Bart Staszewski Announced as New Obama Foundation European Leader

The Inaugural and Fully Virtual Leaders: Europe Program Kicks Off on September 8, 2020

Warsaw– Today, Bart Staszewski announced that he has been selected as part of the inaugural, all-virtual Obama Foundation Leaders: Europe program, which kicks off on September 8, 2020. The first cohort is composed of 35 emerging leaders who represent 18 countries throughout Europe. Through their work in government, civil society, and the private sector, these leaders have demonstrated a commitment to values-based leadership and effected transformational change in their communities. They work on a broad range of issues and focus areas, including, but not limited to: economic inequality; anti-racism; public health; strengthening democracy; technology and data privacy; the climate crisis; and building a stronger Europe.

Bart Staszewski is an LGBT activist and documentary film director. His most recognizable film is „Article 18” about history of battle for marriage equality in Poland. In recent years he has co-organized the Equality March in Lublin and organized many lawsuits against Law and Justice (PiS) politicians as well as the Gazeta Polska daily for the loud „LGBT-free zone” stickers. His photographic project about LGBT-free zones has received a loud echo worldwide. Recently he also met with President Andrzej Duda to discuss the situation of LGBT people, especially teenagers who commit suicide because of homo and transphobia.  Bart Staszewski is one of two people from Poland who got into the program. The other person is Zuzanna-Rudzińska Bluszcz, a candidate for the Ombudsman.

While past Leaders programs began with a multi-day, in-person convening, before continuing online, Leaders: Europe has been adapted to a fully virtual program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the six-month, non-residential program, these European changemakers will convene online weekly for interactive virtual sessions, through which they will hone their leadership skills, build deep relationships with a small group of European peers, and engage with thought leaders and members of the Obama Foundation community on ways to drive and scale change. The leaders will also have an opportunity to participate in other virtual programming, including a variety of special events and one-on-one conversations with experienced mentors and other leaders within the Foundation’s global network.

As an extension of the Obama Foundation’s international Leaders regional programs, which started in Africa in 2018 and the Asia Pacific in 2019, Leaders: Europe is designed to further inspire, empower, and connect the emerging leaders to change their world. The Foundation’s programming in Europe began in 2019 with a town hall in Berlin, where President Obama was joined by more than 300 young leaders from across Europe to discuss the importance of community, leadership, and civic engagement. The Leaders: Europe program demonstrates the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to the region, along with the belief that these 35 emerging leaders, through their extraordinary work in their communities, have the potential to positively impact their countries, the region, and the world.

The launch of this program also comes on the heels of President Obama’s call earlier this year for a new generation of leaders to translate their justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action. The all-virtual program will run from September 2020 through February 2021.

Leaders: Europe is made possible through generous contributions from sponsors, including The Rumi Foundation, an organization focused on supporting the next generation of young leaders through education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Meet the inaugural Leaders: Europe cohort and learn more about the program here.

For interview requests or other press related questions, please email leaderspress@obama.org.

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