A Polish politician and trade union activist, leading oppositionist in the communist period, a co-founder and the first chairman of NSZZ “Solidarność”. In 1983, he became a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the president of the Republic of Poland in the years 1990-1995.
In August 1980, he was one of the main initiators of the protest at the Gdańsk Shipyard. His activities led to the creation of NSZZ “Solidarność”. The reaction of the totalitarian state to the then events was the introduction of the martial law on December 13, 1981. Lech Walesa was one of the first internees.
In 1983, he became a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.
At the end of the 1980s, he participated in the negotiations with the communist authorities at the Round Table, which resulted in the elections on June 4, 1989, and the formation of a non-communist government.
On December 22, 1990, Lech Walesa became the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Poland in the general election.
Since then, he was working to introduce Poland to the North Atlantic Pact and to the European Union. In 1995, he founded the Lech Wałęsa Institute, whose mission is to popularize the achievements of Solidarność, educate the youth, support democracy, and contribute to the development of civil society in Poland and in the world.
Lech Walesa has received numerous awards for his peaceful struggle and his role of the ambassador of international solidarity. He is a Knight of the Order of the White Eagle and the Order of the Rebirth of Poland. In 1989, he was awarded the highest American recognition awarded to a foreigner – the Medal of Freedom. He holds a Honoris Causa doctorate from over 45 universities and is a honorary citizen of more than 30 cities in the world.
Photo: Jakub Orzechowski / Agencja Gazeta