Politics & Economics Panel

This year the ‘Politics and Economics Panel’ will focus on Europe’s contemporary issues and the potential resolutions to these matters. How, and by whom, will our future be shaped? As Europe and the rest of the world tremble due to both economic and ecological crises, popular uprisings and protests are becoming an ever more present constituent of our day-to-day reality. Not only do they stimulate radical ideas; they also constitute a direct analogy of the current state of our neoliberal democracy. In this year’s panel, we will try to dismantle and examine present-day issues in light of the topic: “The future of the European economy in the face of the dawn of liberal democracy”. If you are interested in the conversation, join us and seek inspiration amongst our array of esteemed guests and renowned speakers.

Arts & Culture Panel

What would you actually describe as fashion and design? On one hand, it is a purely creative process that designers employ to make a piece of art. On the other, it’s business which aims to add value and promote what designers create. But, it could also be new technology and engineers in search of functional solutions and creating new disruptive products. The best part about our panel is that we will try to grasp all these perspectives and understand how all those different fields come together in a creative economy. Our speakers will try to assess what is the potential of this creative industry in Poland? How does it reflect the global creative scene? And what are the upcoming trends? Finally, referring to this year’s edition theme of sustainability: how do these creative industries adapt to make a positive impact? Stay tuned to discover our amazing speakers!

Climate & Suistanability Panel

“For 68% of the Polish population, environmental protection is more important than economic growth”. According to the ‘UN World Commission on Environment and Development’, sustainability can be defined as: “the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Henceforth - in accordance with the provided definition - we must balance the need for social progress and economic growth with the preservation and reinforcement of our natural environment. The rapidly increasing pace of our development, consumption and waist production, in addition with our mismanagement of natural resources, leave us greatly susceptible to both environmental degradation and resource exhaustion. Despite the clearly visible negative effects of human activity, economic growth, nonetheless, overshadows environmental concerns, telling our plant to basically “put a sock in it and man up”. At UCL Leaders, our speakers will voice varied opinions concerning this issue while addressing the matters of, e.g., Is sustainability and economic growth mutually exclusive? Are Polish businesses truly ready to implement sustainability into their short and long term development strategies? Be sure to stay tuned and don’t let the amazing opportunity of pre-meeting our panellists whisk-by! You seriously don’t want to miss it!

Science & Technology Panel

Would it surprise you if we told you that looking into modern algorithms reveals ethical implications, social mediation, and targeted information consumption on a nearly Orwellian scale? For instance, did you know that more and more often algorithms mediate social processes and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the world? That your Facebook feed, media diet, and purchasing habits are all somewhat predetermined and constitute the reality you live in?

The ideological strife that rages rampant over most current affairs is root communication issues which can be effectively addressed as “Living in a Bubble”. Some news outlets are notoriously liberal, some notoriously conservative and others are straight out fake. Recent events, like the misappropriation of Facebook data or the Cambridge Analytica scandal, have shown us that data algorithms remain a dangerous weapon of misinformation.

We want our panel to focus on the algorithms that process private data, such as face recognition, profiling, etc. There is plenty to talk about, including the threats such technologies pose, whether they are imminent and what we can do to prevent them. To help you digest these topics we will have a wonderful assortment of interesting and accomplished speakers from various backgrounds, who are bound to provide some interesting points and wholesome commentary.

Let’s face the truth - if you are seeing this, the algorithm wants you to come.


Keynote Talk

The Future of European Project - What is the position of Poland in European politics?

Moderated talk: Wawrzyniec Smoczyński with Ambassador Jan Truszczyński

Jan Truszczyński’s professional career has a strong EU focus: European Economic Community desk officer in the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs (1982-1988), Deputy Chief of Mission to the European Commission (1989-1993), Poland’s envoy to the European Union (1996-2001), President’s adviser on EU (2001), chief negotiator for Poland’s EU accession and deputy Foreign Office Minister (2001-2005), from 2007 until retirement in summer 2014 senior management positions in European Commission. Moreover, he has been teaching about EU at Warsaw’s Vistula Academy and Polish Institute of Diplomacy.

