Janusz Korczak

Korczak Award Ceremony

Miry Hall, Conservatorium of Ghent/School of Arts (Hoogpoort 64, 9000 Ghent)
23/11/12

This year, Poland is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the setting up of The Orphans’ Home and the 70 years which have elapsed since the death of Janusz KORCZAK. To mark this occasion, NGO Janusz Korczak Vlaanderen has joined forces with the Polish Institute– Cultural Service of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Brussels in order to organise a competition for which the first prize amounts to 10,000 €. It will reward whichever Flemish institution that can put forward the most relevant educational project in line with Janusz Korczak’s way of thinking. In order to pay tribute to the spirit of Korczak, the organisers of the competition insisted on children being part of the panel of judges, which also features pedagogues, members of the NGO Janusz Korczak Vlaanderen and the ambassador of the Republic of Poland, His Excellency Artur Harazim.

+++ More information on the Dutch part of our website.

>>> Miry Hall, Conservatorium of Ghent/School of Arts (Hoogpoort 64, 9000 Ghent)
>>> 23 November 2012, 19:30
>>> Free

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Who was Janusz Korczak?

Janusz Korczak – whose real name was Henryk Golszmidt – was an eminent doctor, pedagogue, publicist, writer and social activist born in Warsaw in 1878 (or 1879) into a Polish-Jewish family.
He studied medicine in Poland and completed his studies in Switzerland, Germany, France and England. He played an active part in the social initiatives put in place in Warsaw, in particular in associations such as the Orphans’ Aid Society, the Summer Camp Society or the Warsaw Hygiene Society. Very early, he decided to dedicate his life to children and created his own pedagogical method which consisted of eliminating all forms of violence towards children, whether they be of a physical, verbal or hierarchical nature, creating inter-generational interaction and applying the unreserved right of the child to respect. Indeed, Janusz Korczak claimed that children must be treated like adults, taking the view that a child knows his own needs, wants and emotions and has the right to have his own opinion and his own possessions.
In 1912, Janusz Korczak became the director of The Orphans’ Home (Dom Sierot) which he had founded the same year in Warsaw. He also worked with the boarding school Our House (Nasz Dom). In each of these institutions, he organised a kind of children’s’ republic, which guaranteed children’s rights and set out their obligations towards the community. A parliament was thus set up, as well as a specific legal system, rules of procedure and a newspaper in which the children were able to express their opinions. During the Second World War, the Orphans’ Home was transferred to the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak’s main concern was the survival of his residents. Deported with the children he refused to leave, he died with his protégés on 6 September 1942 in a Nazi death camp in Treblinka.
Janusz Korczak is viewed as the precursor to a completely unprecedented movement in contemporary pedagogy. Without a shadow of a doubt, his work influenced the thinking which led to the signing of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ (1959) and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child’ adopted by the UN in 1989. He also helped create the job of a spokesperson for children’s rights in several countries in the world.

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