The May 3rd Constitution: Its Genesis, Meaning and Legacy – A talk by Dr. Elizabeth Zechenter and Marian Kornilowicz, Esq.

May 3, 2022, 1 PM Et

The May 3rd Constitution: Its Genesis, Meaning and Legacy - A talk by Dr. Elizabeth Zechenter and Marian Kornilowicz, Esq.

The talk was organized in cooperation with Polish Cultural Institute New York and was presented as part of the celebration of the Polish Heritage Days.

Irish statesman Edmund Burke called it “the noblest benefit received by any nation at any time.” Scholars refer to it as the world’s second modern national Constitution after the¬†United States Constitution¬†of 1789 and the first Constitution of this type in Europe. In Poland, it is viewed as a¬†national symbol¬†and the culmination of all that was good and enlightened in¬†Polish history¬†and¬†culture. The May 3 anniversary of its adoption has been observed as Poland’s most important¬†civil holiday¬†since¬†Poland regained independence¬†in 1918.

In the webinar, “May 3rd Constitution,” international attorney, social scientist, and academic researcher Dr. Elizabeth Zechenter and Attorney Marian Kornilowicz discuss the genesis of the Constitution, its merits, and the challenges it faced. They share their reflections on the achievements of the Constitution, its role in the history of Poland, and the preservation of the Polish nation under the partition. They also showcase how this document and enlightened Polish legal thought contributed to developing modern democratic traditions in the Western world.


Watch the webinar recording HERE. 

Elizabeth M. Zechenter¬†is a US-trained international attorney, social scientist, academic researcher, and public speaker holding several degrees advanced: J.D. (international law), M.A. (history), and Ph.D. (evolutionary anthropology). Currently, she is a visiting scholar at Emory University.

She was born in Poland and educated mostly in the U.S although she began her education at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. ¬†After obtaining her J.D., she worked on international transactions at¬†Hogan Lovells¬†in Washington DC. After relocating to Philadelphia, she joined¬†Morgan Lewis LLP¬† until joining¬†GSK’s International Legal Operations, where she served in a variety of senior roles, among them Assistant General Counsel, and was responsible for international legal operations starting in Asia, later Latin America, and finally worldwide.

She is an author of several articles (both scientific and popular ones) and a frequent public speaker. Dr. Zechenter has taught international law and human rights law courses at the Georgetown University Law Center as well as various social science courses at UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, Temple, and Rutgers University.

She has served as an associate editor of the¬†International Law Journal of Georgetown University Law Center¬†and worked as a summer clerk to Judge Sloviter, Chief Judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.¬†¬†¬†MORE


Marian A. Kornilowicz, Esq.¬†is a partner of Cohen, Seglias, Pallas, Greenhall & Furman, P.C. in Philadelphia, where he is Chair of the Firm’s Business Practice Group. His practice is concentrated on the representation of clients in varied business transactions and real estate matters. Prior to joining Cohen Seglias, he was a partner at a boutique firm focused on the representation of businesses in varied commercial litigation and transactional matters.

He holds degrees from Suffolk University Law School and The University of Pennsylvania Law School as well as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Jagiellonian University, which he attended under a grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Marian has taught Law and Human Rights at Rowan University and lectured paralegals on residential real estate law. He is fluent in Polish, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kosciuszko Foundation, and holds leadership positions in various other Polish organizations.

His father graduated from Officer Candidate School in 1939 and fought in the September Campaign, the Middle East, and the Italian Campaign. His mother was deported with her family to the Soviet Union, transported to Iran, and settled in Palestine until 1947. His parents met in London and emigrated to the United States in 1953.

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