What Is Project Poland?
When Project Poland began in 1997, we knew the project would evolve so we chose the title ďProject PolandĒ for maximum. Project Poland has indeed evolved through three different phases.
Phase I: Building Connections, Holding Conferences
Our first project was the donation in 1997 of an Internet server to the Commercial Law Center in Warsaw, a non-for-profit organization formed by the Warsaw Bar Associations. The activities with the Commercial Law Center led to cooperation with ABC Publishing House and Iustitia, the Polish Association of Judges. With the help of the American Bar Associationís Central and East European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), Project Poland, Iustitia, and ABC Publishing opened a Computer Training Center in Warsaw for judges and court staff.
Next, the ABA/CEELI lliaisons in Warsaw put Project Poland Director Richard Warner in touch with the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration, of the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1998 the Center for American Law Program at the Catholic University of Lublin was organized. The program teaches American law in English to students at the university. The program continues successfully today. It teaches thirty to forty students in a two-year certificate program.
In 1999 - 2003, Project Poland organized the following five conferences: Poland: Ten Years of Economic Transformation (Chicago, 1999); Ten Years of Freedom: The Rule of Law and the Free Market Economy in Poland (Chicago, 2000); Advancing Polandís Judiciary: Independence and Efficiency (Poznan, 2000); Securing the Internet: Internet Security and E-Commerce (Lublin, 2002); and Poland Without Corruption (Lublin, 2003).
From 2002 to 2006, Project Poland participated in "Using Education to Combat White Collar Crime," a U.S. State Department grant devoted to combating money laundering in Ukraine from 2000 to 2006. Project Poland Director, Richard Warner, was the principal investigator. One of the goals was to facilitate cooperation between Poland and Ukraine. Among other activities, the grant held six conferences: International Conference on Controlling White Collar Crime (Kiev, 2002); Controlling White Collar Crime: A Workshop Promoting Polish-Ukrainian Cross-Border Cooperation (Warsaw, 2003); Controlling Money Laundering in Ukraine (with FBI and Polish representatives) (Kiev, 2003); Roundtable Discussion on Information Sharing Between Business and Government (Chicago, 2004); Roundtable Discussion on Information Sharing Between Business and Government (Kiev, 2004); Joint Meeting of Ukrainian and Polish Competition Law Authorities (Warsaw, 2006). The final conference on competition law was motivated by two perceptions. The first was that competition law could play a role in increasing transparency and creating a culture that would inhibit corruption; the second was that both Poland and Ukraine would benefit from closer cooperation in the administration of competition law.
Phase II: Founding Schools
We are convinced that, in an increasingly global business environment, Poland needs lawyers well-versed in international legal issues. To provide the necessary legal training, Chicago-Kent and the University of Gdańsk opened a School of American Law at the University of Gdańsk. The program, which began in 2003, offers 140 hours of instruction from Chicago-Kent professors. Instruction is in English, onsite in Gdańsk. Students who successfully complete the program receive one semesterís credit toward Chicago-Kentís two-semester LLM degree in International and Comparative Law. This makes the LLM degree much less expensive. It is virtually the equivalent of a full one-semester scholarship. A student needs to pay only one semesterís tuition in Chicago and finance only four months of living expenses. Additional scholarship money is also available to qualified students.
The School of American Law at the University of Gdańsk is entirely funded by student fees; the program takes no money either from Chicago-Kent or from the University of Gdańsk. The same is true for the programs described below.
The success of Gdańsk led to a request from University of Wrocław to open a similar School of Law at that University. The Wrocław program began in Fall 2008 and has already been hailed as a success by the students enrolled in it.
Shortly after opening the Wrocław School of American Law an opportunity arose to begin a program with the Polytechnic University of Lůdż. This program, which begins in Fall 2009, is a 240 hour graduate certificate program designed to appeal to business professionals and practicing lawyers. The emphasis is on business law and on creating a more productive interaction between business and law. As with Gdańsk and Wrocław, lawyers who successfully complete the program receive one semesterís credit toward Chicago-Kentís two-semester LLM degree in International and Comparative Law.
Phase III: Continuing the Educational Programs, Studying Law, Culture, and Democracy
In the Lůdż program, Project Poland cooperates with Anna Fornalczyk, Polandís leading competition law expert. The cooperation will lead to the founding of a Competition Law Institute, headed by Fornalczyk. The Institute will study, and give voice to, the cultural, economic, and political issues confronting Poland and the other emerging democratic, free market economies in Central and Eastern Europe. The goal is to combine theoretical soundness and practical relevance in a way that both guides policy makers and advances theoretical understanding.
To aid in this effort, we have started the online journal, Emerging Markets: A Review of Business and Legal Issues.
We plan in Phase III to pursue our educational initiatives, support research, and guide public policy.