From electrician to labor leader to the first democratically elected President of Poland, the path Lech Walesa’s life has taken has left a changed world in its passing.
In 1980, Walesa led the 10 million-member Solidarity Labor Movement that inspired fear in the hearts of communist leadership and hope in the hearts of those starved for freedom. Despite the crackdown of martial law and repeated imprisonment, Walesa prevailed to see the end of communist rule in Poland and Eastern Europe.
For his heroic efforts, Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. He received praise from leaders worldwide for his honor, including these words from President Reagan, “It’s a victory for those who seek to enlarge the human spirit over those who seek to crush it.”
In 1990, he was elected President of Poland. His term in office set Poland firmly on the path to becoming a free market democracy, enabling Poland to receive one of the first invitations to join an expanded NATO.
He heads the Lech Walesa Institute whose aim is to champion democracy and free market reform in Eastern Europe and throughout the developing world.
Nobel Laureate & Global Leader