"Dispatches from the Borderlands" – Winners of the writing competition of the Natolin First Semester Study Trips

We are pleased to announce that the two winning essays of the writing competition titled "Dispatches from the Borderlands" have been published! In this competition, we called on Natolin students to submit an article, essay, narrative or report from their First Semester Study Trips to the "Borderlands", which included reflections, insights, or something new learnt.

Silesia, Poland

The winner of the "Dispatches from the Borderlands" is Mr Kevin LE MERLE. His essay, titled "Why do they stay?" looks at the story of Andrei OSTAPOVICH – a former Belarusian security service official who escaped to Poland.

Kevin’s essay examines the concept of "borders" in many dimensions: physical, mental, moral and spiritual; and he tries to understand why a person would stay in his or her position as a security officer whose main job is to beat down protesters and inflict pain.

The winning essay was published in the newest issue of the New Eastern Europe magazine and can be found online here.

The second place goes to Mr Paul WHELAN.

The Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski) in Wrocław, Lower Silesia, Poland

Paul’s essay is titled "Dispatches from the Borderland: The centre cannot hold".

In the piece, the author looks at peripheries as places better suited to change and transformation, via the example of Silesia – a place that has often been in flux, with changing state borders but not people. He argues that perhaps the centre can learn from the periphery, especially when it comes accepting others and accepting change.

The second place essay was just published on the Natolin Blog and can be read here.

Congratulations to both of the authors on this achievement, and to all the participants!

Kevin LE MERLE
Paul WHELAN
10.02.2021