3.05.2022 Events, News

The Constitution of May 3rd. It’s genesis, meaning, and legacy.

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

RSVP Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at 1 PM ET

The Constitution of May 3rd, 1791 is considered one of the essential achievements in the history of Poland, even though its life was prematurely shortened by the final partition of Poland, which erased its ability to grow and evolve.

May 3rd Constitution is considered to be the first modern Constitution of this type in Europe. It is only a few years older than the world’s first and oldest modern Constitution, namely the Constitution of the United States, which had time to grow and has significantly evolved over the last 200 years of jurisprudence.

The presented seminar will be organized as follows: 

  1. First, the origins of the May 3rd Constitution will be discussed; an emphasis will be put on how it came about, and how it fits into the history of Poland.
  2. Secondly, a few selected articles of the May 3rd Constitution will be presented showcasing their merits and their problems.
  3. Finally, the speakers will share their reflections on the achievements of the Constitution, its role in the history of Poland, and in the preservation of the Polish nation under the partition. They will showcase how this document and enlightened Polish legal thought contributed into the development of modern democratic traditions in the Western world.    

Dr. 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. 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.


The lecture is organized by the Kosciuszko Foundation in cooperation with Polish Cultural Institute New York. It is presented as part of the celebration of the Polish Heritage Days.

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