Ambassador Jerzy Pomianowski
Career Diplomat and former Deputy Foreign Minister to the Republic of Poland; Executive Director of European Endowment for Democracy
Supporting Democracy in Eastern Europe in a Time of Uncertainty
In too many places, democracy is in recession or has suffered serious setbacks. Authoritarian rule has deepened. Regimes are becoming increasingly strident in their attempts to cripple civil society and muzzle free speech. Ever more sophisticated disinformation campaigns designed and spread by Putin’s info-guerillas seek to undermine democratic values and discredit those who stand up for them.
Can we do something about it? What if we let Putin and others poison millions of minds with toxic narratives and fake news?
The ultimate purpose of democracy is to create the conditions in which free citizens can pursue the most fulfilling lives possible, that they themselves choose. Good governance, freedom of expression, the rule of law and respect for the dignity, rights, hopes and fears of individuals are what make societies truly democratic. Democracy support is critical from a strategic perspective as it aims at winning minds and hearts of people on the ground. Much of this work can only be achieved by genuine, local activists who can translate the strategic vision of the international democratic community into a local context relevant to ordinary people. How best we can support them, especially in eastern Europe, remains a challenge.
Ambassador Jerzy Pomianowski took the leadership of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) in 2013 after two years as Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland. In this most recent position, he coordinated among others the Polish Foreign Relations with Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries as well as democratization agenda, which included the establishment of the EED, a flagship initiative of the Polish EU Presidency in 2011.
As the director of OECD-UNDP’s Partnership for Democratic Governance (2008-2011), Pomianowski supported countries destabilized by armed conflict or natural disasters. This followed the work as Director General of the Polish Foreign Service. In 1997-2002 he served his country as Polish Ambassador to Japan. Ambassador Pomianowski began his diplomatic career in 1990 immediately after fall of communism in Poland.
Before that, from 1980 to 1989, Pomianowski was an active member of the democratic opposition in Poland. He was a board member of the Independent Students’ Association and Chief Editor of the Independent Publishing House at the Warsaw University his Alma Mater.
Pomianowski speaks Polish, English, Russian, French, Bulgarian. He devotes his free time to practice and promote Aikido as the President of the Polish Aikido Federation.