Professor, Warsaw School of Economics
Leszek Balcerowicz, born in 1947, graduated with distinction in international trade from the Central School of Planning and Statistics in Warsaw (CSPS), now Warsaw School of Economics (WSE), in 1970. In 1974, he obtained an MBA at St. John's University in New York and in 1975 he received his Ph.D. in economics at CSPS. Since October 1992, Leszek Balcerowicz has been a Professor at WSE, where he established and leads the Department of International Comparative Studies. He has been a Corresponding Member of the History and Philosophy Class of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2006.
Leszek Balcerowicz is considered the architect of Poland's economic reforms initiated in 1989. He designed and executed the radical stabilization and transformation of the Polish economy since the fall of communism in Poland. In September 1989, Leszek Balcerowicz was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Finance in the first non-communist government in Poland after the Second World War. He retained his positions in the government until December 1991.
From April 1995 to December 2000 he was the President of the Freedom Union, a free market - oriented party and from October 1997 to June 2000 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. In 2001-2007 he was the governor of the Central Bank of Poland.
Leszek Balcerowicz is a member of the Washington-based international advisory body, the Group of Thirty, and a board member of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is also a member of the Group of Trustees of the Institute of International Finance. In 2011, he was appointed a member of the Advisory Scientific Committee providing advice and assistance on issues relevant to the work of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). Between 2016 and 2017 he was an advisor to the President of Ukraine and Co-Chairman of the Group of Strategic Advisors on the Support for Reforms in Ukraine (2016-2017).
In 1997, he established a think-tank, Civil Development Forum Foundation (FOR), where he remains its Chairman.
Leszek Balcerowicz holds honorary doctorates from more than 20 universities around the world.
In 1992, he was awarded the Ludwig Erhard Prize from the Ludwig Erhard Foundation, Germany. In 1998 Leszek Balcerowicz received "Finance Minister of the Year" title from the British financial monthly "Euromoney". In 1999 European Institute of Washington granted him its "Transatlantic Leadership Award" for the most outstanding European personality, and he received the Central European Award for Finance Minister of the Year in 1998. In 2001, he was awarded the Friedrich von Hayek Prize, Germany. In that same year he received the Carl Bertelsmann Prize for his achievements during the process of transformation of the Polish economy. In 2002 the Fasel Foundation honored him with a prize for his merits for the social market economy. In January 2004 British monthly "The Banker" recognized Leszek Balcerowicz as Central Banker of the Year for Europe. In October 2004 he was granted the annual "Emerging Markets Award" for the best president of a central bank in Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2005, he was awarded Poland's highest decoration - Order of the White Eagle - for his contribution to the system transformation. In 2008 the Leontief Center in St. Petersburg, Russia awarded him the Leontief Prize for outstanding contributions to economic theory. In 2009, he was featured in documentary “It Was a Plan” by Andrzej Fidyk, showing his reforms securing Poland’s transition from socialism to market economy. In 2010, Polish television (TVP) honored him with its most popular achievement award “Superwiktor”. In 2014, he has been named the winner of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
Leszek Balcerowicz is the author of more than 100 publications on economic issues in Poland and abroad. Selected publications include: Socialism, Capitalism, Transformation, Central European, University Press, Budapest 1995; Wolnosc i rozwoj: ekonomia wolnego rynku (Freedom and Development: the Economics of Free Market), Wydawnictwo Znak, Cracow 1995; Post-Communist Transition: Some Lessons, Institute of Economic Affairs, London 2002; Towards a Limited State, World Bank 2003. ‘Institutional Systems and Economic Growth’, in: Challenges of Globalization. Imbalances and Growth, ed. by Anders Åslund, Marek Dabrowski, Peterson Institutute for International Economics, p. 153-199, Washington, DC 2008; Zagadki wzrostu gospodarczego (Puzzles of Economic Growth), edited and co-authored by: Leszek Balcerowicz, Andrzej Rzońca, C.H. Beck Sp. z o.o., Warsaw 2010, Odkrywajac wolnosc. Przeciw zniewoleniu umyslow (Discovering Liberty. Against the Enslavement of Minds), essays selected by Leszek Balcerowicz, who is also the author of the preface to the book, ZYSK i S-KA Wydawnictwo, 2012; Trzeba się bić. Opowieść biograficzna (We Must Fight. A Biographical Story), Leszek Balcerowicz, Marta Stremecka,. Czerwone i Czarne Publishing, Warsaw 2014; a collection of essays: Wolnosc, rozwój, demokracja (Freedom, development, democracy), Czerwone i Czarne Publishing, Warsaw 2017.