The President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland to Trinity College’s Assistant Professor in Political Science Jacqueline Hayden. Professor Hayden received the decoration this week for “outstanding services rendered to the promotion of Poland’s transition to democracy, for acting as a truthful witness to the situation on the ground during the period of martial law and for accomplishments in journalistic undertakings”.
Paying tribute to Dr. Hayden, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmoresaid: “On behalf of the Irish Government, I want to congratulate Jacqueline on the honour she has received today from the Government of Poland. Both as a journalist and as an academic, she has made an important contribution to Poland’s transition to democracy and in helping to strengthen the close ties between our two countries. I know that it is a matter of great pride to her family, friends and colleagues both in Poland and in Ireland that her efforts have been recognised today, the 24th anniversary of the first elections on Poland’s road to full democracy.”
Dr Jacqueline Hayden receiving award from Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski
During her first visit to Poland in 1980, Professor Hayden met the leading members of the opposition movement ‘Solidarność’, including the future president Lech Wałęsa. As a freelance journalist at that time, she reported for the Irish Press newspaper the events in Gdańsk in August 1980, when the shipyard workers went on strike to demand the creation of Free Trade Unions. These events remain to be one of the most important dates on Poland’s way to democracy.
Since then Prof. Hayden has continued her interest in Poland writing both journal articles and publications devoted to the collapse of communism and democratic changes. She is currently preparing a volume on the trajectory of democratic transition in Poland.
The Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is awarded to foreign nationals as well as Polish nationals living abroad for their contribution into international cooperation and bilateral relations between Poland and other countries and nations.