On behalf of H.E. Mr Artur Orzechowski, Ambassador of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium, we have a pleasure to invite you to a seminar entitled


“Women in Science, Past and Present”


taking place on Thursday, 7 June 2018, from 14h-21h at Bibliotheque Solvay, Leopold Park, rue Belliard 137, Brussels

Polish Woman’s Club in Brussels: a cultural and educational association which brings together Polish women who live in Belgium. The association was founded in 2011 by a group of Polish women working mainly in European institutions who wanted to create a support group for Poles needing help and those who have just arrived in Belgium. The association’s activity includes  organising family meetings and polish culture events open for everyone and supporting charity organisations in Brussels. The main partner of The Polish Woman’s Club in Brussels is Association Daskalia from Leuven. The Club is also supported by other organisations such as Network PL.


Daskalia: Two ambitious teachers founded the Polish Culture and Language Center- DASKALIA. It is a non-profit organization (NGO) managed by a collective from various Polish diasporas called the General Assembly. The center exists since 2013 and its main tasks include: organizing education in the field of language, Polish history and culture for children and youth (Polish School Mini Daskalia in Leuven and in Liège, facilitating access to literary resources in Polish (Polish Library), managing cultural projects and inviting to dialogue and cultural exchange.

Education at the Polish Culture and Language Center is consider not only a promotion of Polish language, history and culture, but also a forum for meetings and exchange of experiences in a very diverse Polish community in Belgium. The main Daskalia’s activities are: cultural and educational projects, as well as concerts, workshops, conferences, informal meetings, linguistic assistance and psychological support.


Polish Tourism Organisation in Brussels  is a government agency founded in 1992, and chartered with promoting Poland as a premier destination to tourists originating from both the United States and Canadian markets. Its goal is to create awareness, and then educate, encourage, and assist tourists who may be interested in travel to Poland, a modern country offering high standard of services and unique experiences. Polish Tourism Organisation further strengthens the identity and enhances the image of Poland by participating in major travel trade events, organizing familiarization, and press trips as well as interacting with individual travelers interested in visiting Poland. The organisation implements and carries out strategies as established by the Polish Tourism Organization as well as creates promotional campaigns and social media events tailored specifically to needs and expectations of the particular market area.



Polish Academy of Sciences – Scientific Center in Paris: The Polish Academy of Sciences – Scientific Center’s origin is connected with the Polish Library in Paris and the Great Emigration. The Center was established as a division of the Polish Library on May 3, 1893. It was the only Polish independent research institution abroad after the loss of Polish independence. The primary objective of the Scientific Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Paris is to promote the Polish science in France. The activity also includes: initiating scientific contact between Polish and French research institutions, cooperating and supporting of international research in the field of science and technology, consulting and assisting academic researchers in building partnership between institutions.



Gas Transmission Operator GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. is a strategic company for Poland’s economy and energy security. The company’s key task is the transport of gas via the transmission network throughout the country to supply with gas the distribution networks and final customers connected to the transmission system. GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. ensures safe and secure transport of natural gas in Poland and actively develops an integrated transmission system in Europe. In day-to-day activities, it cares for the environment and is guided by the principles of sustainable development.




BACKGROUND: The Sejm, Poland’s Lower Chamber of Parliament, has made 2018 the Year of Women’s Rights and the Year of Science.

Women have always played exceptional role in Polish history. They have been at the forefront of our heroic struggle against foreign oppression and imperialism, and also played an essential role in preserving the spirit of the nation, particularly through education.

This is an exceptional year for Poland. In 2018 we celebrate an important anniversary – one hundred years ago our country regained its independence after more than a century of partition. It is worth noting that on regaining independence, Poland immediately granted women the right to vote. On 28 November 1918, Józef Piłsudski signed, on the initiative of many Polish women, including his wife Aleksandra Piłsudska, the Election Regulation Decree stipulating that every Polish citizen, regardless of gender, could both vote and stand for political office. Getting the vote was an important step for women towards greater involvement in other areas of social activity, particularly science and education. From that moment on, Poland saw an unprecedented increase in women’s contribution to almost every field of scientific research. Polish women researchers have, through the scope of their work, contributed to the overcoming of many challenges, not only those facing Europe but the world as a whole.

