The Lew Sapieha Award is under the honorary patronage of the Office of the Polish President. The award was established on the initiative of the Centre for East European Studies of the University of Warsaw and the College of Eastern Europe in Wrocław. In addition, it is is supported by the University of Warsaw, the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, the University of Wrocław and the University of Białystok.
The main conception behind the award is that laureates of the award give lectures during the academic year at various universities. There they are offered good living and working conditions, and they are able to give lectures on subjects connected to the history and contemporaneity of Belarus, thereby presenting Polish students with the opportunity to become more familiar with Belarusian issues. Simultaneously, laureates have the opportunity to realize their own academic and archival research ambitions through access to the largest academic libraries in Poland.
The aim of the award is to recognize and honor Belarusian citizens for their achievements in the shaping and development of civil society in Belarus and in building an independent and democratic Belarus; open to Europe and invoking the finest historical traditions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The award ceremony takes place each year at the University of Warsaw on April 4, the birthday of the award’s patron – Lew Sapieha, Court Secretary to King Stefan Batory, as well as Grand Chancellor and Great Hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.