The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
Address to Seton Hall University
By Lech Walesa
adies and gentlemen, thank you very much; but I would sooner hope to receive
similar applause when I finish. Now, you have set a high challenge for me. How
should I earn similar applause when you say farewell to me? You have actually made
my situation very hard to begin with, but, revolutionaries always have to face such
Eminences, dear fathers, ladies and gentlemen, dear young people. I come from
a country that is not very big, located in the middle of Europe. Many of you might
even wonder, having seen some pictures, what they mean. You saw some people
shouting here, you saw some people striking there. You might ask yourselves, is this
the way to produce bread? So let me explain to you briefly why we actually acted in
this way. I only speak about this in order to help you to better understand the
challenges of this moment, of today.
The struggle that you have just seen has led us to the situation in which the
United States has become the only superpower in the world. For 50 years, we were
used to the idea that there were two antagonistic blocs in the world, and the situation
was such that we could anticipate certain outcomes. We could foresee the future
events because the structures were known to us. Today, however, we have a totally
different situation. It is a new situation, and the role of the United States is
completely different too.
There are no doubts, whatsoever, that you are the military leader of the world.
There are no doubts, whatsoever, that you are economic leaders of the world. But,
are you equally the political leader of the world? I have the right to say such things
straightforwardly, especially here. After all, this university gave me an honorary
doctoral degree. Therefore, listen to what I have to say; though, do not take what I
am saying as showing off my wisdom. On the contrary, I do not even know whether
the things I am saying are right. The only thing I can do now is to share my insights
and perspectives with you, and you, being the superpower, will have the
responsibility to choose the best perspectives in order to be the true leader to the
, former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, visited Seton Hall
University on December 1, 2005.