“The Return of the Fallen Empires” Conference

On the 15th and 16th of October, at the Villa Decius, the International Conference “The Return of the Fallen Empires” will take place – another in the series of events dedicated to the idea of freedom organised since 2002 by the Villa Decius Association.

The conference will be accompanied by the 12th ceremony for the Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003), which is awarded to individuals and non-governmental organisations for their work on behalf of peaceful coexistence and cooperation of societies, religions and cultures.

The main aim of the conference “The Return of the Fallen Empires” is to call attention to the dramatic escalation of events in the international arena and the new balance of power being created under their influence from the perspective of the main political and social actors. Among the issues that will be raised during the conference will be the geopolitical strategies of former and current powers, new spheres of influence, as well as social effects of these actions.

The meeting will facilitate the exchange of information and views between known authorities in the area of international relations and the wider audience. This is because among those invited to participate are representatives of the world of science, politics and media, as well as non-governmental organisations and young academics.

The 21st century has opened, not only nominally, a new chapter in the history of international relations and its contents, according to experts, will be primarily the actions of countries with a worldwide reach and the social dimension of new technologies.

The most important challenges for international politics are deemed to be the relatively new, yet with a global reach, local armed conflicts (Libyan, Syrian and Ukrainian), as well as the escalation of ongoing, years-long wars in Africa and the Middle East. The key subject of international politics are also topics on the borderline of the social and political, including the contestation of both corporatism and the foundations (normative and empirical) of liberal democracies and the real threat of religious fundamentalism.

Armed conflicts and their social effects, as well as the civic or religious defiance of democratic systems, are nothing new in the history of international relations and they are in keeping with the patterns that have been known for centuries. However, commonly available technologies and the digital revolution seem to be accelerating the cycle and giving it new meaning, which can be clearly seen on the example of the current immigration crisis in the European Union.

This year’s conference is organised in cooperation with the Res Publica Nowa magazine, the Krakow Festival Office, as well as members of Krakow academia. The concept of the conference was prepared by Danuta Glondys, Dominika Kasprowicz and Wojciech Przybylski. The event will take place under the honorary patronage of the Mayor of the City of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski.

The return of the fallen empires: conference programme

Thursday, 15 October

10:00 am – 10:15 am Guest welcome

10:15 am – 11:00 am Inauguration lecture, “21st century empires” – Giles Scott-Smith

11:00 am – 12:30 pm Debate I

David and Goliath: The United States as a superpower and its regional competition

Panellists: Metin Bulut, David Jones, Paweł Kowal, Sergei Kovalyov

Moderator: Wojciech Przybylski

13:00 pm – 13:30 pm Special lecture: “The rise of fallen empires” – Lucas Scott

13:30 pm – 15:00 pm Debate II

Spaces of imperialism: old vs. new – North Africa and countries of the Levant

Panellists: Emel Akcali, Jeannette Bougrab, Felix Kaputu, Patrycja Sasnal

Moderator: Łukasz Fyderek

15:00 pm – 15:30 pm Multimedia exhibition “The Time of the Empire” by Tomasz Kizna

15:30 pm – 16:30 pm Lunch


16:30 pm – 18:30 pm The 12th Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Taking part in the gala will be members of the Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello jury, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Poland, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden in Poland, the Representatives of the UNHCR in Poland, representatives of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Department of the United Nations and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Human Rights Defender, the Institute of National Remembrance, the Consul General of the United States, the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation – PAUCI, the ZNAK Christian Culture Foundation, the CEO of ZUE Capital Group, the Chairman of the Board of Krakow Airport, the Regional Director of PZU, and the Villa Decius Association.

Friday, 16 October


10:00 am – 12:30 pm Round table: The fall and recovery of societies in the 21st century

Participants of the seminar will discuss the social and political effects of geopolitics, with a particular emphasis on changes in the area of national institutions, ideas and practices of the rule of law, as well as human rights.

Introductory lecture: Hans Kolstad

Moderator: Michal Vašečka


  • Samuel Abraham (Poland)
  • Emel Akcali (Cyprus/Turkey)
  • Joanna Bar (Poland)
  • Jeannette Bougrab (France)
  • Metin Bulut (Cypr)
  • Asli Erdogan (Turcja)
  • Łukasz Fyderek (Poland)
  • Olga Glondys (Poland/Spain)
  • Danuta Glondys (Poland)
  • David Jones (USA)
  • Felix Kaputu (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Dominika Kasprowicz (Poland)
  • Marcin Kędzierski (Poland)
  • Tomasz Kizny (Poland)
  • Paweł Kowal (Poland)
  • Beata Kowalska (Poland)
  • Sergey Kovalev (Rosja)
  • Scott Lucas (Great Britain)
  • Robert Piaskowski (Poland)
  • Jan Piekło (Poland)
  • Wojciech Przybylski (Poland)
  • Janusz Majcherek (Poland)
  • László Rajk (Hungary)
  • Ziyad Raoof (Kurdistan/Poland)
  • Agnieszka Rozner (Poland)
  • Hans Ingvar Toth (Sweden)
  • Irakli Samkharadze (Georgia)
  • Patrycja Sasnal (Poland)
  • Giles Scott-Smith (The Netherlands)
  • Michał Sutowski (Poland)
  • Elżbieta Święcicka (Sweden)

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