On 8 December 2015 at the Natolin (Warsaw) Campus of the College of Europe, the Bronisław Geremek Prize was awarded for the first time. It will henceforth be awarded annually for an outstanding book in the field of European history and civilization.
The main prize, for an outstanding book in the field of the history of European civilization was awarded to Professor Mark LEWIS (City University of New York) for The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. In his book he shows the complex paths which led to the establishment of international tribunals to judge those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He also emphasizes the incompleteness of the system today.
A prize was also awarded for an outstanding first academic book in the same field. The young historian so distinguished is Dr Wojciech ŚWIEBODA (Jagiellonian Library, Kraków) for Innowiercy w opiniach prawnych uczonych polskich w XV wieku. Poganie, żydzi, muzułmanie ('Infidels in the legal opinion of Polish scholars in the fifteenth century: pagans, Jews, Muslims'), Kraków: Societas Vistulana, 2013. Dr ŚWIEBODA recalls a distant, complex yet also edifying chapter in the history of Polish thought, when Catholic scholars such as Paweł WŁODKOWIC (after whom one of the Natolin residences is named) preceded their times in discerning in the ‘infidel’ a human being and a neighbour worthy of respect, and with inalienable rights.
Both prizes were presented by Marcin GEREMEK, the son of Professor Bronisław GEREMEK and the Vice-Chairman of the prize chapter. The chapter is constituted by historians nominated by the Chair of European Civilization at the College of Europe, founded in 2010 by the European Parliament in memory of Bronisław GEREMEK, and by the Professor Bronisław Geremek Foundation. The chapter is chaired by Professor Richard BUTTERWICK-PAWLIKOWSKI, the current Chairholder. It reaches its decisions on the basis of reviews written by a jury of international experts of books submitted by leading academic publishers.