From electrician to labor leader to the first democratically elected President of Poland, the path Lech Walesa’s life has taken has left a changed world in its passing.
In 1980, Walesa led the 10 million-member Solidarity Labor Movement that inspired fear in the hearts of communist leadership and hope in the hearts of those starved for freedom. Despite the crackdown of martial law and repeated imprisonment, Walesa prevailed to see the end of communist rule in Poland and Eastern Europe.
In 1983 Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize for his heroic efforts. He received praise from leaders worldwide for his honor, including these words from President Reagan, “It’s a victory for those who seek to enlarge the human spirit over those who seek to crush it.”He was elected President of Poland in 1990. During his term in office he set Poland firmly on the path to becoming a free market democracy, enabling Poland to receive one of the first invitations to join an expanded NATO.
Nowadays he heads the Lech Walesa Institute which is aiming to champion democracy and free market reform in Eastern Europe as well as throughout the developing world.
- The Impact of an Expanded NATO on Global Security
- Democracy: The Never-Ending Battle
- Solidarity: The New Millennium