The Polish University Abroad in London

The Polish University Abroad in London
Our Mission and tasks

Our mission is to serve all generations of Poles who, outside their mother country or the land of their forebears, wish to continue their academic studies, broaden their knowledge of the contemporary world and maintain contact with Polish science and culture.

„…PUNO has a special symbolic and emotional significance for me: it stood out for several decades as the only authentically free expression of Poland’s intellectual tradition. Your voice was a constant reminder that free thought is the essential component of political freedom. And I also know how much effort and sacrifice were required to keep PUNO alive so that its voice would be heard. I am honoured now to be part of you, knowing as I do now how much Poland owes to PUNO…”

Prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski 2005
Acceptance speech, Ph.D. honoris causa

Our tasks:

  1. Building scientific and cultural bridges between academic communities of the Polish Diaspora, Poland and the UK.
  2. Furthering academic and cultural cooperation of ethnic minorities with institutions in their country of settlement.
  3. Enabling persons of limited finacial means to take the fullest advantage of PUNO’s teaching and research programmes.

Taught Courses

Post-graduate studies:
One- or two-year postgraduate courses for students with at least a Bachelor’s degree. We offer:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sexual Health and Social Studies
  • Mediations and Negotiations
  • Teaching Polish Language and Culture

Ph.D. seminars:
These comprise mixed aged groups and various disciplines: psychology, sociology, pedagogy, history, Polish language and literature, philosophy, international relations and cultural studies.

Lecture cycles and individual open talks:
These focus mainly on Polish science and culture, and their European and world contexts. Covering a wide range of subjects, they are often delivered by prominent academics from Poland.

University of the Third Age and of Other Ages:
PUNO subscribes to the European Lifelong Learning Programme. Its three-year courses range from international relations, contemporary history, philosophy, sociology, literature and the arts to applied psychology, modern town planning, architecture and public art in contemporary Europe.

Course in Polish Culture:
This can be attended, free of charge, by members of all generations who wish to maintain contact with Polish science and culture. The most frequent subject area of lectures in the last three years was Polish-British relations.


Professors from Polish universities at PUNO

Including: Prof. Dr. hab. Władysław Miodunka, Jagiellonian University; Prof. Dr. hab. Maria Beisert, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan; Prof. Magdalena Sroda, Warsaw University; Prof. Dr. hab. Ewa Lewandowska-Tarasiuk, Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Pedagogy, Warsaw.


Young researchers and lecturers

Including: Dr. Joanna Pyłat (contemporary history, research on Polish migration), Prof. Michael Fleming (political sciences, twentieth century history), Dr. Katarzyna Zechenter (Polish philology, literary studies).


Outstanding academics, renowned professors in the annals of PUNO

Including: co-founder, first rector, historian Oskar Halecki; dean of the Law Faculty, lawyer, social reformer Bolesław Hełczyński; rector of PUNO, archeologist Prof. Tadeusz Sulimirski. Advisers to the academic team have also included members of the military, among them General Prof. Dr. hab. Marian Kukiel, historian, Chair of Modern History, PUNO.


55 honorary doctorates awarded since 1969

The recipients have included outstanding professors, politicians, social reformers, members of the Church, writers and two Nobel prize-winners. 48 of them are Poles or persons with Polish roots – among them Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (2005), immunologist, vice-chancellor University of Cambridge; Prof. Karol Sikora (2008), oncologist; Prof. Jack Lohman (2009), director, Museum of London.


Research programmes

Examples of current projects:

  • Polish education abroad (3 year programme)
  • Dysfunction in the family and the system of resocialisation in Poland and Great Britain
  • Multiculturalism in the UK and the world. Indian and Polish immigration – a comparative study
  • Knowledge and experience in the sexual life of young Polish economic immigrants in Great Britain
  • Migration and adaptation of Polish youth in EU countries between 2004 and 2012
  • A historical perspective of linguistic changes among Polish immigrants settled in Britain after World War II and the new emigration after 2004
  • The organisation and activity of the Friends of Poland charity, 1982 – 2009

Psychological counselling, psychotherapy, social work, help in cases of individual problems

Among the most recent initiatives undertaken jointly by the Centre for Sexual Health and the Academic Society of Students and Graduates of PUNO was the drafting and distribution of three leaflets targeted at different age groups entitled ‘Healthy Loving’, as part of a campaign of assistance for émigrés, linked with World AIDS Day.


PUNO Open Days

These events offer the Polish community a chance to participate at workshops on psychological topics, while for teachers there are seminars on active methods of teaching Polish as a foreign language, history, geography and social studies.


Examples of recent conferences

  • EuroEmigranci.PL – New migrations from Poland: psychological, sociological and cultural perspectives (2013).
  • The Presidents and Governments of the Polish Republic in Exile in the struggle for an independent Poland in the years 1939-1990 (2011).

The first in a series of PUNO April Conferences dedicated to the memory of the last President of the Polish Republic in Exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski, who died in the Smolensk air disaster on 10 April 2010.

  • Cross-cultural bridges – the achievements of the young Polish generation in British universities (2011)
  • Young Polish emigration – a subject of psychological and sociological research (2010)

Participants of the latter two conferences included young Polish psychologists resident in the British Isles, psychologists from Poland and British psychologists. Topics included the return of Polish migrants to Poland after 2004, processes of acculturation of Polish immigrants in British society, and migrations in the context of a multicultural society.

Conference output is recorded in book publications in Polish or English, e.g.:

  • Rola dawnej i nowej emigracji polskiej w warunkach Unii Europejskiej (Kraków 2006)
  • General Władysław Anders soldier and leader of the free Poles in exile (London 2008)
  • Wkład wychodźstwa polskiego w naukę i kulturę Wielkiej Brytanii (Kraków 2010)