AIM: The main objective of this event is to remind us about those exceptional women who have changed the world in which we live. Scientists like Maria Skłodowska-Curie or Józefa Franciszka Joteyko achieved remarkable success in their fields and provided future generations of women with role models.

This seminar will increase awareness about these remarkable women, with discussions about their lives, achievements, and experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to compare the past with the present, and discuss the key opportunities and obstacles which can be found on the path towards the greater representation of women in science.

This event will also look at the struggle of women against discrimination, and how they can overcome the obstacles placed in their way. Participants will discuss current challenges and how progress can be made in the future. Ultimately, we hope the seminar will underscore the importance of strategies aimed at improving the level of female representations in science and strengthen European voices in this discussion.


The Polish Embassy in Brussels

Polish Institute in Brussels: its key goal is to familiarise people in Belgium with the history, language and culture of Poland, as well as use Belgium as a platform on which to unveil the latest Polish intellectual and artistic news and events. Its job is to encourage an exchange between Poland and Belgium in the fields of culture, education and human and exact science. The Institute works towards making sure that Polish culture forms part of the Belgian landscape, and, in order to make this happen, it collaborates with Belgian institutions and NGOs as well as with festivals, not-for-profit organisations, etc. Its wish is thus to take part in an international cultural dialogue and stimulate multilateral cultural cooperation and action.



The Polish Science Contact Agency, PolSCA, in Brussels, started its activities in 2005. It is an auxiliary agency of the Polish Academy of Sciences founded on the basis of Article 58 of the Polish Academy of Sciences Act, it has legal personality in Belgium as well. The agency represents the Polish scientific community, it reinforces its image and interests through support of the researchers' participation in the framework programmes. PolSCA takes part in consultations on the European research policy. Moreover, facilitating exchange of ideas between representatives of international research communities belongs to PolSCA's mission.




13h30 – 14h00

Registration and coffee

14h00 – 14h10

Welcome: H.E. Artur Orzechowski, Ambassador of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium

14h10 – 15h40

Panel Discussion I:   Women in Science. Historical Perspective

A life in sciences: Maria Skłodowska-Curie

Brigitte Van Tiggelen, Director, Office of the President - Europe, Science History Institute/UCL


The pact between the Skłodowska sisters

Natacha Henry, author of the book “Maria and Bronia, Pact of Sisters”, winner of Prix Marie Curie 2017


Joteyka’s contribution to the world of science

Seweryna Konieczna, doctor of medicine, master of Polish philology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Department of History & Philosophy of Medical Sciences


On being a celebrity scientist

Geert Vanpaemel, Professor for history of science and science communication, KULeuven (Catholic University of Leuven)


Moderator:  Dorota Walczak, Head of the Polish Language and Culture Department, ULB (Free University of Brussels)

15h40 - 16h00

Coffee Break

16h00 - 16h30

Keynote speech by  Professor Agnieszka Zalewska, former President of the CERN Council (European Center for Nuclear Research)


16h30 - 18h00

Panel Discussion II: Modern Challenges on the Path to Scientific Excellence

In presence of  Philippe Busquin, former EU Commissionaire for research


Veronique Halloin, Secretary General of FNRS (Fund for Scientific Research in Belgium)

Elżbieta Frąckowiak, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences - PAN

Kurt Vandenberghe, Director, Directorate A - Policy Development and Coordination), DG Research & Innovation, European Commission

Anna Szołucha, Polish Institute of Advanced Studies, PAN, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Alumna


Moderator: Sarah Baatout, Head of Radiobiology Unit, Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, SCK-CEN, Mol

18h00 - 18h10

Closing remarks: Elżbieta Frąckowiak, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences-PAN

18h10 - 19h00


19h00 - 20h00

Joteyka Award Ceremony presented by Aneta Boratyńska, President of the Polish Women’s Club in Brussels, and Katarzyna Radomska, President of Daskalia

Center Concert by the Belgian string orchestra I MUSICI BRUCELLENSIS, directed by the Polish-Belgian Maestro, Zofia Wisłocka, founder of  International Association of Women Conductors and winner of the Joteyka Award 2017

20h00 - 21h00