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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland picks new top diplomat: Meet Zbigniew Rau

27.08.2020 10:41
Senior parliamentarian and law professor Zbigniew Rau has taken over as Poland’s foreign minister, replacing Jacek Czaputowicz.
Zbigniew Rau
Zbigniew RauPAP/Leszek Szymański

Rau, who previously served as chairman of the Polish lower house’s foreign affairs committee, was sworn into his new role as the country’s top diplomat by President Andrzej Duda at a ceremony in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the outgoing foreign minister received thanks and praise from his colleagues “for his work for Poland on the global stage.”

The changing of the guard at the Polish foreign ministry comes after Czaputowicz last week stepped down from his role as Poland’s top diplomat to make room for a new face.

An aide quoted him as voicing hope at the time that his successor would “continue the current line of policy and work to further strengthen Poland's position in the international arena.”

New man in charge

Rau, the new man at the helm of the Polish foreign ministry, is a university lecturer and a professor of law as well as a lawyer.

He was elected an MP last year.

Prior to that, Rau was a senator, and he also served as governor of Poland's Łódzkie province from 2015 to 2019.

Rau graduated from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Łódź in central Poland in 1977. He earned a Ph.D. degree in 1982 and followed up with a post-doctoral degree in law in 1996.

He became a professor of law in 2005. He heads the Department of Political and Legal Doctrines and the Alexis de Tocqueville Centre for Political and Legal Thought at the University of Łódź.

Rau has also lectured extensively abroad, including at German, Dutch, British, US and Australian universities, such as Cambridge University, the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University in the United States, and the Australian National University in Canberra.

From 2005 to 2007, during his term as a senator, he was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the human rights body Council of Europe.

Meanwhile, during his term as an MP from November 2019 to August 2020, Rau chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish lower house, headed the Polish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and led the Polish-British Parliamentary Group.

He is taking charge as Poland’s new foreign minister amid a crisis in neighbouring Belarus, where a wave of popular discontent has grown against  longtime strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko.

(gs/pk)

Source: gov.pl