In 2005 awarded with the prestigious 'Knight of the Legion of Honour' for activities for the European Union and the development of Franco-Polish relations. In the same year, he received the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta from Aleksander Kwaśniewski.

Wawrzyniec has created Polityka Insight, the leading provider of political and economic intelligence on Poland. Earlier he spent 13 years in journalism covering international affairs, EU politics and the global economy. An expert in political and economic analysis, he now advises corporate clients on scenarios for Poland and trains executive teams in critical thinking and strategic analysis. Open Society Fellow (2008), Marshall Memorial Fellow (2009), Munich Young Leader (2012), IMF Journalism Fellow (2011). A graduate in Egyptology at the University of Warsaw, he also studied General Linguistics at the Georg August University, Göttingen. Smoczynski serves as a council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and is an alumnus of the Leadership Academy for Poland. In 2019 he published three essays on Poland’s transition, populism and communitarianism.

Economics & Politics Panel


Michał Kobosko began his journalistic experience in the early 1990s working for “Gazeta Wyborcza.” Throughout his journalistic career, he joined the team of a newly-established economic and business daily newspaper “Puls Biznesu” acting as a Deputy Editor-in-Chief and since 2004 he joined Axel Springer Polska publishing house. In his later professional experience, Mr Kobosko worked as the Editor-in-Chief of “Forbes” as well as acted as Editor-in-Chief of “Newsweek Polska.” He was not only responsible for an editorial merger of “Dziennik. Polska-Europa-Świat” and “Gazeta Prawna”, but also was in charge of negotiations with Bloomberg L.P. resulting in a launch of “Bloomberg Businessweek Polska.”

Among his broad journalistic experience, he is also the director of Wrocław Global Forum co-organised with Atlantic Council, Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych and the city of Wrocław, which hosts key ministers and parliamentarians, company CEOs as well as leaders to engage in an enticing discussion of the prime challenges in our world today.

Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska is a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform. Agata works on the EU institutional architecture, EU decision-making process, differentiated integration, on Polish European policy and the UK's relationship with the EU. She has participated in numerous collaborative projects funded by i.a. International Visegrad Fund, the European Commission, as well as by Norway grants. Agata is also a core member of the Reshaping European Democracy project – an initiative of Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program and Carnegie Europe.
Before joining the CER, Agata worked as a senior research fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw where she dealt with EU institutional affairs. Prior that Agata worked for an international law firm in Warsaw. She holds masters degrees in law and international relations, both obtained at Warsaw University.

Journalist, educator, an analyst at the Kalecki Foundation. Author of the book "Economics and Its Discontents" (2016, Atropos Press, NYC). Graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London and European Graduate School in Switzerland. Jędrzej Malko writes for the press on the matters of international politics and economy. He specialises in the history of economic thought and its modern relevance. He freelances as an analyst for various economic think-tanks and has recently founded "Spięcie", a project enhancing collaboration between 5 Polish newspapers, with diverse political outlooks.

Ryszard Petru is a Polish politician. He served as an assistant to several members of parliament in the 1990s. He has worked as an economist for the World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and several Polish banks. Since 2011, he has been the chairman of the Association of Polish Economists. He is the author of several books, including two children's books on economics.

Beata Maciejewska is a member of the Polish parliament, vice-chairwoman of the Left parliamentary group. She is a member of Wiosna party created by Robert Biedroń, one of the leaders of Polish Left. While working with Biedroń in Słupsk City Hall, she was the city's first commissioner for sustainable development in Poland. She is the author of several publications and workshops on sustainable development and The Green New Deal.

Sustainability & Climate Change Panel


Mr Skarzynski is now the British correspondent for Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest legacy-type newspaper in Poland. He is a journalist with over 10 years of experience and a recipient of the Grand Press 2016 Award in News. He has commenced his career as a Producer of Monika Olejnik's morning show at Radio ZET. Later on, he co-founded and served as deputy editor-in-chief of, one of the most successful recent media projects in Poland. Stanislaw Skarżyński is connected with Gazeta Wyborcza since 2014 as a columnist and managing editor.

