Jacek Spendel (AIPES 08, CSF 09) of Poland is so passionate about freedom that he attended two TFAS programs – in 2008, he attended the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems (AIPES) in Prague, and in Fall 2009 he attended Capital Semester in Washington, D.C.
The Fund for American Studies had a big impact on my life. Students’ education in the spirit of a free society is something that can change the world in the long-term, and it is something about which I’m passionate.” – Jacek Spendel (AIPES 08, CSF 09)
During his time in Washington, Spendel interned at Eastman Kodak Public Affairs Department where he worked closely with the department’s director. According to Spendel, his supervisor was a true mentor, sending him to Congress to attend hearings and conferences. “You can imagine how great of an experience that was for a student from Poland! I’m very thankful for that opportunity and am still in touch with my boss,” said Spendel.
Upon entering the workforce, Spendel hit the ground running. He was quickly hired by the Globalization Institute, a leading Polish think tank. After two and a half years, he decided to go out on his own and established the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation, which is an education institution that promotes the ideas of freedom in Poland. “Our flagship project is the Polish-American Leadership Academy, a project for the next generation of leaders who will shape the country according to the principles of a free society,” said Spendel.
Spendel’s time at TFAS continues to influence his career. “As director of the Polish-American Leadership Academy, I have the opportunity to promote TFAS programs, especially AIPES. I worked to form a partnership between TFAS and the Academy, and that is already starting to pay off,” said Spendel. “One of the prizes for our top graduates is a scholarship to attend AIPES.”
Spendel says he’s thankful for all he’s learned at TFAS programs. He credits TFAS for providing him with the motivation and inspiration that led to his decision to begin his doctoral studies in political philosophy and for helping him in his career. “I can truly say that without my experiences at TFAS, I would not be in the place where I am now,” he said.