• Forum for Dialogue

    Inspiring New Connections

Forum for Dialogue is dedicated to inspiring new connections between contemporary Poland and the Jewish people.

Forum recognizes that the traces of ties that were ruptured in World War Two remain in memories and family stories, but also in misunderstandings and prejudices harbored. Our work in Poland focuses on raising awareness of the histories of Jews in Poland, including the way these histories were conveyed to descendants of Polish Jews. We show different perspectives on shared historical events. Internationally, we facilitate the formation of bonds between Jews and the country of their ancestors. We build people-to-people trust. We confront difficult questions. We connect people and their histories.
We work with thought leaders, activists, teachers and students from Poland and from abroad. Together we hope to write a new chapter in Polish/Jewish history.

fot. M.Halaczek

I feel that I now belong to Poland, that I established my relationship with a country that is a part of me and my childhood.

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, London

Forum for Dialogue foundation has worked in the field of Polish/Jewish dialogue since 1998.
From the outset, Forum has been providing space for Poles and Jews to meet and to get to know one another despite historical divisions. Forum is the largest and oldest Polish non-governmental organization involved in Polish-Jewish dialogue. We focus on working with young people and public opinion leaders.
The foundation was established in Gliwice as Forum for Dialogue Among Nations (Forum Dialogu Między Narodami). Forum’s local activism led to unveiling of a plaque commemorating the city’s Jewish residents and a meeting between their descendants with present-day Gliwice residents in 2003.
In that same year, the foundation moved to Warsaw. We began as a local organization in Gliwice; today we work nationwide towards creating and empowering the community of activists involved in caring for local Jewish heritage.

We cooperate with local community leaders and at the same time educate students in almost 50 schools all over Poland each year. Our educational project School of Dialogue attracts ca.1,200 participating students annually.

We act both locally and globally.
Through our study tours, we have built a network of people both in Poland as well as among Jewish communities of the United States, Israel, Canada and Australia; these individuals understand our mission and wish to have their share in it. Forum for Dialogue is also the long-standing partnerships with other organizations dealing in Jewish matters (American Jewish Committee) or education (Facing History and Ourselves). We have been working towards building Polish-Jewish dialogue for almost twenty years and we intend to grow and continue our mission!

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Forum for Dialogue Team

Andrzej Folwarczny

President & CEO

Founder and President of Forum for Dialogue. He began as first local and then national-level politician during the transformation. He served as a Member of the Polish National Parliament (Sejm), where he chaired the Polish-Israeli Parliamentary Group. After retiring from politics, he devoted himself to Polish/Jewish dialogue and relations.

Zuzanna Radzik

Vice President

Theologian, graduate of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is a regular contributor to Tygodnik Powszechny, a Catholic weekly, and an author of books on women’s presence in the Church. In 2019, she received the Irena Sendler Memorial Award for her work on Polish/Jewish dialogue and the role of women in Catholicism.

Jakub Petelewicz

Executive Board Member

Historian, co-founder and academic secretary of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences where he also serves as a Managing Editor of Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały and Holocaust Studies and Materials academic journals. One of the authors of the initial project of the Holocaust Gallery at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Olga Kaczmarek

Director General

Holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of Warsaw, where she used to teach. She published a book on Emmanuel Levinas and postmodern anthropology. She also researched the memory of wartime Polish/Jewish relations. She started as a School of Dialogue educator in 2012. Currently, she is responsible for Forum’s operations and represents the foundation in Poland and abroad.

Monika Halaczek

Deputy Director General

Graduate of International Relations with experience in coordinating human rights-focused projects and fundraising. She has been with the Forum since 2010, and has been responsible for the structure and running of the organization. She overviews formal and legal aspects of Forum’s work.

Anna Barańska

Bookkeeper

Involved with non-governmental organizations for over a decade, she has been with the Forum since 2014. She is responsible for reviewing financial and accounting services, as well as for financial administration of projects co-financed with public funding and international grants.

Maria Sokołowska

Office Coordinator

Graduated from Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw. She has researched the anthropology of religion in Ukraine and worked with the Zaczyn Foundation designing activities for the elderly citizens. Since 2017, she has been managing Forum’s office and supporting realization of Forum programs and projects.

Hanna Gospodarczyk

Project Coordinator

Anthropologist, graduate of Cultural Anthropology and Arabic Studies at the University of Warsaw. Manager of cultural and scientific projects, she also researched Polish memory about Jewish inhabitants in former shtetls. She joined the Forum in 2019 to coordinate the Meetings and Study Visits programs, as well as Forum’s activities in Israel.

Julia Machnowska

Project Coordinator

Graduate of journalism and history, she is involved with the Polish Radio and oral history projects of Yahad-in Unum. Having coordinated Forum’s School of Dialogue in the past, she is now responsible for working with the School of Dialogue teachers and schools which continue their involvement after completing the initial program.

