Polish NGO activists facing issues of global education and human rights

Fundusz Partnerstwa event cover 2

On October 15, the 2nd Meeting of the Partnership Academy will be held, entitled: "Polish NGO activist facing issues of global education and human rights". Our special guest will be Bjørn Engesland from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Participants can also watch the documentary "Last Generation" that was released in September 2021. 

The Partnership Academy is aimed at local leaders and activists working for the benefit of communities related to the non-governmental sector. Participants gain knowledge and competences using unconventional tools, new methods of local activities that build bonds and responsibility for the common good. Important elements of the Partnership Academy are: Interactivity, exchange of experiences and good practices, organization of conventions in various places and contexts in Poland, access to knowledge developed by an international team from Central Europe and Norway.

The concept of the Academy is based on the multidimensional meaning of the word PARTNERSHIP in the space of civic activities. PARTNERSHIP is cooperation, building bonds between people and generations. Empathy towards another person, their views and priorities. PARTNERSHIP is also awareness of the surroundings and the local community in all its diversity. It is sensitivity and respect for man and nature. By introducing changes for the better around us, we change the whole world in small steps. Today we need a new approach and vision of a world where human well-being is achieved with respect for the environment and human rights.

About the special guest:

Bjørn Engesland is a senior adviser of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Bjørn Engesland

His commitment to human rights stems from a long and strong interest in international issues and justice. Since 1995, Bjørn has been the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

The human rights situation in Russia is a central aspect to the work of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. For many years Bjørn has been actively engaged in work aimed towards strengthening respect for Human Rights within Russia. However, this work became more difficult in 2009 when Bjørn was declared persona non grata in Russia This declaration amounted to a ban, by law, on entry into the country. Despite this, Bjørn continues to persistently peruse justice within Russia.

Bjørn graduated from law studies at the University of Oslo. As a student, he joined the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights as a research assistant and later became employed there as deputy head. The development of international human rights protection within the UN and challenges related to the death penalty were some of the areas in which he worked on. As the leader of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Bjørn spent many years in the management of the International Helsinki Federation (IHF). To this regard, efforts in strengthening the cooperation between all the national Helsinki Committees have been of critical importance.

Bjørn participated actively in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ human rights dialogues with China, Indonesia, Cuba and Vietnam for many years. In particular, efforts to strengthen the legal security of persons detained and arrested have been central to this work. During the wars of former Yugoslavia, Bjørn was involved in fact-finding missions to Croatia during Operation Storm in 1995.

Bjørn is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Prevention Against Torture at the Civil Ombudsman, member of the Advisory Committee at the National Institute for Human Rights and member of the Council at the Oslo Center for Democracy and Human Rights.

About the documentary "Last Generation" by Mikołaj Borowy:

Janka enters adulthood knowing that she belongs to the last generation that may limit the effects of the climate disaster. It is the burden that pushes her to act radically. He quits his studies to fight for change with his friends and acquaintances. She is ready to break the law to save the future on a living planet. 

Movie makers: Mikołaj Borowy (director), Lena Jabłońska (film operator), Maria Krauss (producer), Janka Świerżewska (heroine, film main character)