Paradigm Shift: Poland trains future leaders of free markets

Autor: Eva Orlowska

International Business and Trade Summer Law Program students visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine, Cracow, June 19, 2010

The International Business and Trade Summer Law Program offered by The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and the Jagiellonian University will celebrate 20th anniversary this June in Cracow. As law students prepare for emerging careers in international law, they will focus on global aspects of modern trade and business law rather than on the initial objective: establishing a democracy in former Soviet-satellite.


Rosemary Hartmann, Sarah O’Hare O’Neal, Alaina Van Horn,Nathaniel Borrelli, Izabela Krasnicka, Craig Bruney, Jagiellonian University, June 24, 2010

Participants this summer will witness another pivotal moment in world’s history as Poland assumes the Presidency of the European Union Council. 20 years ago a struggling democracy, now the role of Poland is to shape EU’s future.  As the fulcrum of power shifts from West to Center, students will analyze the instruments available to Poland to further the stability, security and economic development of Europe.

Classes will be held at the Jagiellonian University (JU), one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. It is at JU that 500 years ago the seeds of Copernican Revolution took root and the intellectual transformation that laid foundation for modern science began. Today, Copernicus’ Alma mater is part of a vibrant modern ecosystem not much different than the one surrounding The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC. It boasts 23 universities and colleges, including 10 public, 212,000 students, 49,000 graduates per year, more than 100 scientific institutions and 400 research laboratories, 8 clusters, 2 technology parks, 107,00 small and mid-size enterprises, 13,000 companies including 2,500 foreign, $8 Billion in foreign investment, bustling shops, clubs and cafes with 61% of the population fluent in English.

The CUA-JU law program attracts world-class guest speakers and faculty. Previous year’s presenters included former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward Derwinski, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and many more inspiring figures. This year the faculty includes former White House Office of Science and Technology Policy advisor, Professor Donna Coleman Gregg.

The six-week intensive training in Cracow, June 11-July 23, is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and open to US, Canadian, European and Polish law students. In years past, enrollees came from eight Polish law schools and five US law schools and included candidates of Masters of Law (LL.M) degree from CUA.

“The unique feature of the Polish program is the comparative analysis between Civil Law and Common Law-a practical contrast between the European and American systems,” says Professor Rett Ludwikowski, Director of Comparative and International Law Institute at Columbus School Law.

Seattle Attorney, Alexandra Filutowski, who will teach US Tort Law and Moot Court at JU this spring, says: “By the contrasting the systems and learning the historical background of America’s independence and capitalist values, students gain greater appreciation for American jury civil trials and the art of persuasive oral advocacy.”

The curriculum in International Trade, Business Transactions, Alternative Dispute Resolutions Techniques, Law of the European Union and Telecommunications and Securities Regulations is continuously tailored to meet the needs of a dynamic global market place all while fostering a sense of community and cultivating high ethical standards. Bonfires with alumni, river-rafting with faculty, thoughtful conversations, tours of Cracow’s historical sites and weekend trips to nearby capitals- Budapest, Prague and Vienna-open up a new view of the world and form lasting connections.

Tomasz Chmal, now a partner at White & Case international law firm in Warsaw, attended the program in 1997 and returns as a presenter nearly every year. “The best part of the program is the mix of American and Polish counterparts,” he says “and the ongoing support of the growing alumni network.” In the last 20 years, nearly 1000 graduates become part of the Cracow Program Network Alumni. They return to share their experiences at annual events either in Cracow or Washington, DC, offer internship opportunities and career guidance to recent graduates.

The program has received financial assistance from the Polish Embassy in Washington, DC, National Bank of Poland and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City.  Now that its alumni head for the world of international business, the funding may begin to flow from private enterprise.

As Poland becomes the crossroad of East and West and assumes the leadership of Europe, founders of the CUA-JU law program have much to celebrate. They successfully laid the foundation for a transformation that has begun 20 years ago.

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