Politics/Peace Studies Personal Statement
I was born on June 7, 1989, 3 days after the first democratic elections in post-war Poland. Having grown up along with Polish democracy, and thanks to my parents' generation which fought for human dignity and political freedom today, I enter my adult life in a sovereign and democratic country. This may be the reason why I feel obliged to help those who were less fortunate.
I believe that more productive communication between Europe and the developing countries is possible. Communication based not on inept efforts to inculcate our own standards in other cultures, but on sharing valuable experiences. I also believe that Africa should not be treated as a source of mineral resources or market for the West but as an equal partner.
To contribute to such change, thorough knowledge of the culture, economy, politics and societies in Africa is crucial. I hope to acquire that knowledge studying at your University.
In high school, I ran for student council twice. Both times, I won a seat receiving a record number of votes after a campaign of my own design.
As a student representative I have, among other things, organized a signature collection initiative for a letter to the minister of education asking for the restitution of philosophy as one of the optional exams for the Matura (Polish A-level exams). I also conducted a student opinion survey on various aspects of school life.
In view of the above, I know that I can play a meaningful part in academic society. My projects were not limited to school. I took part regularly in the largest charitable drive in Poland, 'Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy' (The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, www.en.wosp.org.pl/fundation/) as well as volunteered for the Stephen Bathory Foundation's 'Equal Opportunities' Program advocating equal access to education for children and youth and strives to overcome the social exclusion of disabled children.
Apart from the aforementioned activities, I am the author of an innovative online game 'footballer.pl'. I worked on this game for three years and the third largest dotcom in Poland, o2.pl, bought it in July '07. Not only did this project require creativity and work input, but also financing. To afford this, I worked holidays as a newspaper salesman and during the school year as a bartender.
Philosophy is also one of my passions. I admire the fresh perspective and lucid reasoning of thinkers such as Hume, Kant and Nietzsche, and reaching further back, Socrates.
Delving into social, ethical or epistemological issues, exploring the world through paradigms proposed by different philosophers - for me, all this is not only intellectual entertainment and a way to learn precision in formulating opinions.
It shows me how sometimes two contradictory opinions can have equally rational justifications, and so one's point of view should never be absolute. Last year I participated in the Polish national history of philosophy contest (the 'Olympics') and wrote an essay about the meaning of J.S.Mill's philosophy in times of globalization.
The teachings from studying philosophy are not abstract for me. I advocate such respect for different beliefs and opinions through an association, which I am establishing with my friends from the University of Warsaw.
The association, following the example of a Senegali-French initiative, AfricAvenir, will fight the eurocentricism common in Polish discourse, promote African culture and challenge Polish stereotypes about Africa.
During a trip to Tanzania, I spent hours talking to the people who live there, strengthening my belief that the relationship between the West and Africa can be a healthy one. I also believe that there is a part that I can play in problem solving. In the future, I would like to work assisting in the peace process, reconstruction of societies after ethnic and religious conflicts and in peaceful conflict resolution. Studies at your University will enable me to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for this.
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