and Culture KUL (fot. Cezary Ruta)

 

Prices and application procedure

The prices of our courses ranges from 600 EUR to 3000 EUR depending on your individual choice (2,3,4,5,6,7, or 8 weeks starting at the beginning or the end of July). The longer the course the lower the price per hour of lesson. The fee includes board and accommodation, course books and the necessary teaching materials as well as plays, concerts and the trips.
More information on specific dates and prices are available on our website (click here to redirect).
Attention! You can negotiate your price, contact us for more details!


The online application form is available HERE

The deadline for applications is May 30 each year!

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Copyright: The School of Polish Language and Culture KUL (fot. Cezary Ruta)

Feel free to ask in case of any questions!
You can drop us an e-mail at:
polski[at]kul.pl

Facebook:
School of Polish Language and Culture KUL

Reklamy

The role of „soft power” in shaping EU’s external image

Emil Wojtaluk

Defining instruments for creating EU’s external image can be problematic. The conference held at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin on November 9-10, entitled “Cultural dimension of the European integration” gathered scholars from different universities to help us understand these processes.

The conference was co-organized by the Polish Society of European Studies

The conference was co-organized by the Polish Society of European Studies

Defining soft power

Taking culture into account should be connected with its external image. The problem of EU’s perception is very complex, looking at all crises the Union is struggling with, its image decreased. Another thing is that the Union itself has problems with defining its external image policy. What is more, the incapacity to inform its own citizens leads to ignorance about functioning of the European Union, let alone countries outside of the EU. A way to solve this problem could be effectively acting diplomacy of the Union (as the element of soft power).

According to J. Nye soft power could be defined as ability to receive what we expect thanks to attractiveness, not violence, compulsion or payment. The ability of one’s entity to form an alliance and to get more influence is possible thanks to three factors. These are culture, political values and foreign policy – realized on the basis of previously mentioned values and culture. The essential instrument of conducting foreign policy by the EU is shaping positive image on the international scene, via these three soft indicators.

If we are to discuss main merits of EU’s soft power, one of them is that EU is perceived as “civilian power”, having its origins in the 70s. The concept was based on the assumption that the Communities are founded on peace. A distinctive factor is that civilian power means also economic activities. In the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU we can find that in exercising foreign relations the Union is relating to universal values such as democracy, human rights or EU enlargement policy. These provisions as well as other EU legal acts referring to external policy create the so called set of values, which are components of soft power. One of the essential features of Union’s involvement in the world is multilateralism, also seen as soft power (cooperation with other countries). The European Union is perceived as one of world’s mediators on the international scene, but rather as advocate of only peaceful resolutions, which sadly have low efficiency. Especially looking at recent crises inside the EU and internationally, it is said that the Union use the methods of “cheating reality”.

Public diplomacy

Beata Piskorska, PhD during the conference

Beata Piskorska, PhD during the conference

Another part of soft power is public diplomacy – understood as dialogue between countries, realized with using media and direct communication. That is why using means of Public Relations is also crucial. The EU is currently trying to meet this challenge by the use of social media and digital diplomacy. We could observe it looking at the activities of former and current High Representative of the Union, especially during the “Arab Spring” – seen as the test for digital diplomacy and using social media. The national example of using digital diplomacy is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski and his twitter account – it was debatable whether his commentaries were his private opinion and whether it reflected his position as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that’s why using such means is debatable everywhere in the world.

Public diplomacy is realized by the EU in various ways: by study visits, cooperation with local MS’ governments, cooperating with international organizations, as well as by development aid and supporting cultural institutions. Here the essential element of public diplomacy is cultural diplomacy. In 2007 document “European agenda for culture” it was emphasized that promoting of cultural dimension is significantly important, and it should be supported by cooperation with other international organizations dealing with cultural policy.

“United in diversity” is perceived as one of the biggest achievements of the EU as an attempt to connect different cultures and identities. Nevertheless, it becomes an contentious issue. Especially when it’s crucial to create mutual legal framework for the functioning of culture. It is the problem how to create laws common to all, indeed different cultures.

Summing up, despite all difficulties with communication and creating unified image of the EU by 28 Member States, the European Union is still seen as a model of integration processes. It is extremely important to understand that values that are important for EU members (like the rule of law or equality in a broad sense) may not be so crucial for people coming to Europe or living outside the EU.

The article is based on the speech of Beata Piskorska, PhD (Department of Political Science/John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin) entitled “The role of „soft power” in shaping EU’s external image” at the conference entitled “Cultural dimension of the European integration” held at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) on 9-10 November 2015.

