I was born in Warsaw (Poland) at the end of the Second World War. During my school years my friends gave me a nickname “Comet”, as I used to appear and disappear with a cosmic speed (my wife claims that this is still one of my major characteristics.) In 1960 I entered University of Warsaw, majoring in psychology (as rebellion against my parents who wanted me to be at least a lawyer).
Thanks to my job as a guide at the Student Travel Agency (I spoke English, Russian and German), I got a chance to travel across Europe and beyond. After getting Master Degree in psychology I was offered a position of an assistant professor at the University of Warsaw. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Warsaw in 1979.
At the age of 29, I married Dr. Wilhelmina Roginska, a long-time friend and university classmate, and we moved to Krakow to teach at the Jagiellonian University. After having our first two daughters (Marta and Alicja) we moved to Silesia to teach at the University of Katowice. Having specialization in clinical psychology, I was not only teaching, but also working part time as a clinical psychologist, collaborating with various mental health institutions. Soon after our third child, Zofia, was born, our second daughter Alicja died in a tragic accident. Trying to deal with grief, we moved to another city. Despite of having careers in a full gear, we decided to have another child. At the age of 40 for each of us as parents, our fourth daughter Magdalena was brought to the world.
In attempts to get an international exposure, I began traveling throughout Europe, delivering lectures and seminars. My wife was a frequent companion as an independent scholar and presenter. As a result of these visits, the idea of immigrating to the US emerged. A couple of years later, in 1990, this plan became reality. I received an invitation from Arizona State University to teach summer classes, and my wife got an offer to teach at ASU West. After the stressful first years of adapting to the new culture and enormously hard work to catch up to the “American standard” in various areas of life, we found eventually both a supporting community and a true home in the new land, while still maintaining close connections with our European roots. For more than 10 years I had a position of an Associate Professor at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology so we were visiting Poland at least once a year.
Our oldest daughter, Marta graduated from ASU, has received Ph.D. in economics at Berkeley, and was offered a position of an Assistant Professor at the Marketing Department, Harvard Business School. After she got married she moved to Washington DC where she works as a leader of a research team at FDA. Currently she works for the government as a Chief Executive Health Economist. Our middle daughter, Zofia received Ph.D. in organic chemistry from ASU, worked for Ventana (a Roche company) as a scientist and coordinator of marketing. In 2015 she created her own company Estain promoting awareness about cancer through very special typ of apparels. The “baby-daughter” Magdalena is a photographer, lives in Los Angeles, and travels all around the world making photos and videos..
Before coming to the US my wife was sort of a celebrity in Poland. She was the youngest in the country psychology professor, then the youngest Director of the Psychology Institute, finally the youngest vice president of a big university. She published numerous books in Poland (the last two, Psychology of Social Life and Different Faces of Globalization were bestsellers and were included as required readings for psychology students across the country. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, her achievements in Poland were not really recognized here in USA. Despite of the fact that her credentials were dramatically higher that those of many tenured professors, she never got a tenured position, teaching instead as a senior lecturer at ASU West.
In 1992 I received an opportunity to work as a counselor at St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa, where I created a community based Counseling Center. I served as a director of this Center till the year 2003. Over the period of these 10 years I facilitated numerous retreats and workshops and consulted a variety of community programs. At that time I began to believe that solutions for social problems are first of all in strong communities! I started to teach community psychology at ASU, and this course became my favorite one. In recognition of my efforts in this area the Association of Psychology with the Outstanding Educator 2009 award recognized me. At that time I also completed my training as a Life and Retirement coach, and I started to organize my private coaching practice.
At certain point of my community involvement I wanted to share my own community experience with others and also learn something from them. I started to participate in numerous international conferences. This allowed me to renew my old global connections, and present as a guest lecturer and motivational speaker to diversified audiences throughout Europe, North/South America and Australia.
As a result of participation in the First International Conference on Community Psychology in Puerto Rico in 2008, with support of ASU and in collaboration with my colleagues from Poland, England, Italy and Canada, I created a social internet network: the University-Community for Social Action Research. Over the years the network has grown up to 1200 members in 69 countries and has been supported by numerous international organizations. The mission of the network was to prepare community leaders to effective addressing of the UN Millennium development goals by creating for them various educational opportunities.
UCP-SARnet has been promoting numerous projects in China, India and some African countries and this opened another chain of travels. During last three years I paid several visits to China and India, I also visited Kenya and Cameroon. These experiences allowed me to deepen global perspective on local community issues and to better understand a need for global collaboration in search for solutions of social problems of our times. Observing social relations in so many different cultures gave me also a new perspective on aging and the role of elderly in the society.
In March 2014 I become a coordinator of a new project: the Global Network for Sustainable Development (GNSD), an internet hub aiming to facilitate collaboration between governments, universities, corporate business and community organizations involved in realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (see http://gnsd.org).
Since then I discussed potential for collaboration on this project with such organizations as Rotary International, Rotary Clubs in Phoenix (USA), Kathmandu (Nepal), New Delhi (India) and Singapore, Center for Environmental Education in India. The project was presented at the International Conference on Technology, Environment and Sustainable Development organized by Indian Institute for Informational Technology and Management in Gwalior (India) in February 2014, Wharton Social Impact Conference in San Francisco in March 2014, and at the International Conference on Education, Culture and Society (Singapore) in June 2014.
In November 2014 together with my former teaching assistant Rajesh Jangareddy, we registered a new organization Sustainability Transition Consulting, LLC (see: http://sustrancon.org) that is targeting implementation of the concepts of smart city and smart school.
For years we have been planning with my wife to spend our retirement reconnecting with old friends around the world and enjoying the benefits of being parents of three daughters and grandparents of - hopefully – numerous grandchildren. Unfortunately, in 2009 my wife got a massive stroke that she barely survived. Although the rehabilitation made miracles, she had to retire and her vital energy has been reduced to a small percentage of what she had before. This brought a dramatic change to organization of our life and brought to it a new dimension – the role of caregivers. I must admit here that our daughters have passed this test with the highest possible score!
I decided to publish on this website this rather long and personal (however still not full) description of my life to give you a better idea about what experiences have shaped my knowledge about life transitions. This year we celebrated 48 anniversary of our marriage and I turn 74. In my family, both on the side of my mother and my father, for four generations no one died before 90, and all were intellectually sharp till the last moment. That means that if I have not messed up something with my health, I may have at least 15 more years to go!