President Lula da Silva receives the Lech Walesa Award
The former president of Brazil received the award in recognition of his efforts to reduce social inequality and to strengthen the developing countries in the world affairs.
During the ceremony that took place in Gdansk on September 29, Piotr Gulczyński, the president of the Lech Walesa Institute, reminded that the Award was established in 2008 to thank for the support from the international community in 1983 when Lech Walesa received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Lech Walesa Award is granted to institutions, organizations or individuals who work in solidarity for greater understanding between nations, freedom and promotion of values that laid at the foundation of Solidarity movement.
The laudation in honor of this year's laureate was delivered by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, the former prime minister of Poland and the member of the Award Committee. The ceremony was also attended by the present Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, who said that President Lula continued the great dream that was realized in Poland – the dream that is symbolized by Lech Wałęsa. "At the beginning of his political career, Mr. Lula was called Brazilian Lech Wałęsa" – said the Prime Minister – "Wałęsa and Lula were both workers' leaders who embodied radical hopes for improvement of lives of millions of people".
"It is a great honor for me to receive this award from the foundation that bears the name of Lech Wałęsa – the person that led the Polish workers in their fight for democracy" – said Lula da Silva.
"When we met 30 years ago we had hard men's talk. I had not agreed with you as Poles were distancing themselves from communism and socialism, and you wanted to introduce it" – said Lech Wałęsa – "Later you slightly changed your direction, but I would like to make other notice that what today seems to be good and beautiful tomorrow may be the opposite".
The Lech Walesa Award consists of a diploma, a statue and a cheque for US$ 100.000 as a financial support for the laureate's activity,. The exclusive partner of the Lech Walesa Award is PKO Bank Polski.