Emeritus Fellow Zbigniew Pelczyskli Celebrates 90th Birthday

February 26th, 201612:49 pm @



Dr. Pelczynski cuts his birthday cake – 90 years young!

Dr. Pelczynski cuts his birthday cake – 90 years young!

Pembroke College Emeritus Fellow Zbigniew “Zbyszek” Pelczynski OBE celebrated his 90th birthday at a black-tie dinner hosted by Master Lynne Brindley in College on December 4.

Pelczynski, Pembroke’s storied politics professor from 1957 to 1992, was tutor to scores of Americans, including former president Bill Clinton.

Moira Bannister, Roger Bannister,Eliz Frazer  (1)

Moira ad Roger Bannister, Elizabeth Frazer

Lynne Brindley and ZAP (1)

Master Lynne Brindley toasts Dr. Pelczynski











Over 40 guests attended the dinner party, including the Polish ambassador to the UK, Witold Sobków, two former Pembroke Masters, Sir Roger Bannister and Giles Henderson, and Zbyszek’s three children, daughters Wanda and Ton-Ton, and son Jan.

Postprandial appreciations were provided by Lynne, Amb. Sobków, and Prof. Elizabeth Frazer, a former student of Zbyszek and current chair of the Oxford University Politics Department.

Pelczynski has led a remarkable life. As a young man he fought in the Polish resistance against the Nazi’s in Warsaw.

(To listen to an interview Zbyszek gave to the BBC on his experiences as a member of the Polish Underground during World War II, click here)

As an academic, he became an internationally renowned Hegelian scholar, and widely sought after politics tutor.

ZAP Teaching

After he retired from teaching at Pembroke, Pelczynski served as an advisor to the Polish government in shepherding democracy back to his native country.

“ZAP” as he is known to many, led the efforts to provide opportunities for qualified scholars from Poland and other post-communist countries to study at British universities, especially at Oxford and Cambridge.

After the demise of communism in Poland, he established the School for Young Leaders in Warsaw which has provided practical training in politics and public administration to scores of current and former Polish public servants and politicians.

ZAP continues to live in his beloved 18th century farmhouse in Barton-on-the-Heath in the Cotswolds outside of Oxford which he and his late wife, Denise, purchased in 1970.

ZAP Life Remembered

Zbigniew Pelczynski: A Life Remembered — “ZAP”’s biography by David McAvoy