Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 14, 2012 - An Evening with Konstanty Gebert

Helena Modjeska Club has the pleasure to invite you to a limited-seating event in an exclusive gated community in Beverly Hills featuring Konstanty Gebert, a Polish journalist, historian, and author, who specializes in Polish-Jewish relations and the history of Jews in Poland. The Valentine's Day Evening will be held in English only. RSVP required.

KONSTANTY GEBERT was born 1953 in Warsaw and is scholar in residence at the Taube Centre for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland, a private US foundation in Warsaw. He is also the Head of the Warsaw office of the European Council for Foreign Relations, a think-tank. Simultaneously he works as a columnist at Gazeta Wyborcza, the leading Polish daily. Fluent in English and French, he also speaks Italian and Russian and has a working knowledge of BCS. A graduate of Warsaw University's Psychology Department (1976) he worked in a community psychology program in Warsaw (1975-1979), and then taught psychology at the Medical Academy, Warsaw, 1979 - 1983.

During the Solidarity era he was a co-founder of the (unofficial) Jewish Flying University, 1979 and, in September 1980 in Warsaw, of an independent white-collar trade union that soon merged with the free trade union Solidarność. After avoiding interment in the 1981 coup, Gebert became, under the pen name of Dawid Warszawski he still uses, well known as editor and columnist of KOS fortnightly and of other underground publications.

In 1989 he covered the round table Solidarność-government talks on transition to democracy, and joined the new independent daily Gazeta Wyborcza, where he is columnist and international reporter, writing about the Middle East, the Balkans, human rights and international humanitarian law, and Jewish issues. In 1992-95 he covered the Bosnian war for Gazeta. He is a frequent contributor to other Polish and international media, including the BBC.

In 1989, he became a co-founder of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. In 1997 he founded the Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz, of which he was the first editor. From 1995 till 2000 he was vice-chair, and since 2000 media consultant, of MDLF, an international credit fund for independent media he was co-founder of. Since 2005, he is on the Advisory Board of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam. Since 2006 he is on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Humanitarian Fund, Amsterdam. In 2005-2007, he represented Jews on the Polish Council of Government and National Minorities.

Mr. Gebert has worked with independent media in Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Africa and Latin America. He has done advocacy work in Poland for i.a. Burmese exiles, Russian independent journalists, and Rwandan academics. He has taught courses on the wars of the Yugoslav succession, contemporary Poland, media and ethnic conflict, and Polish-Jewish relations i.a. at UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Grinnell College, Hebrew University, and the Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw.

Konstanty Gebert is the author of ten books in Polish and English i.a. on the Polish round table negotiations, the European 20th century, post-war Polish Jewry and the wars of Israel. Most recently he co-authored with Helena Datner “Jewish Life in Poland: Achievements, challenges and priorities since the fall of communism” JPR Institute, London 2011.

His essays have also appeared in two dozen collective works in Poland, Japan, US, UK, Italy, France and Belgium, most recently in Sabrina Ramet (Ed.), Central and Southeastern European Politics, Sabrina Ramet (Ed.), Cambridge University Press, 2010. He has published almost two thousand articles in the Polish press, and his work has been widely reprinted abroad, i.a. in The Guardian (London), Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), MicroMega (Rome), Respekt (Prague), Magyar Naranc (Budapest), Svijet (Sarajevo), Maariv (Tel Aviv), New Republic (New York), The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), The Walrus (Toronto), Die Welt (Berlin), and The Moscow Times (Moscow).

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