Fighting a losing battle or taking a long view? – The Migration issue and what we can do

Theresa Miniarti Fehlner

Kenya, Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq… just to mention some of the countries from which most of the refugees currently come. They flee due to political and religious persecution, civil war and poverty. The need for help is obvious as the facts show.

 

Photo: U.S. Navy photo, flickr, CC-by-2.0 https://www.lpb-bw.de/fluechtlingsproblematik.html

Photo: U.S. Navy photo, flickr, CC-by-2.0
https://www.lpb-bw.de/fluechtlingsproblematik.html

Facts and Figures

According to the United Nations the number of refugees has risen up to 60 million since World War II – 86% are from developing countries and more than 50% are children. UNHCR distinguishes between refugees, applicants for asylum and internally displaced persons. In 2014, about 625.000 asylum seekers tried to come to Europe and they often do not have any other possibility than to use the questionable help of human smugglers who profit from the misery of other people. As a result, dramatic scenes took place at the external borders of the EU. The Geneva Convention on Refugees from 1951 binds the EU member states, according to article 2 and 35, on the protection of refugees. In practice, the current situation is different as some dramatic events since 2013 have shown: On the 3rd October 2013, one of the first disasters, involving migrants being smuggled to Europe, took place south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. 400 refugees from Somalia and Eritrea drowned. In April 2015, up to 800 refugees lost their lives in a ship accident in the Mediterranean Sea. Since then, the EU has tripled the remedies for sea rescue. In May 2015, the EU foreign ministers resolved on a common military mission against the gangs of people smugglers, with a fund of 12 million Euros from the EU countries. On the 26th June the EU heads of state and government decided to assign the growing number of refugees to all 28 member states – on a voluntary basis.

Our obligation to humanity

The demand for answers seems to be obvious. Nevertheless, this article cannot deal with the whole range of the migration issue. But it can focus on some questions which arise when we look at it from different perspectives. The migration question is by no means solved as the daily news, the media coverage and the pictures of suffering humans going around the world show. It seems to be an impasse which raises the question of whether it might be the problem of a dead-end policy. What remains is a large uncertainty and the feeling of fighting a losing battle.

This article does also not mainly deal with the question if Europe has to help the people in danger and in need – that is beyond all discussion – of course we have to help. So, several countries assume responsibility and try to help by receiving refugees, hosting them or helping them to integrate themselves. And all of this accompanied by prejudices against foreigners, administrative barriers and integration problems due to cultural diversity. In each instance, all those who are helping – a lot of who are volunteers – do humanitarian work and it is indispensable. But it is also quite evident that somehow it is just treating symptoms like bridging the time until most of them get deported again. Thus a lot of voluntary commitment and funding is needed. But it is not only a question of money, medical care, accommodation or dealing with cultural diversity. It is, above all, the question of how to accompany the short-term help with a long-term help.

Empathizing means to sneak a peek beyond the European borders

Photo: European Commission

Photo: European Commission

Against this background, focussing on some questions might be justified. Shifting the attention to the countries from which the refugees come, means to empathize with them. Migration movements from Syria, for example, might be different motivated than those from Serbia or Kosovo. Let´s take, as another example, the continent Africa. It seems to be reasonable to pose the question how Europe treated those African countries. After a long colonial history, European states started a program of development aid to support those countries. “Money” seemed to be the keyword, but let´s risk to ask how long that kind of support continued and how effective it was. In consideration of the status quo of the African countries, the question arises who the money received and in what way the states have used it. Did it change the situation for those countries? Obviously not, as the growing number of emigrants from even stable African countries shows. Financial help is reasonable as long as the supported country has the preconditions to use it in the right way. What kind of preconditions are we talking about? Are they states with a democratic system? How do they deal with corruption? Is there a knowledge of the importance of education and self-responsibility? Furthermore, does their way of understanding politics comply with our European policy?

Taking a look at some Arab countries raises the question: Are the political and cultural systems of countries like Libya, Syria or Iraq compatible with the Western way of political and cultural thinking and could it, at all, be possible to solve their conflicts and problems with our European understanding of governance?

Another example: The Kosovo War from 1998/1999, subsequently claimed thousands of victims. What has changed after the NATO military intervention? There is still discrimination of minorities, a shortage of jobs and poverty in consequence and a high incidence of crime. There was no stable polity until 2014, but even then, a lot of Kosovars claimed asylum especially in Germany and some other European countries.

