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The first mention of Walesa's dissident activity goes back to 1968, when he have encouraged his fellow workers in the Shipyard to boycott official rallies condemning students' strikes. From that time he started to be increasingly active in social matters.
He was one of the main instigators of the August protest in 1980. His personal stand, tenacious negotiations, and struggling for the striker's demands, support and trust that he enjoyed on the part of the strike participators throughout Poland, contributed to creating the sense of solidarity and community among Poles, which was institutionally expressed with the establishment of the Free Independent Trade Union "Solidarity." 
The totalitarian regime reacted to all those developments by introducing martial law on December 13, 1981. Lech Walesa was among the first individuals to be interned. 
Despite fabricated rumours slandering his person, despite continuous harassment by the repression services of Communist Poland, he did not give in. His struggle was appreciated both within Poland and outside the country, with Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to him in 1983.
On 22nd December 1990, Lech Walesa became the first democratically elected president of Poland. 
In 1995, he founded The Lech Walesa Institute, whose mission is to support democracy and local governments in Poland and throughout the world.

In 2013, Lech Walesa was a speaker at the plenary conference "Towards a new Global Order" (May, 2nd).