Economist and financier by education, graduate of Sciences Po in Paris and Paris Dauphine University. He has over 30 years of experience in management and developing Polish and global firms in a variety of industries ranging from energy to automotive, through packaging. He was the CEO of Polenergia, Polish Energy Partners, Mondi Poland, Mondi PackagingUK and a board member of Opoczno, DGS, Bakalland, PolishEnergy Partners and Empik Fashion & Media, to name a few. In June 2019, he has become the CEO of Pfleiderer Group, which specializes in the production of wood-like materials for the furniture, interior design and construction industries. He is the founder and the CEO of Luneos, a company which focuses on effective management of energy and renewable energy sources. He has the relevant experience to discuss whether businesses are truly ready to implement sustainable strategies.

Rafał Rudzki is an adviser in the sector of sustainable development and influence research. For the last several years he conducted projects for private and state customers from Poland and abroad in the area of strategic planning, verification and reporting of non-financial data, maintaining brand's reputation, measuring the environmental impact and conducting a dialogue with stakeholders. Rafał coordinates the development of services in the range of 18 countries within Central Europe. He is a graduate of Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Cambridge University and the member of Council of Polish Economists Society (Towarzystwo Ekonomistów Polskich)

An expert in the field of UN and EU policies, especially in the area of business and administration interactions including the private sector in implementing UN Goals, policies and standards. Specialist of development collaboration, multilateral cooperation, knowledge transfer. As a UN employee, he was dealing with such issues as economic diplomacy, social and economic innovations, social economy, designing development leaps and meta trends in business. Specialist of international law. He graduated from the prestigious United Nations Development Program Academy (UNDP VDA). Together with the team which was headed by himself, he was awarded the medal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland for his activities for the benefit of the disabled, for developing a Social Economy model for Poland and for supporting the ratification process of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From 2009 to 2012, a member of the Team of Strategic Advisors to the Prime Minister in Poland. Co-author of the Long-Term National Development Strategy until 2030 and coordinator of the Human Capital Development Strategy until 2020. Since 2014, member of the Council of Experts of the National Center for Research and Development. Since 2016, he is a member of the innovation team at the Ministry of Investment and Development. Since 2018, an adviser to the Minister of Finance, Investment and Development.

Boleslaw Rok, PhD, Professor of Corporate Sustainability at Kozminski University, Director of Positive Entrepreneurship Research Lab, Department of Entrepreneurship and Ethics in Business. Academic Director of “Sustainable Development Goals in the Corporate Strategy” Executive Programme, consultant and lecturer on social innovation and impact start-ups, ethics and compliance, corporate responsibility and sustainability. Faculty at SUSTBUSY Research Center - Business & Society – Towards a Sustainable World in ESCP Europe. Founder of the Responsible Business Forum in Poland affiliated to CSR Europe. Coordinator of recently launched “Climate Leadership powered by UN Environment” platform for business.

Science & Technology Panel


Mariusz Herma is the leader of „Polityka” magazine's youngest project called Fiszki Polityki –an innovative news app co-founded by Google. He is also a journalist for the weekly edition, writing about the impact of technology on our lives. Mariusz has also founded a global website called beehype run by 100+ music journalists from around the world and presenting the best new music from local music scenes.

Kira is an assistant director at EY’s AI Build Centre and a lecturer in geospatial AI at University College London. She has spent over eight years applying AI to industry problems, from drone tracking to document parsing, previously at BAE Systems, Microsoft Research and AI start-ups. With a machine learning PhD from UCL, Kira can be found experimenting with novel AI algorithms and deploying them on resource-constrained devices of the IoT. Kira co-founded Polonium Foundation and is a keen explorer of how AI could benefit our lives.

Krzysztof Izdebski is Board Member and Policy Director of ePaństwo Foundation (EPF) and a Board Member of Consul Democracy Foundation. He is a lawyer specialized in access to public information and re-use of public sector information. Krzysztof is particularly interested in the impact technologies have on democracy and citizen-state relations. He is the author of publications on freedom of information, technology and public administration, including recently published "alGOVrithms The State of Play. Report on Algorithms Usage in Government-Citizens Relations in Czechia, Georgia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia."