It seems to be a long shot to write a master plan to find a solution which meets the responsibility we all have, to give a hand to people who ask for help as well as to support the development of their countries. Therefore we have to ask: What does it make worth, for those refugees who flee from economic grievances, to come to Europe? Which kind of incentives do we offer? If we provide a welfare system which is more attractive than the system in their home country, how do we help those states to develop?

Misinterpreted development aid: A Western failure?

Photo: dpa

Photo: dpa

The pros and cons, the discussions concerning the question if and how each European country can take part in helping people knocking on Europe´s door are numerous and more or less helpful. But looking at it from another perspective extends the short-term help a little bit more towards a long-term help. Terminating all the wars on one day might be a dream; alleviate the world hunger, guarantee religious freedom and physical integrity for everyone probably as well, but the dream ends before it starts when the countries in need are empty. On the “Meeting of Pan-African Catholic Youth and Children” in Kinshasa last month, Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola said in his opening speech: “Use your talents and other resources to renew and transform our continent and for the promotion of lasting justice, peace, and reconciliation in Africa. […] You are a treasure for Africa.” [1] This quote expresses what we, from our European point of view, maybe sometimes fail to see: In what way do we help the countries if we integrate each immigrant into our social security system? If we integrate one qualified man or woman successful into a European country, it means conversely that one qualified man or woman is missing in his or her home country. As a result, we deprive these countries the main source of life and thus the possibility to prosper.

Without a doubt: Each one is ethically and humanly obligated to give a helping hand to those who are persecuted, hungry or in danger – even more a community of states, based on a Christian fundament. That is certainly the main issue. But then it might be worth to pay attention to a long-term help which recognizes the differences between individual political systems and cultural backgrounds. And, to the same extent, raising awareness of their own responsibility towards their home countries. Then this dream of a better world where there is no need to flee because of war, persecution or hunger could come true – even though not in one day.

References:

[1]

http://www.fides.org/en/news/38338- AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Bishops_appeal_to_young_Africans_Stay_in_Africa_to_build_a_better_continent

https://www.lpb-bw.de/fluechtlingsproblematik.html

http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Bundesregierung/BeauftragtefuerIntegration/beauftragte-fuer-integration.html

[Last access: 26.08.2015]

Opportunities – so what we, young people, can receive from European Union?

Anita Weprzędz

You should learn and work hard, in order to gain your goals – that’s what our parents used to tell us. Now, thanks to European Union, the youth have a lot of opportunities to get specific knowledge and achieve all they ever want. Generally, Member States are responsible for educational system but European Union plays supporting role in that field. According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, community „shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States, through actions such as promoting the mobility of citizens, designing joint study programmes, establishing networks, exchanging information or teaching languages of the European Union.” Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said that:

„Investment in education and training is crucial for boosting young people’s personal development and job prospects.”

Source: ec.europa.eu/iStock. ©Christopher Futcher

Source: ec.europa.eu/iStock. ©Christopher Futcher

 

Key role of education

Sometimes I think that politics change our perspectives. Modern society continuously need to introduce innovations, to be updated with new knowledge. Additionally, we are constantly surrounded by media coverages (people follow the news and base their knowledge on that information) . We are engaged in bigger amount of projects and in social life – thank you Mark Zuckerberg, for facebook :-). Because of that „wind of change” we can do more, but we also come across some problems like for example – gaining university degree no longer guarantees your employment. European Union faced that problem a little bit earlier than Poland and has decided to help us improve our lives. It gives the youth an opportunity to find the key to their future, by introducing different programmes and one of them is Erasmus +.

Old truth – money helps

Erasmus + is a continuing project of the first European Union programme Erasmus and since 1987 more than 3 million students have benefited from it. New program has significantly increased EU fundings and it aims to support another 4 million students. In the time of 6 years (2014-2020) EU wants to spend 14,7 billion euros in order to increase opportunities for cooperation between institutions of education as well as between the worlds of education and work. Surprising is amount of strategic partnerships – around 25 thousands – which links together 125 thousands schools, vocational education and training institutions, higher and adult education institutions, youth organizations and enterprises. It was build on a framework set in the Europe 2020 strategy. „Highlighting the importance of addressing the contemporary socio-economic challenges in Europe by strengthening the education and youth systems and promoting life-long learning.”

Gaining skills our way to solve all up

Providing possibilities which helps EU citizens get right skills to be competitive in the labor market not only results in economic boom but it may lead to better social integration. Education is not only  about learning form textbooks, but also about lessons of life. Joining Erasmus + is one of those lessons.