IU and the University of Warsaw recently marked their fourth decade of collaboration.
On June 2, 2016, IU President Michael McRobbie and Marcin Palys, president of the University of Warsaw, proudly signed and displayed agreements renewing the 40-year partnership between their respective institutions. Building on the strong and meaningful partnership that has persisted all these years, the two leaders agreed that the time is ripe to expand collaboration across academic areas where the two universities share considerable strengths.
Reflecting on decades of collaboration
Despite a lack of trust and misunderstanding that marked relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, visionary leaders at both institutions agreed in 1976 to engage in a partnership that led to the establishment of two area studies centers that have experienced great success over the past four decades: the American Studies Center in Warsaw and the Polish Studies Center in Bloomington.
To listen to members of the current University of Warsaw faculty talk is to understand how meaningful this partnership has been, both now and then. At a time when Polish scholars felt isolated from the rest of the world, in the 1970s and 1980s, IU's connection with the American Studies Center in Warsaw was truly the first of its kind with a partner institution in east-central Europe, and the center’s library served as the only open access library east of Berlin. Many of those who used the center and who visited or attended IU graduated to major roles in academia, government and public policy, both before and after the fall of communism in 1989.