The Bronisław Geremek Prize is awarded to Professor Mark LEWIS

The European Civilization Chair, founded by the European Parliament in memory of the distinguished European statesman and medieval historian Bronisław GEREMEK at the College of Europe at Natolin, is delighted to announce the first award of the Bronisław Geremek Prize. The prize—worth 20,000 euros—is awarded annually, in cooperation with the Bronisław Geremek Foundation, for an outstanding academic book in the field of European civilization and history. A prize of 5,000 euros is also awarded annually for an outstanding first academic book in the same field. The decision is made by a chapter, chaired by the current chairholder, Professor Richard BUTTERWICK-PAWLIKOWSKI, whose members are Professor Marcin GEREMEK, Professor Andrzej FRISZKE, Professor Maria KOCZERSKA, Professor Wojciech KRIEGSEISEN and Professor Henryk SAMSONOWICZ, on the basis of reviews written by an international jury of experts of books nominated by leading academic publishers.

The main prize is awarded in 2015 to Professor Mark LEWIS of the City University of New York for his book The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950, published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Mark LEWIS’s The Birth of the New Justice is a history of the attempts to instate ad hoc and permanent international criminal courts and new international criminal laws from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the Cold War. These courts were intended to repress aggressive war, war crimes, terrorism, and genocide. Mark LEWIS shows the diversity of the motives behind the projects of international jurists. The actors sought not only to ensure the punishment of the guilty or secure international peace. They pursued moral, social and national agendas. Many also hoped for an international order that would put limits on the power of nation-states.

The prize for an outstanding first book is awarded in 2015 to Dr Wojciech ŚWIEBODA of the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków, Poland, for his book Innowiercy w opiniach prawnych uczonych polskich w XV w. Poganie, Żydzi, Muzulmanie [Infidels in the Juridicial Opinions of Polish Intellectuals in the 15th Century: Pagans, Jews, Muslims], published by Societas Vistulana (Kraków).

Dr Wojciech ŚWIEBODA argues that late medieval Polish intellectuals from Kraków University addressed the problem of non-Christians and their rights eruditely, on the basis of evidence, and with ‘extraordinary versatility’. They were not afraid ‘to express unpopular opinions’. Their works are a significant part of a common human academic and cultural heritage, because they are concerned with ‘respect for dignity of the human, free will and interpersonal solidarity.’

Professor LEWIS will deliver a lecture, and Dr ŚWIEBODA will give presentation about the themes of their books during the award ceremony. This will be held at the Natolin campus of the College of Europe in December 2015.