Former Polish President Lech Walesa (left) is the founder of Solidarity Movement which was supported by Pope John Paul II (right) and led to the downfall of communism. Photos courtesy of Google Images

25 November 2012, 9:56 p.m. – FORMER Polish President and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa will be in UST on Nov. 27, Tuesday, to receive an honorary professorship.

The staunchly Catholic leader of the “Solidarity” movement, which freed Poland from Communist rule, is in the Philippines for a series of talks. In UST, he will deliver a lecture on the “Role of Faith on the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy.”

The 69-year-old Polish hero received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for leading the anti-communist movement in the central European nation. Walesa served as Poland’s president from 1990 to 1995.

Walesa helped form Solidarity, the first anti-communist trade union in Poland, in 1980. Solidarity was a party-controlled union with 10 million members that used methods of civil resistance to advance workers’ rights for social change.

The movement drew spiritual inspiration from a compatriot, the Polish Pope John Paul II, whose visit to his native land in 1979 after his election to the papacy served as a catalyst that led to the downfall of communism.

The Catholic Church, through the leadership of Pope John Paul II, supported the Solidarity movement of Walesa.

Walesa arrived in the country yesterday, Nov. 24, upon the invitation of President Benigno Aquino III.

UST will have a special convocation for Walesa’s lecture. Classes will be suspended in the Faculties of Medicine and Surgery, and Pharmacy; and the Colleges of Rehabilitation Sciences, Nursing, and Science from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other faculties and colleges will have regular classes. Professors who do not have teaching assignments coinciding with the event may opt to attend the lecture, the Office of the Secretary General has said.

Walesa will be the second world leader to be conferred an honorary professorship by UST this year, after former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last June. Reden D. Madrid


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