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Lech Walesa

Former President of Poland

Lech Walesa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. In August 1980 he was instrumental in negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government, and he became a co-founder of the Solidarity trade-union movement. In 1990 he successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland and presided over Poland’s transformation from a communist to a post-communist state. Since the end of his presidency in 1995, Wałęsa has lectured on Central European history and politics at various universities and organizations. In 1996 he founded the Lech Walesa Institute, a think tank whose mission is to support democracy and local governments in Poland and throughout the world.