Izabela Meyza

Project Coordinator

Graduated Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw, she is an educator, writer, and nonviolent communication expert and consultant. For over a decade, she has been working as an educator of children, teenagers, and teachers. She works with many organizations involved in non-formal education. She supervises and supports Forum’s School of Dialogue educators.

Agnieszka Mierzwa

Project Coordinator

Graduate of Hebrew and Cultural Studies. She coordinated the “Synagogue” Center in Zamość and developed educational programs at the Majdanek State Museum in Lublin. At Forum, she is responsible for the School of Dialogue program.

Jagoda Szkarłat

Project Coordinator

Graduate of Cultural Anthropology and Hebrew Studies at the University of Warsaw. She worked with migrant-support and Jewish NGOs in the fields of informal education, project coordination, and group facilitation. A School of Dialogue educator for seven years, since 2017 she has been developing Forum’s Leaders of Dialogue program.

Maria Piekarska

Project Coordinator

Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies specializing in commemorative and identity-building practices in Israeli natural spaces. Recipient of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship for Young Researchers. At the Forum since 2017, she is now responsible for research and coordinates the work of
the Scholarly Advisory Board.

Marta Rauk

Project Coordinator

Psychologist by training, she also completed a postgraduate program at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw on History of Art: Social and Political Perspective. Before joining the Forum in 2013, she co-organized cultural projects chiefly with the Puszka Foundation. She is currently in charge of relations with Polish Friends of the Forum.

Katarzyna Pietrzak-Kret

Donor Relations Coordinator

Graduate of the Jewish Cultural Arts program at George Washington University, she completed as a recipient of the Fulbright award. Former collaborator of the POLIN Museum, she works as an independent researcher for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. She started at the Forum in 2012 as an educator, and rejoined the team in 2019 to support our relations with international donors.

Marcin Dziurdzik

Promotions Coordinator

Graduate of history at the University of Warsaw and alumnus of the Paradigm program at Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Stockholm. He worked at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Museum of Warsaw. Member of the board of the S. An-sky Association. Since 2017, he has been overseeing Forum’s digital public relations and marketing.

Marta Usiekniewicz

Communications Coordinator

With a Ph.D. in literature and gender studies, she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw’s American Studies Center. She was a Fulbright fellow at SUNY Buffalo and an intern at AJC headquarters in New York. At Forum since 2007, she coordinates international communications and multimedia production.

Forum for Dialogue Scholarly Advisory Board

The Scholarly Advisory Board is an advisory body to the Forum for Dialogue Executive Board. It offers space for mutual interactions between the academic community and Forum for Dialogue team in terms of the topics, forms, and methods of operation of the Forum. Members of the Board, leading representatives of various academic disciplines, provide support in determining directions of the Forum for Dialogue activities, and ensuring quality of our programs.

Michał Bilewicz

Chair of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Social psychologist and professor at the Department of Psychology of the University of Warsaw, where he chairs the Center for Research on Prejudice. His research focuses on issues of prejudice, group conflicts, antisemitism, and dehumanization. In 2005-2019 he served as the Vice-President of Forum for Dialogue.

Barbara Engelking

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

A psychologist by training, Professor Barbara Engelking is the head of The Polish Center for Holocaust Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. For over 30 years she has been researching the Holocaust and its consequences. She is the author or co-author of many books and articles on the Holocaust in Poland.

Agnieszka Haska

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

A sociologist and cultural anthropologist, Agnieszka Haska, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Polish Center for Holocaust Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her research interests cover a wide range of topics – from the discourse on collaboration during World War II, through stories of attempts to save Jews thanks to passports from other countries, to an anthropological perspective on various forms of memory and post-memory. Author of, among others: I am a Jew, I want to enter. Hotel Polski in Warsaw 1943 (2006, in Polish) and Hańba! Stories about Polish betrayal (2018, in Polish).

Mikołaj Herbst

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Assistant professor at the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw, doctor habilitatus in economy. Specializing in regional development, human capital, and education economics. Graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Warsaw and the Columbia Cooperative Program in Economics by the University of Warsaw and Columbia University in New York. Engaged in several research projects on the determinants of regional growth, the measurement of educational quality, and the financing of education systems. Advisor to the public administration on issues of management of education systems in Poland and abroad, consultant in projects organized by the OECD, the International Labor Organization, and the World Bank.

Kamil Kijek

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Historian and sociologist, Kamil Kijek, PhD, works at the Department of Jewish Studies, University of Wroclaw. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa, and at University College London. Fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York, the New York University, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. His research interests are Jewish history in Eastern-Central Europe in the second half of 19th and 20th centuries, relations between social theory, political, social and cultural history, as well as the history of Zionism and the Jewish community of Eretz Israel/Palestine in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2001-2007, he worked as an educator on behalf of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at Jewish youth camps in Poland and Hungary. In 2007-2012, he was involved in planning the permanent exhibition of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Author of, among others, Children of Modernism. Political consciousness and socialization of the Jewish youth in interwar Poland (2017, in Polish).

