Former Polish president Lech Walesa coming to Hatfield

ONE of Poland’s most famous and well-respected statesmen will be making an appearance in Hatfield this week.

Former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa, who co-founded the country’s anti-communist trade union Solidarity, will visit Hatfield on Friday for a talk and a Q&A session at the Fielder Centre.

The visit has been organised by Irena Falcone, editor of WGC-based The Migrant at Home magazine, a monthly magazine for migrants living in Hertfordshire, written in both English and Polish.

Miss Falcone recently travelled to Gdansk, Poland, to interview Mr Walesa for the magazine, and it was there she secured the 67-year-old’s exclusive visit.

On the visit, Miss Falcone said: “People are coming from London, and as far away as Blackpool. A lot of the time these sort of events happen only in London, so this is special.

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“It’s going to make the Polish community look very good, when you’ve got somebody as important as Lech Walesa coming to see you.”

Born in Popowo, Poland, in 1943, Mr Walesa worked as a car mechanic and served in the army before becoming an electrician in the shipyards of Gdansk. In 1980, he led a series of strikes calling for workers’ rights, which ultimately led to the signing of the Gdansk Agreement – which gave workers the right to strike and to form a trade union.

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In 1981, he was elected chairman of the newly-formed Solidarity trade union, and in 1983 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in securing greater freedom for the Polish people.

Mr Walesa was president of Poland from 1990 to 1995, and still lectures on history and politics in Poland and abroad.

“It’s great that he’s coming,” Miss Falcone added. “It’s nice that he’s showing an interest and coming to visit, and saying ‘I still care’.”

There are a limited number of tickets left for Mr Walesa’s talk, at 3pm, at a price of �15.

Email Irena at for more information.

You can read the interview with Lech Walesa in The Migrant at home by clicking on the link above.

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