Alicja Derkowska

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"In 1988, Alicja Derkowska founded the Educational Society of Malopolska (MTO), a Polish NGO that instills democratic values by promoting a democratic school environment, innovative teaching methods, and responsible citizenship. She has been president of MTO since 1997. In July 2004, Dr. Derkowska was awarded the “For the Future of the Children of Europe” prize from the Future of Europe Association, Hungary, and in March 2004 she was granted the POLCUL Award by the Jerzy Boniecki Foundation, Australia. She has been an ASHOKA Fellow since 1999.

"Dr. Derkowska is a designer and coordinator of various projects to build grassroots democracy in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union based on citizen participation and using Polish expertise and experience. A second, but equally important goal, is to foster communication and cooperation in the region through a network of open, innovative schools supported by local parent-teacher associations. In 2004, MTO established the Academy of Young Social Entrepreneurs (AYSE) to introduce young people to the profession of social entrepreneur and to support those, who already have a vision of how to solve their local communities’ problems creatively. Since then, groups from Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Montenegro have participated in the AYSE program in Nowy Sacz, Poland.

"In the 1980s, Dr. Derkowska was actively involved in the Solidarity movement. She was a member of the National Education Board (REN), one of the first illegal Solidarity structures (1982-89). In 1989, after martial law ended, she established one of the first independent, non-state schools in Poland and served for ten years as its director. In cooperation with the Educators for Social Responsibility, USA, she began running yearly Summer Schools of Teaching Democracy from 1991 to 1997.

"Dr. Derkowska holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and taught at Lodz University. In 1975, she moved with her husband and two sons to Nowy Sacz where she founded the Nowy Sacz Branch of the Polish Mathematical Society (PTM) and served as its president for six years. Dr. Derkowska was an active member of the Election Committees in Poland and a founding member of the ROAD, Democratic Union, and Union for Freedom political parties (1989-1995). She also served as an international monitor of the election to the National Assembly of Serbian Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1997)." [1]

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  1. [ ], World Movement for Democracy, accessed May 18, 2010.