Professor Grzegorz Kołodko’s 75th birthday celebration

dwóch mężczyzn podaje sobie ręce

On 1 February 2024, the Senate Hall of the SGH Warsaw School of Economics hosted the celebration of the 75th birthday of Prof. Grzegorz Kołodko, one of the main creators of Polish economic reforms, professor of economic sciences, and university lecturer, who worked at SGPiS/SGH from 1975 to 2001.

SGH Rector dr hab. Piotr Wachowiak, prof. SGH, and Vice-Rector for Development dr hab. Roman Sobiecki, prof. SGH, spoke at the ceremony.

“I am very pleased that we celebrated the 75th birthday of our alumnus, Professor Grzegorz Kołodko. During the meeting, we reminisced about the Professor’s student days. I prepared a test on the knowledge of his student days, and the Professor passed with a very good grade. Professor Kołodko is one of the leading Polish economists. For our Alma Mater, this is an honour”, Rector Piotr Wachowiak told “Gazeta SGH – życie uczelni ("Gazeta SGH – The Life of the University)”.

“From 1968, for 33 years, Prof. Grzegorz Kołodko had been associated with the SGH Warsaw School of Economics (known as the Central School of Planning and Statistics in Warsaw until 1991). First as a student, then as a doctoral student and employee. Here, he obtained all his academic degrees – doctorate and post-doctoral degree of doktor habilitowany – as well as the title of professor. Currently, although not employed at the SGH, he is a regular contributor to the ‘Business Administration Quarterly’, published by the SGH’s Collegium of Business Administration. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the managing editor of this magazine is Mrs. Alicja Kołodko – the wife of Professor Kołodko”, pointed out Vice-Rector Roman Sobiecki in an interview with “Gazeta SGH – The Life of the University”.

“Professor Kołodko is an exceptional man, an outstanding scientist, a high-class economic politician, a great friend. He is characterized by the endurance of the guiding idea which he follows both in his scientific work and his activities as an economic politician, as well as in his private life. This thrust can be put into words as follows: among the objects of knowledge, the most important thing for a person is another person”, prof. Sobiecki stressed. 

He then added that prof. Kołodko had held the position of Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance in four governments: that of Waldemar Pawlak, Józef Oleksy, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Leszek Miller. 

“He is the author of the Strategy for Poland – a medium-term program of structural reforms and social and economic development, which he articulated in 10 points and announced at the Polish Sejm in 1994. As he emphasized in his speech at the time, the Strategy for Poland was not a set of promises, a master plan, or a list of ideological assumptions. It was to be a set of ways to solve the most difficult problems in the Polish economy and a contribution to leading a social debate in which various groups of Polish society would have a voice. Today, after 30 years, it can be said that never after has anyone, that is, any government, formulated such a comprehensive document that could be a guidepost for Poland’s social and economic development”, prof. Sobiecki noted.

“The announcement of the Strategy for Poland arguably had an important impact on Poland’s admission to the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – in 1996. And this is the main merit of Professor Grzegorz Kołodko.

Professor Grzegorz Kołodko is a worldwide scientific authority figure. He is the author and editor of 60 books and numerous articles and papers published in 28 languages, including Chinese. The scale of his contribution to and impact on world science is evidenced by the fact that he is the most cited Polish economist in the world (H-index of 45). He is also a member of, among others, the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.

As a former student of Professor Kołodko, and later a colleague, I can say that he had a very good relationship with students. He was also eager to support the development of his younger colleagues. For this, on the occasion of your 75th birthday, you deserve a huge word of congratulations and thanks. At the same time, we wish you continued scientific activity and participation in socio-political life, as well as health and prosperity in your personal life.”

Among other gifts, prof. Kołodko received a copy of his student records.

During the ceremony, the jubilarian was accompanied by his wife, Alicja Kołodko, the long-time managing editor of the “Business Administration Quarterly”.

Many guests, university officials and faculty were present at the celebration.

Grzegorz Kołodko graduated from the Central School of Planning and Statistics in 1972, received his doctorate in 1976 (having defended a dissertation entitled “Fluctuations in the Rate of Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of Poland”), and in 1984, on the basis of his academic achievements and his work entitled “Development Objectives and Economic Macro-Proportionality”, he received a post-doctoral degree of doktor habilitowany. Grzegorz Kołodko received the title of Professor of Economic Sciences in 1988.

Prof. Kołodko is one of the main architects of Polish economic reforms; thanks to his active role, Poland joined the OECD in 1996. The Professor also played an important role in Poland’s accession to the European Union.
Participant in the Round Table talks; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in 1994–1997 and 2002–2003.
He is the author of the new pragmatism – a concept of economics based on the imperative of harmonious social and economic development.

Founder and director of the TIGER Research Center for Transformation, Integration and Globalization at the Kozminski University. He is currently an employee of the Kozminski University’s Department of Economics.
Expert and consultant to international organizations and member of program boards of scientific periodicals around the world; honorary doctor and honorary professor at 11 foreign universities. He is the author of 60 books and numerous scientific papers, including more than 200 published in English.

He has given lectures and seminars on macroeconomics, economic policy, political economy of globalization, economics of political transition and public finance at the SGH and the Kozminski University, as well as at foreign universities, including in the US and China.

He has won multiple awards from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Economic Society in the fields of scientific research and teaching. Nominated by “Euromoney” as Best Finance Minister of Central and Eastern Europe in 1996. For his contributions to the transformation and development of the Polish economy, he received the Commandery of the Order of Polonia Restituta from the President of Poland in 1997.

Privately, a traveller who has visited some 170 countries. A marathon runner, he has completed dozens of runs on five continents. A lover of nature, photography and classical music.

Query: Estera Flieger