Radosław (Radek) Sikorski is one of the most internationally recognised Polish politicians of his time. Radek is a Distinguished Statesman at CSIS in Washington, DC and a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group.
Radek was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he headed the students’ strike committee during the unrest in March 1981. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a B.A. and an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE).
He was a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Angola in 1986-89 during which time he won the World Press Photo award (1988) for a photograph taken in Afghanistan.
As Deputy Minister of National Defence in 1992, Radek initiated Poland’s NATO accession campaign. In 1998-2001 he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Honourary Chairman of the Foundation for Assistance to Poles in the East.
From 2002 to 2005, he was resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative. He was editor of the analytical publication European Outlook and organised international conferences on topics such as UN reform and the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity movement. He appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs as an expert on Atlantic issues. In 2012 he was named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by the Foreign Policy magazine “for telling the truth, even when it’s not diplomatic”.
Radek was elected senator for Bydgoszcz in 2005 and served as Minister of National Defence in 2005-07. In 2007, he was elected to the Lower House of the Polish Parliament (the Sejm) from the Civic Platform list. He was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland on 16 November 2007. He has been Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs since 1st January 2010. He was elected Vice-Chairman of the Civic Platform in October 2010. Radek was Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of the House/Parliament) from 2014-15 and was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007-15.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was the Polish signatory of the Treaty of Lisbon, in 2007. Together with Carl Bildt, he launched EU’s Eastern Partnership and he proposed and helped to set up the European Endowment for Democracy. He negotiated and signed the Poland-Russia regional visa-free regime, Poland-US missile defense agreement and together with the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France, the accord between the pro-EU opposition and Ukrainian President Yanukovych, in 2013.
He is the author of several books, including Dust of the Saints, The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland, and Strefa Zdekomunizowana [The Decommunized Zone]. He is currently working on a book about foreign policy and on Poland's successful transition over the last 20 years.
In addition to speaking about international affairs, Radek is also called upon to address the subjects of defence matters, cybersecurity and internet reform. He also has views on the current turmoil within the EU, including the debate about the UK's role and the interplay with other EU states.
Radek is married to the American journalist and writer Anne Applebaum, who received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for her book Gulag.
- Distinguished Statesman at CSIS in Washington, D.C
- Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group
- Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of Parliament) 2014-15
- Minister for Foreign Affairs, 2007-15
- Minister of Defence, 2005-07
- Senator, 2005-07
- Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1998-2001
- Deputy Minister of Defence, 1992
- Member, National Security Council 2005-15
- Member of Parliament 2007-15
- Member of the President of Ukraine's Advisory Council on reforms
- Honourary Doctorate, Nova University, Lisbon, 2015
- World Press Photo, 1st prize, spot news, 1988
- Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2012 ‘for telling the truth, even when it’s not diplomatic’
- Freedom Award, the Atlantic Council, 2013
- Wiktor 2006 award for ‘most popular politician’
- Royal Order of the Polar Star, Sweden
- Grand Officer, Legion of Honour, France
- Order of Merit, 1st class, Ukraine
- Grand Officer’s Cross, Order of the Crown, Belgium
- Presidential Order of Excellence, Georgia
- Vakhtang Gorgasali Order, 1st class (military), Georgia
- Commander’s Cross with Star, Order of Merit, Hungary
- Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st class, Estonia
- Order of Honour, Moldova
- Grand Commander’s Cross, Order of Honour, Greece
- Order of Orange–Nassau, 1st class, The Netherlands
Radek tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.
The UK needs to learn far more about the EU as the views of the European Commission and European Parliament will shape the deal that Britain will get with Brexit. Britain's negotiating hand is far weaker than British politicians let on. On current trajectory, a no-deal lapsing of Britain's membership is distinctly possible. The British public and British companies need a far greater understanding of the magnitude of the negotiations that face them. British politicians are learning but not fast enough and will be shocked to find out what it will be like to negotiate with Brussels as a non-member.
The Future of the EU
The UK's departure from the EU is another crisis that the EU faces, but also another opportunity to create new area of integration, such as defence in the face of a hostile Russia and an ambivalent USA. The Euro and migration crises are at core problems of governability. Both issues need to be enforced supranationally, but the politics of member states don't allow it. The EU in US terms is between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Europe's drama is that what is needed constitutionally is politically impossible — therefore the EU's future is in doubt.
Populism: “The rise of nationalism, protectionism and collectivism”as a sub heading?
Poland, an icon of the West's victory in the Cold War, has had its most successful quarter century in 500 years. Without a single year of recession, incomes have been rising and inequality are falling. And yet Poland elected a populist government 18 months ago — first of the current tsunami of Populism sweeping the West. In Radek Sikorski's view therefore, the roots of populism can't be economic but globalisation has much more to do with identity politics, culture and social media. Populists feed on the downside of globalisation in wealthier societies and this should be addressed through a fairer model of capitalism and more streamlined democratic procedures. We are witnessing the return of the tried and tested bad ideas — nationalism, protectionism and collectivism. Democrats need to act if we don't want to see that movie again as we know how it ends. Social media need to be put on a firmer legal footing.
The Russo-Ukrainian conflict: “And the relations of both countries with the EU” as a sub heading?
Until mid 2000, Russia was on a broad convergence course with the West — joining institutions such as the Council of the Europe, the G7 and the World Trade Organization. Putin promoted the concept of sovereign democracy by which he means Russia's unique path based on her own imperial and autocratic traditions. First in Georgia, then in Ukraine — Putin changed international borders by force, which proved popular with Russian people. While living standards have stagnated, Russian kleptocracy is now sustained by restoring perceived national glory whether by annexing Crimea or by beating the US in Syria. The Trump presidency might mean an initial warming of relations but will likely result in two narcissistic leaders falling out. Radek is unsure which phase will be worse for the world.
Reformation: “Reforming a public institution"
As President Trump will soon discover, reforming a state bureaucracy is much harder than running a business. More stakeholders, more legal obstacles to what can be done, more traction between decisions and execution. For seven years, as Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski reformed Poland's diplomacy root and branch, from creating a global communication system and operations centre through buying and selling embassies through satellite image analysis and changing training systems & reward schemes. Having inherited a moribund post-Communist bureaucracy — Radek left it a global corporation with over 100 branch offices worldwide. How to plan, execute and ground fundamental institutional reform in the public sector is an experience that he can share both as an expert and a practitioner.