Hanna Suchocka
Prime Minister of Poland, 1992-93

Hana served as the prime minister of Poland between 8 July 1992 and 26 October 1993 under the presidency of Lech Wałęsa. She is the first (and, so far, the only) woman to hold this post in Poland and was the 14th woman to be...

Valdus Adamkus
President of Lithuania, 1998-2003, 2004-2009

As a young man, Adamkus joined the underground against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1940. During World War II, his family fled Lithuania in order to avoid the second Soviet occupation in 1944. He attended the University of Munich in Germany before moving to...

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz
Archbishop of Krakow

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz was a long-time and influential aide to Pope John Paul II. When Cardinal Wojtyła of Krakow was elected Pope in 1978 he appointed Msgr. Dziwisz as his personal secretary; a position he held until the death of the Pope in 2005. Dziwisz...

Carl Anderson
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus

Carl A. Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest organization of Catholic laymen with more than 1.9 million members. He was a close collaborator of St. John Paul II since the early 1980s....

George Weigel
Biographer of John Paul II

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Catholic theologian and official biographer of John Paul II. He holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. His work Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II...

Zbigniew Brzezinski
Carter National Security Adviser, 1977-1981

Polish-American political scientist and statesman who served as a United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.Brzezinski is currently Robert E. Osgood Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, a scholar at the...

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk
Archbishop of Prague, 1991-2010

On 23 June 1968, during the ‘Prague Spring’, Vlk was ordained a priest. In 1978, the communist regime in Czechoslovakia revoked his state authorization to exercise his priestly ministry. Vlk was then forced to live underground, toiling for years as a window-cleaner in downtown Prague....

Vytautas Landsbergis
Lithuania’s Head of State 1990-92

Landsbergis was the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence from the Soviet Union, and served as the Head of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas. He went on to serve as Member of the European Parliament for Lithuania from 2004-2010. He is a founding...

Richard Allen
Reagan National Security Adviser, 1981-82

Allen served as the United States National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1982, and had been Reagan’s chief foreign policy advisor since 1977. He has been a fellow of the Hoover Institution since 1983. He is a past member of the...

Anne Applebaum
Journalist

Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the WASHINGTON POST and SLATE. She directs the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute in London and is an adjunct fellow of the Center for European Policy Analysis. From 1988-1991 she covered the collapse of communism as the Warsaw correspondent...

Dr. Norman Davies
Historian of Poland

Norman Davies is a leading scholar on Polish history who is widely regarded as one of the preeminent historians of Central and Eastern European history. From 1971-1996 Davies taught Polish history at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College, London. He...

Fr. Maciej Zieba, O.P.
Theologian and Philosopher

Fr. Maciej Zięba was a close associate of Pope John Paul II and a leading activist in Poland’s Solidarity movement in the Communist era. He is the founder and Director of the Tertio Millenio Institute, an influential NGO in Poland that promotes the social teachings...

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki
Archbishop of Lviv

Archbishop Mokrzycki is a native of Poland and has been archbishop of Lviv since 2008. As a monsignor, he was a personal secretary to Pope John Paul II from 1996 until the pope’s death in 2005. He continued as a personal secretary to Pope Benedict...

Most Rev. Gintaras Grusas
Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania

On April 5, 2013 Pope Francis appointed Grusas Archbishop of Vilnius.  Born in Washington in 1961, His parents were separated by World War II and, after 16 years of being caught behind the Iron Curtain, his mother and 17-year-old sister were among just 200 families...

Andrzej Gwiazda
Vice President of Solidarity, 1980-1981

Andrzej Gwiazda participated in the student protests against the Polish government in 1968 as well as the December 1970 demonstrations that were sparked by sudden increases in food prices. He was a member of the Presiding Committee of the Strike at Gdansk’s Lenin Shipyard in...

Dr. Stanislaw Grygiel
Theologian, John Paul II Institute

A former student and close personal friend of Pope John Paul II, Grygiel has served as vice president of the central session of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, located at the Pontifical Lateran University, where he holds the...

Monsignor Slawomir Oder
Postulator for the cause of John Paul II

Monsignor Slawomir Oder was one of the first Polish priests ordained after the collapse of communism in 1989, making him a true beneficiary of Pope John Paul II’s courageous anti-Soviet efforts. Since September 2001 he has been Judicial Vicar of the Appellation Tribunal of the...

Jan Zaryn
Historian, University of Warsaw

Zaryn is a leading Polish historian and authority on the history of the Catholic Church in Poland during the 20th Century. A prolific author, Zaryn is a former democratic activist who was arrested and imprisoned by the communist regime in 1982....

Andrzej Grajewski
Author: “The Pope had to Die”

Andrzej Grajewski is Polish political scientist, and member of the College of the Institute of National Remembrance (1999-2006). An active member of Solidarity, Grajewski was involved in underground communications and providing aid to the interned and their families following the imposition of martial law in...

Edward Nowak
Solidarity Member

Nowak was employed at the Lenin Steel mill from 1969 to 1985. In 1980, he joined Solidarity After the introduction of martial law, he was initially living in hiding, a month later he was arrested and sentenced by a military court to 3 1/2 year...

Ligia Teresa Urniaż-Grabowska
Solidarity Activist

Ligia was a close collaborator with Solidarity chaplain Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko. In November 1981 she was viciously beaten by “unknown attackers.” From December 1981 to February 1982 she lived in hiding. In June 1982 she was arrested and kept in custody for 2 weeks then...

Dr. Henryk Głębocki
Historian

Dr. Głębocki is a Professor of History at Poland’s leading Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He specializes in the history of Eastern Europe; and the policies of the former USSR towards its member states. He also writes and lectures extensively on Polish-Russian relations and the history...

Dr. Zbigniew Stawrowski
Professor of Political Philosophy

Stawrowski is a Political philosopher, professor at the Institute of Political Science at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University and the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He is also the Co-founder and director of the Institute of Thought of Jozef Tischner in...

Marek Lasota
Historian

Marek Lasota is a historian working at the Institute of National Remembrance. Lasota authored the book Denouncing Wojtyla: Karol Wojtyla in Polish Communist Secret Service Records, the first comprehensive study of secret service records focusing on Karol Wojtyla, with documents dating from the period between...

Bogusław Sonik
Solidarity Member

Bogusław Sonik is a Polish politician and former Solidarity activist. Following the birth of Solidarity in 1980 he served as the vice-president of the Małopolska region of Solidarity until 1982. He was a regional delegate to the 1st National Assembly of the Independent Solidarity Trade...

Krzesztof Mazur
Historian of Solidarity

Krzysztof Mazur is a noted young Polish intellectual specializing in the history of the Solidarity Movement and the thought of John Paul II. President of the Jagiellonian Club, a think tank in Kraków and lecturer at the Jagiellonian University. He also serves on the National...

Dr. David Schindler
Professor of Fundamental Theology

Dr. Schindler is the Dean Emeritus and Edouard Cardinal Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Catholic University of America. Professor Schindler was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a consultor...

Jadwiga Emilewicz
Political Scientist

Political scientist and local government politician from Kraków, director of the Polish History Museum in Nowa Huta. She worked at the Prime Minister Department of the Foreign Affairs (1999-2002)....

Marek Benda
Politician

Marek Benda is a Czech politician and member of the Civic Democratic Party. He is the son of Czech dissident Vaclav Benda....