Polish President awarded Jiří Jirásek, Head of UP Department of Constitutional Law

Monday 9 April 2018, 8:56 – Text: Eva Hrudníková

The head of the Department of Constitutional Law at the UP Faculty of Law, Jiří Jirásek, was presented a highly esteemed Polish state award – the Golden Cross for Merit. Polish president Andrzej Duda awarded him the honour in recognition of his long-term contributions to intensification of Polish-Czech cooperation in science and the arts, bringing both nations closer together.

The award was given upon a proposal made by Nicolaus Copernicus University (NCU) in Toruń; it was instigated by the NCU Faculty of Law and Administration. “Our colleague Jiří Jirásek has greatly contributed to our closer collaboration. Thanks to him we have been able to constantly develop Polish and Czech relationships, not only in science. A genuine friendship between Poland and Czechia is being successfully built. Jiří has also been long active in the popularisation of Polish law in the Czech Republic,” said Zbigniew Witkowski, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Administration, explaining the reasons for their proposal.

He pointed out the fact that the collaboration between Polish experts and Jirásek has lasted thirty years. It all began when Jirásek worked at the university in Prague. “Jiří Jirásek helped to initiate the idea of Polish-Czech legal seminars which take place biannually. The proceedings from these seminars are highly appreciated in academic circles. The seminars feature experts from all Czech law faculties,” said Zbigniew Witkowski, prior to mentioning the further merits of Jiří Jirásek and his team. “They have participated in extensive research grants, taught at our faculty, and are members of editorial boards in Polish scholarly journals, including the most important ones focussing on constitutional law in Poland.”

Docent Jirásek perceives the Polish state award as recognition of the work made by the entire team at the Department of Constitutional Law. “The entire department takes part in collaboration with Polish partners. It is, however, an acknowledgement for our faculty, too. Our faculty management gives us plenty of space for developing Czech and Polish relations and supports such cooperation. This year our faculty signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Toruń university, on the basis of which our relationships should further deepen,” said Jirásek.

Apart from NCU in Toruń, the Olomouc law faculty very closely collaborates with universities in Gdańsk and Łódź. “Our faculty has a very good reputation in Poland; our Polish colleagues often contact even other departments,” added Jirásek. His closest Polish partners include the aforementioned Zbigniew Witkowski, and Krzysztof Skotnicki from Łódź, who is also the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Poland, and Andrzej Szmyt from Gdańsk.

Jirásek has received personal congratulations from the UP Faculty of Law Dean, Zdenka Papoušková. “I am so happy that you are employed at our faculty. We immensely appreciate your work, expertise, and contacts,” said the dean during their meeting. She was also presented with a medal for the faculty, sent by the dean from Toruń as a token of their collaboration.

Jiří Jirásek is only the third foreigner who received the Golden Cross for Merit on the proposal by Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The two awarded before him were Graziella Filippini (University of Padua) and Gian Candido De Martin (Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli, Roma). Jiří Jirásek accepted the Polish state award in Toruń at the ceremonial session of the Academic Senate on the occasion of university celebrations.