Seminars were organized between 1995 - 2000
Taking into consideration the economic reforms which have been implemented since the end of 1994, it was of a vital importance to provide the population of the countries represented at those seminars with a broad understanding of the mechanisms of the transition process from a centrally planned to a market economy. Knowledge of the basic economic principles and positive, as well as negative, economic facts experienced by other post-communist economies allowed politicians and their voters to avoid populism and economic dead-ends. The most efficient way to achieve this was to educate young journalists from a range of newspapers. The education program consisted of basic macro- and micro-economic theory and practical examples from the relevant countries, such as other countries of the former Soviet Union (the rest of Russia and the other Baltic States), Central East European countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary) and Germany (restructuring of the East German economy).
The wish, expressed in the foreign policies of the different governments, to become responsible members of international, economic and political organizations, made it necessary to promote a knowledge and an understanding of the rules, benefits and also the obligations towards these institutions. The German and the Polish experience and the years of successful cooperation within many international institutions were a very valuable example for these countries.
A seminar was organized for a maximum of 20 journalists from Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia ( Kaliningrad ).
It was to be organized by the German-Polish Society for Eastern Europe in conjunction with
Industrial Development Agency (IDA) a Polish governmental institution in charge of the privatization process and Centre for Social and Economic Research - CASE - a Polish non-governmental organization, experienced in advisory and research activities. The training for the journalists lasted about a week. The first two or three days consisted of lectures, seminars, and discussions among participants and experts from the fields of politics, economics, history and journalism. The rest of the week was spent on meetings with acknowledged reformers and representatives of the most successful private or privatized Polish and foreign firms, banks, and newspapers. The best participants were rewarded with the possibility of visiting selected German firms and newspapers.
Participants were to be introduced to the workings of a market economy, so that in the future they would be in a position to comment more professionally on economic developments. It was also hoped that they would learn something about the role of the media in society and the responsibilities of journalism. Meetings with local politicians and journalists were arranged in order to further good neighborly relations.
Journalists, especially those from provincial areas, had little or no access to and experience of Western journalism. There was hardly any contact between journalists from the countries represented and those from neighboring Poland. A meeting of professionals from both East and West led to an exchange of knowledge and helped to improve international understanding.
The importance of this seminar lay in the fact that it not only offered lectures of a very high standard with the emphasis on practical experience, but also provided the opportunity for personal contacts to be made and human relations fostered. As the seminar was held in Poland participants had the chance to acquire first-hand experience of what had achieved in the country over a period of years.
The seminar was unique in that most of those involved in its preparation and realization were
working on a voluntary basis. Their commitment served to stimulate and motivate the
participating journalists and left them with the feeling that they had been together with
good neighbors who were endeavoring to help them.
Finally, it should be stressed that economic growth and the development of democratic
institutions in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia are of vital importance not only for Poland and Germany, but also for whole of Europe.
A joint project also serves to consolidate Polish-German relations.