Justyna Kowalska-Leder

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Assistant professor and a doctor habilitatus in cultural studies at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw, where she is the head of the Holocaust Remembrance Research Team. Author of Their Childhood and the Holocaust: A Child’s Perspective in Polish Documentary and Autobiographical Literature (2015), “I don’t know how to value them …” A Sphere of Ambivalence in the Testimonies of Poles and Jews (2019, in Polish), as well as editor of Renia Knoll’s Diary (2012, in Polish); co-editor and co-author of Traces of the Holocaust in the Imagery of Polish Culture (2017, in Polish).

Stanisław Krajewski

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Stanisław Krajewski obtained a PhD in mathematics, habilitation in philosophy, and the title of professor in humanities. An active participant of the Jewish life revival in Poland even before 1989, later involved in the Jewish community life. Co-founder of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews, which he has been co-chairing for almost 30 years. He co-created the Postwar Years gallery at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Author of books and articles on logic, philosophy of mathematics, Judaism, history and experiences of Jews, interreligious dialogue. His books include: Jews, Judaism, Poland (1997, in Polish), 54 Commentaries on the Torah for Even the Least Religious Among Us (2004, in Polish), Poland and the Jews. Reflections of a Polish Polish Jew (2005), The Mystery of Israel and the Mystery of the Church (2007, in Polish), Our Jewishness (2010, in Polish), What I owe to Interreligious Dialogue and Christianity (2017), Jews in Poland – and in Tatra Mountains (2019, in Polish), as well as Goedel’s Theorem and Its Philosophical Interpretations: from Mechanism to Post-Modernism (2003, in Polish) and Does Mathematics Belong in the Humanities? (2011, in Polish).

Łukasz Krzyżanowski

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Łukasz Krzyżanowski received a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Warsaw. From 2016 to 2018, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. He was also an Assistant Professor at the Institute of History, University of Warsaw. His monograph, Dom, którego nie było: Powroty ocalałych do powojennego miasta had two editions in Polish: in 2016 and 2018. Its English-language adaptation, Ghost Citizens: Jewish Return to a Postwar City was published in June 2020 by Harvard University Press. He has held scholarships from the University of Oxford, Yad Vashem, the Claims Conference (Kagan Fellowship), and the National Science Center. His research interest focuses on the experience of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the social history of Poland during the German occupation, and the Holocaust.

Roma Sendyka

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Roma Sendyka is a professor at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She works at the Department of Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Polish Studies. She is a co-founder and director of The Research Center for Memory Cultures, and a member of the Curatorial Collective. She specializes in cultural and literature theory, visual culture studies, and memory studies. She is an author of The Modern Essay: Studies in Historical Awareness of a Genre (2006, in Polish), From “I” Culture to the Culture of the “Self” (2015, in Polish), and co-editor of four volumes on memory studies. She is the leader of a research project Uncommemorated Genocide Sites and their Impact on Collective Memory, Cultural Identity, Ethical Attitudes, and Intercultural Relations in Contemporary Poland (2016–19), as well as the Awkward Objects of Genocide, a project funded through Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts: From Intervention to Co-Production (2016–2019) grant. Co-curator of the exhibition Terribly Close. Polish Vernacular Artists Face the Holocaust (2018-2019). Her current work focuses on so-called “non-sites of memory” and visual approaches to genocide representation.

Dariusz Stola

Member of the Scholarly Advisory Board

Professor Dariusz Stola is a historian with a title of doctor habilitatus, working at the Institute for Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. He has published ten books and more than 150 articles on the history of Polish-Jewish relations, the communist regime in Poland, and international migrations in the 20th century, including: Hope and the Holocaust (1995, in Polish); The Anti-Zionist Campaign in Poland , 1967-1968 (2000, in Polish); A Country with No Exit? Migrations from Poland, 1949-1989 (2010, in Polish); Patterns of Migration in Central Europe (2001, with C. Wallace). His books have received several awards, while he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his contribution to research on Poland’s history and the Medal of the University of Warsaw for his contribution to migration studies. He serves at the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Committee on History and Committee on Migration Research, as well as at advisory boards of several Polish and international institutions and journals. Besides the research, he has worked as the director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (2014-2019) and vice-president of Collegium Civitas (2002-2011).

Foundation Council

Andrzej Mochnacki – Chairman of the Council

Roman Kraczla

Michał Pastuszka

Executive Board

Andrzej Folwarczny – President

Zuzanna Radzik – Vice President

Jakub Petelewicz – Board Member