The New Poland: A country transformed

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The New Poland: A country transformed

  • Story Highlights
  • 20 years since Poland's Solidarity movement defeated the Communist Party
  • The New Poland is a week of programming examining the transformation of Poland
  • Culminates in Autumn of Change, a look at the events that led to the election
  • Fionnuala Sweeney will anchor CNN's live coverage from Poland

May 25, 2009 -- Updated 1422 GMT (2222 HKT)

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CNN) -- It has been nearly 20 years since Poland's Solidarity movement defeated the Communist Party in an historic election that prompted the fall of communism across central and eastern Europe. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa takes the oath in front of Poland's National Assembly on December 22, 1990.

CNN International marks this significant anniversary with "The New Poland," a week of programming examining the transformation of Poland from 1989 to where it sits today on the world stage.
The combination of daily live programming and special reports from CNN correspondents in cities across Poland culminates June 4 with "Autumn of Change, an in-depth documentary that takes a retrospective look at the events leading up to the election exactly 20 years ago.
Reflecting the tumultuous year of 1989, which changed Europe forever, "Autumn of Change" will mix live programming and documentary programming, unforgettable historical images with interviews past and present, and a huge online audience initiative through Poland, Hungary, Germany, the former Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, in a comprehensive narrative of events that have helped to shape the Europe of today.
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"CNN's combination of historic footage, comprehensive reporting and access to Poland's (external - login to view) key figures puts us in an unparalleled position to set the scene for how Poland was the catalyst for the Europe of today," said Mike McCarthy, vice president of coverage and feature programming for CNN International.
"In step with the anniversaries of the events themselves, CNN will invite viewers to take part in our ambitious account of how Europe has changed over the last 20 years and what the future may hold."
About the programming:
Just eight months after reporting from Poland for the week-long "Eye on Poland" special, Fionnuala Sweeney returns to the country to anchor the network's live coverage for "The New Poland."
She will report on the various commemoration and celebration ceremonies throughout the week from cities across Poland including Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.
Autumn of Change: The New Poland
CNN looks back on the momentous events of 1989 as Poland cast off communism and sent shockwaves through Eastern Europe
June 6 0800ET/1400CET; June 7 1400 ET/2000 CET

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In addition to Sweeney's live reports, CNN correspondent Frederik Pleitgen will take viewers inside the Poland of today looking at the political, cultural, social and economic changes that have taken place in the past 20 years.
The programs include:
-- Gdansk Today: CNN goes to the city of Gdansk, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, to see how a new ship building firm is coping with the economic crisis.
-- Catholicism in Poland: CNN looks at the Catholic Church in Poland and the challenges it faces. We visit Religia TV, a new project that aims to attract Catholics as well as viewers from other religions.
-- Business in Poland: CNN talks to a Warsaw-based family business to see how the fall of communism affected them and hear their views on the global economic crisis.
-- Polish Cuisine: CNN speaks to Krakow's top celebrity chef and historian Robert Maklowicz about Polish cuisine and the recent trend to return to its roots.
-- Poland's Film School: CNN visits Poland's largest film production Centrex, the National Film, Television and Theatre School in Lodz, and finds out what makes this school so unique.
About the documentary:

By combining narratives from key players within the Solidarity movement, the Communist leadership, CNN reporters who covered the events and Polish civilians who lived through it all, Autumn of Change charts the individuals, relationships and astonishing chain of events that shook eastern Europe to its foundations.
About the online coverage:

CNN's television coverage will be complemented by a full interactive companion site (external - login to view). This special site will feature a number of pieces that reflect the cultural influence of this movement as well as narratives from some of the major figures involved in the process.
Via (external - login to view), CNN will also encourage viewers and users from Poland and elsewhere to submit content -- photos, videos and comments -- to illustrate personal experiences. Whether a part of this revolutionary period or not, CNN wants to know how these pivotal events affected them.
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Yeap , its bin 20 years agooooo today .

Last edited by china; May 26th, 2009 at 08:03 AM..
I watch CNN and I never see this.

Stalin never worried about the Roman Catholic church because it didn't have any army divisions. The RCC played a large role in the collapse of communism in Poland and it hoped there would be a religious revival, but it was sorely disappointed afterwards. Which is good, religion is past its best before date in the Western world, and the whole world too. The RCC is a political organization and it was used for a good result, but it is simply of little use these days.
Good lord! There is a NEW Poland? Did they discover or conquer themselves?
I am an Englishman, and have lived in Poland for most of the last 20 years. Whilst many things have changed in Poland, many of the bad things have not changed that much. For exaple, corruption, nepotism in employment, poor management ethic and skills.

Most o these points are proliferated by the older generation, brought up during communism. The younger generation are likley to make more rapid changes when they acheive powerfull positions in society.

Poland is not new! its very much the old Poland with a few seeds of hope sewn in several places, mainly the larger cities.

Whilst I appreciate that the democracy is young, the politicians in the main need to grow up, they are self centered and many are corrupt. Take the recent case of the prim minister and president turning up at the same meeting and having an argument forbidding each other to do so.

Most people in the country feel embarrased by the antics of their politicians.

Poland really needs a leader with charisma at this moment in time, I really hope they find one.

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