Arts & Culture Panel


Ula Wiszowata creative planner and fashion industry expert who proved herself as an entrepreneur and financial analyst. Worked for CHANEL in New York. Founder and creator of - industry blog for business professionals and designers. Ula builds post-graduate program “Law & Fashion Management” at Łazarski University in Warsaw. Introduced Miinto business to Poland. Developed a go-to-market plan for Poland in close collaboration with Miinto's key stakeholders. Ula made the merger and acquisition with a smooth process. Earned a reputation of one the best fashion industry leaders in Poland. Passionate about new technologies, digital marketing and eCommerce.

FILIP PĄGOWSKI Born and educated in Poland. Studies drawing, painting, then poster design and illustration at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. In 1980 moves to New York City where early on works as a freelance illustrator, set designer for music videos and designer for animation. In 1992 starts a long-lasting collaboration with The New Yorker magazine doing illustration work, lettering and logotypes. Around the same time works for French clients, among them Le Monde daily newspaper. From 1999 on, works with Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons, on assignments ranging from prints for women’s and men’s collections to logotypes, brochures, advertisements. Creates a hugely popular heart PLAY logo. Work with Comme des Garçons triggers collaborations with Asian clients resulting in art and design projects in Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. In 2016 creates a cover for the first single and does billboard artwork for the release and tour of Drake’s “Views” album. Other clients include IKEA, Nike, Ash shoes, District Vision sport eyewear…. Since 2010 FP is back in Warsaw.

Marta Najbert-Sykulska born and educated in Poland. Jagiellonian University and Warsaw University graduate. Marta is all-rounded Marketing Director with extensive international experience in marketing campaign management on very diversified markets, from launch to turnarounds. Between 2009 - 2017 Marta Najbert worked for Pandora. During this period she has successfully introduced PANDORA brand from greenfield to 20+ markets. Apart from years of experience gained in Central Eastern Europe and Middle East Region, Marta also spent a year setting up the Marketing Department in the Asia Pacific Region. Later she joined polish sportswear brand „4F” as Global Marketing Director. Currently, Marta is a Marketing Director of „Tatuum”, responsible for the brand’s growth strategy and direction under new PE ownership.

Magdalena Lemanska is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Vogue Poland where her focus is overseeing and implementing sustainable business practices. She studied at NYU Stern School of Business and London School of Economics, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Political Economy and Finance. Prior to Vogue Poland, she worked at the European Parliament as an Assistant to MEP Dariusz Rosati and Polpharma as Portfolio Analyst.

SPECIAL EVENT 30.01.2020

He graduated from the faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw and also from LL.M. programme in the field of comparative constitutional law at Central European University in Budapest. In 2006 he was awarded PhD degree at the University of Warsaw in the field of constitutional law. His PhD thesis entitled: “Multi-level society in the European constitutional sphere“ was awarded honourable mention in the competition organized by Przegląd Sejmowy (Parliamentary Review).

In 2004-15 Adam Bodnar worked for Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights, firstly as a co-founder and coordinator of Precedent Cases Programme and then as a head of legal department and vice-president of the Management Board. He is also an expert in the Agency of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In 2013-2014 Bodnar was a member of the board of directors of the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture. In 2001-2004 he worked as a lawyer in Weil, Gotshal & Mangers law firm. Since 2006 he has been giving lectures at the law and administration department of the University of Warsaw.
Until the time of assuming the post of Ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, PhD cooperated with various non-governmental organizations, including Panaptykon Fund (chairman of the Foundation Council), ClientEarth Polska (a member of the Programme Council), Prof. Zbigniew Hołda Association (co-founder and the member of the Management Board). He was also a member of the Civic Legislation Forum operating at Batory Foundation and of the editorial team of

In 2011 he was awarded with the Tolerance Prize by the Polish LGBT organizations. In 2013 he received a scholarship within the scope of German Marshall Memorial Fellowship programme.
With the approval of 67 non-governmental organizations in 2015, he was notified for the post of Ombudsman by Democratic Left Alliance Parliamentary Club and by independent members of the parliament, and also by Civic Platform Parliamentary Club. The Sejm appointed him at this post on 24 of July 2015 and on 7 August 2015, the Senate of the Republic of Poland approved this choice. Then, on 9 September 2015, the Sejm took his oath.
In 2018 Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar and his Office were laureates of the Norwegian Rafto Prize awarded to human rights defenders across the world.