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Wojciech Starzyński

Polish veterinarian, social and local government activist, initiator and founder of the Civic Educational Association (STO) and its president for a number of years (1989–2010), co-founder of the non-public education system in Poland.
He was born in the family from the Polish Borderlands, in Nowogródek region. Between 1968 and 2003 he worked as a practicing veterinarian. In 1980-1989 he served as the president of the Works Council of the Solidarity Trade Union in the Veterinary Establishment in Warsaw. He also chaired the National Coordination Committee of the Veterinary Workers in the Solidarity Trade Union. He was involved in independent, clandestine publishing activities and cooperated with NOVA 2 publishing house. After the declaration of the martial law, he was interned (between August and December 1982) in detention centers in Białołęka and Strzebielinek. In 1984, he co-initiated and edited, together with J. Fedorowicz, M. Owsiński and A. Witwicki, the cartoon book “Solidarity – the First 500 days”, for which all the contributors (using the alias ‘Team 4R’) received in 1985 the “Solidarity” Culture Award. In 1987–1989, he co-organized the independent, official citizens’ movement to foster modern education in Poland, including non-public education[1].
Representing the STO (established in 1987), he contributed to the programming works on the education reform, cooperating with minister Henryk Samsonowicz and subsequent Ministers of National Education. He initiated and submitted a number of new legislative bills on public and non-public schools. In 1991, he co-founded the Mazurian University in Olecko – the first non-public higher education institution in the Mazury region, and served as the member of its Senate. Between 2001 and 2002 he co-developed at the STO the school quality measurement system as part of the “Time for a Good Polish School” program. He was the President of the Committee which awarded the certificate bearing the brand “Schola Reipublicae” and the Coordinator of the Founding Committee of the National Parents’ Forum. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the advisor to the Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek on non-governmental organizations and national education issues. Between 1998 and 2000 he served as the member of the Consultative Council for the Reform of the National Education, established by the Minister of National Education. He was also the member of the Citizens’ Committee for the National Education. In 1998-2002, he co-developed the “Parents at school” nationwide program which, in 2004, received the top award in the Pro publico bono competition for the best citizens’ initiative. Between 2006 and 2010 he chaired the Board of the “Parents for the School” Foundation and became its president in 2011.
He was the member of the governing bodies of the Conservative Coalition, the Conservative People’s Party, the Right Alliance and the Law and Justice: in 2002, he was elected from the latter’s list the councilor of the capital city of Warsaw (and served as the Chairman of the Education and Family Committee in the City Council). In 1997 and in 2005, he ran for the Sejm, unsuccessfully, and in 2006 he was reelected to the City Council of Warsaw. On 14 December 2007, he quit the Law and Justice party to co-found, in January 2008, the Mazovia XXI Association and to become its president. He served as the Board member of “Poland XXI” Citizens’ Movement, created by the Association and transformed in January 2010 into the Poland Plus party. He became its national treasurer, and on 25 September 2010, together with the majority of this formerly dissolved party, he reintegrated the Law and Justice, becoming the member of its Political Committee. In local government elections held in November, he run unsuccessfully for the second term in Warsaw City Council. In 2014 elections he did not win the mandate either. In October 2015, he became the member of the National Development Council, appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
He has authored several dozens of papers and publications on the national education system, and namely the position and the role to be held there by parents.

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