Wroclaw 2014 – Program Information

Download Wroclaw program information in PDF

Institute Organizers and Staff

The Democracy & Diversity Institute is co-organized by the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) at The New School for Social Research in New York City and the International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education (IISCE) at the University of Lower Silesia, in Wroclaw.

Elzbieta Matynia, Director, TCDS, The New School for Social Research

Ula Kłobuszewska, Local Program Coordinator, International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education (IISCE) at the University of Lower Silesia, Poland
E-mail: iisce@dsw.edu.pl
Tel: +48 (71) 358 2758 (IISCE office)

 Adrian Totten, TCDS Program Coordinator
E-mail: tcds@newschool.edu
Tel: +1 (212) 229 5580 ext. 3136 (TCDS office)

 Olga Knizhnik, TCDS Program Associate

Accommodation in Wroclaw

THE PARK HOTEL (English name)
Hotel Państwowej Inspekcji Pracy (Polish name)
ul. M. Kopernika 9 (near Hala Stulecia or Centennial Hall in Szczytnicki Park)
51-622 Wroclaw
Tel: +48 (71) 371 0400

The Institute participants will be housed in The Park Hotel of the Osrodek Szkolenia Panstwowej Inspekcji Pracy conference center (OSPIP) conveniently located amidst the beautiful Szczytnicki Park about a 30-40 minute walk to the city historical center and close to the iconic Centennial Hall. The Hotel’s unique building, which was designed in 1929 by the prominent modernist architect Hans Scharoun (1893-1972), features the principle of organic architecture promoting harmony between human habitation and the natural world. To see pictures of the building and for more information about the Park Hotel please visit its website at http://www.en.ospip.pl/CMS/english/hotel.html .

The participants will share double and triple rooms in the modernist residence and classes will be held in the next-door conference center. We will assign the participants to rooms, and would prefer that you do not change these arrangements privately.

Unfortunately, we are not able to arrange additional nights of accommodation at the Park Hotel. If you will be staying in Wroclaw before July 3 (first night of accommodation) or after July 18 (last night of accommodation), you are responsible for your own arrangements. Please refer to the travel tips for ideas about where to stay.

Opening & Closing Receptions

There will be a welcoming reception to launch the Institute at the Park Hotel on the evening of Thursday, July 3. Please try to arrange your travel to arrive during the day on July 3 so you will have time to settle in and attend the evening reception.

There will be a closing reception on Friday, July 18; details will be announced. Participants must check out of the hotel on Saturday, July 19.


Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the Park Hotel. The restaurant will provide vegetarian meals but please let us know if you have any other dietary concerns. At each lunch, you will be asked whether or not you want a vegetarian meal. In Polish, “vegetarian” is “wegetarianin” (noun).

We will have a few dinners together (including the opening and closing receptions and scheduled evening events), but participants will be on their own for the rest. There are a number of dining options around the hotel and in Wroclaw’s city center.

Course Schedule

Upon your arrival in Wroclaw, we will provide you with the final version of the class schedule outlining the courses and the times they are offered, as well as the evening sessions, which are considered a mandatory requirement of the program. All classes will take place in the conference center adjacent to the hotel.

Course Readers

Course readers will be available electronically via Dropbox; as soon as they are available we will send an email with information on how to access the readings.

Extracurricular Activities

We have organized several tours to acquaint you with Wroclaw’s culture and history, including a walking tour of Wroclaw, where we will explore the city’s architectural and historical landmarks such as the modernist masterpiece Centennial Hall, the famous Panorama Racławicka, and the City Hall; a guided tour of Lower Silesia, including the Gross-Rosen Nazi Concentration Camp; and a boat tour of Wroclaw. Additionally, there will be several evening events with artists and intellectuals from the region.  


Poland’s currency is the złoty (on May 7, 2014, 3.01 PLN for $1). There are numerous ATMs throughout the city, as well as exchange bureaus and banks. Most places will accept major credit cards. In general, we recommend using your ATM card for the best exchange rates and to avoid paying exchange fees. Please be sure to inform your bank and credit card company that you will be traveling to Poland so that they do not freeze your account. 

Laundry Facilities

There is only one washing machine available in the hotel, but no dryer. We will have limited hours when we can use it and must be considerate of others. The key for the laundry room and a sign-in sheet for times will be available at the front desk. The TCDS staff will provide the washing powder.


You are responsible for all your telephone costs. Apart from phones in the hotel rooms (which have reasonable international rates), you can use public pay phones. Phone cards are easy to purchase in convenience stores. If your cell phone allows to change a SIM card, you can also buy a Polish SIM card (about 5 zloty).  

Internet Access

The Park Hotel offers free wireless Internet connection in the rooms and in the common area.

Please note that the Internet connection is set up for regular e-mail traffic and will not handle downloads of huge audio or video files. We would like to ask everyone to be mindful of that so that all participants can enjoy Internet access without interruptions.

Communication via Email and facebook

All information about upcoming events and reminders will be posted on the bulletin board located next to the dining room and will also be distributed via email. To facilitate sharing of information within the group, we encourage you to join a facebook group that will consist of the students and the junior staff members of this year’s Institute. Please befriend TCDS account ‘Joburg Wroclaw’ at https://www.facebook.com/joburg.wroclaw to be invited to join the group.

Plugging in

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Poland are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: “Type C” Europlug (2 parallel prongs) and “Type E” (2 parallel prongs with a female earth connector). If your appliance’s plug doesn’t match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. You can purchase adapters at http://international-electrical-supplies.com/poland-plug-adapters.html, http://www.110220volts.com/Poland-Plug-Adapter-Kit.html or specialty stores.

Personal Safety

Wroclaw has a relatively low crime level but you are advised to take all the normal precautions when exploring the city. Do not carry large amounts of cash or display cameras or valuables.

Getting Around

Wroclaw is a very user-friendly city for tourists. The Park Hotel is on several bus and tram lines, which run into the center of Wroclaw frequently; it is also about a 30-40 minute walk to the city center. Taxis are another option but can be expensive and traffic is often slow.

Discounts with ISIC

We recommend participants to obtain an international ID card as it provides 50% off public transportation and discounts at museums and other attractions. Please visit ISIC website (http://www.isic.org) for more information.

What to Bring

You should plan to bring some spending money for your time in Wroclaw. The program fee covers your accommodation, breakfast, and lunch. However, you will be responsible for most of your dinners, as well as the costs of your transportation within Wroclaw (with the exception of the tours), all telephone calls, medical expenses, entertainment, and other extraneous expenses that you may incur during the period of the Institute.

The weather in Poland can be unpredictable in the summer, so be sure to bring summer clothes, as well as some warmer clothes for evenings and drops in the temperature. Rain is also not out of the question, so you might want to bring an umbrella and/or rain jacket. While the Institute (and Poland) are quite casual, we usually do encourage people to dress up for the closing reception, so bring something nice to wear.

The hotel is located in a park with running paths, so be sure to bring your exercise gear if you are so inclined.

While the park surrounding the hotel provides for a relaxing refuge from the hustle of the city, it also is a natural environment for mosquitoes. We strongly recommend bringing a spray against mosquitoes/bugs.