One of the most important challenges that Poland has to face nowadays is the construction of the social capital which is not only the value in itself but also serves as a kind of fuel for all the other development challenges. The key factor for the growth of the social capital is the leadership which is a vital tool for building cooperation and ties which enhance the level of confidence and the intensity of civic activity and actions for the common good.
Another important development factor is the preparation of the public personnel for the introduction of the necessary changes. It is vital to provide them with the appropriate competences in such areas as creation of the vision, risk taking, acting based on the long-term strategies, methods of engaging people into common activities and creating the conditions for the cooperation around the common aims and creativity. It is necessary to enhance and develop the leadership competences and attitudes of people who are to shape the development of Poland, their own institutions, organizations and local communities. There is a need for a conscious policy of supporting those who are influential so that the others follow them.
We have been trying to meet this need for 25 years now.
Founder of the School for Leaders
Professor Zbigniew Pełczyński was born in Grodzisk Mazowiecki in 1925. During the II World War he was a soldier of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK) and fought in the Warsaw Uprising. After the war he lived in the United Kingdom. He studied economics and political sciences at the St. Andrews University, as well as political philosophy and political science at the Oxford University. In 1956 he defended his PhD Thesis on the Hegel's political philosophy (also in Oxford) . Four years later he decided to stay in England and he was granted the British citizenship. He started a family in his new homeland. Zbigniew and Denise Pełczyński have three children: a son and two daughters.
In 1953 he started to lecture at the Oxford University, mainly on political philosophy, history of social and political science, political systems, political changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the postwar history of Poland.
Apart from giving lectures, professor Pełczyński got engaged into the procedure of awarding grants at Oxford University to scientists and students from the Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to him around 1300 people went to study at the Oxford University within the period of 15 years.
The scientific activity is just a part of Zbigniew Pełczyński's life. The public activity turned out to be his passion. At the beginning of the nineties professor Pełczyński was an adviser at the Constitutional Commission of National Assembly of Poland, a member of the team for the centre of government reform at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, a member of the Council of the Prime Minister of Poland for the training of state officials, as well as the EEC and OECD consultant for the program of reforms of state authorities and public administration in Poland.
He is still participating actively in the public life. He fulfils several social functions, such as being a chairman of the Stefan Batory Trust in Oxford (organization dedicated to the promotion of the Polish education, science and culture) or being a member of the Polonia Aid Foundation Trust in London. In 1988 he founded the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland on behalf of George Soros; he is currently the member of the Board of Foundation.
In 1994 Zbigniew Pełczyński founded the School for Young Social and Political Leaders (currently the School for Leaders Association) and he is still running it.