Witold Szabłowski


Date and place of birth: 1980, Ostrów Mazowiecka, Poland

Living place: Warsaw, Poland

Theme: journalism

ECC Participation: moderator

photo: private archive

Journalist, reporter. Before he began working for „Gazeta Wyborcza” and its weekly supplement “Duży Format”, he worked at the TVN 24 TV station, among others. Graduated from the Department of Journalism and Political Science at the Warsaw University. He has also studied Political Science in Istanbul, where he also got to know Turkey inside-out, working as an intern at CNN Türk.

“In the global village, there is no such thing as two countries without any common areas.”

Although he specializes in Turkish affairs, he has also written on Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, as well as Poles and the Roms in Brzeg. As a reporter, he asks difficult questions: he talked to the family of Ali Agca, joined forces with British Al Jazeera to prepare a program on post-communist political vetting in Poland, hitchhiked through Kosovo, and scoured Turkish bazaars tracing the story of the shoe that the Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi threw at George W. Bush.

A collection of his reportages from Turkey, “Zabójca z miasta moreli” (“Assassin From Apricot City”), published in 2010 by Publishing House Czarne, is counted among the best Polish reportage compilations of the past few years. The stories assembled by the journalist paint – as some reviewers noted – “a multi-layered story of Turkey torn between East and West, between Islam and Islamophobia, suffused with conservatism and post-modernity, longing for Europe while at the same time displaying a healthy dose of Euro-skepticism. In each of Szabłowski’s reportages someone’s fate hangs in balance, every one of his subjects has a chance to tell his story, often surprised at his own sudden courage to do so, fostered by the Polish reporter.“

Szabłowski has received a number of important awards for the pieces featured in the abovementioned publication. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Melchior Wańkowicz Award (category: Inspiration of the Year) for “drawing upon the best models of reportage, and showcasing the unknown face of Turkey; for diligent research, and concise yet evocative language.” In the same year, his report on Turkish honor killings, “To z miłości, siostro” (“It’s Out of Love, Sister”) received a honorary mention at the Amnesty International competition for the best articles concerning human rights. In 2010, Szabłowski received the European Parliament Journalism Award for his reportage “Dziś przypłyną tu dwa trupy” (“Today Two Bodies Will Wash Ashore”) on the problem of illegal immigrants flocking to the European Union.

As a participant of the European Culture Congress, Witold Szabłowski will moderate the discussion “Culture in Action”.

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