Report by Bozena Kaminski, VP for Polish Affairs
The Fourth (IV) Meeting of World Polonia, which was held from 8/24/12 – 8/26/12 in Warsaw and in Pułtusk, Poland proved to be a great success for all of Polonia. A total of 266 delegates from 44 countries attended three (3) days of meetings and after all of the discussions, in a general session the delegates voted on various proposed Resolutions which were prepared by the five (5) committees that were formed through prior extensive preparations and meetings of the organizing group appointed one year before of which I was a member. The final Resolutions and declarations can be found on the following website link (in Polish):
The last gathering and “Meeting of World Polonia” occurred in 2007, at that time, the meeting was organized by “Wspolnota Polska.” This time, the organizers were both, “Wspólnota Polska” and the Ministry of Polish Foreign Affairs (“MSZ”). I was honored to have been chosen by the organizing committee to be one of its organizing members, who beginning in 2010 held a number of organizing meetings in Warsaw, Poland and in Wilno, Lithuania. I flew a number of times to Poland and Lithuania where the Committee, with great help of Wspolnota Polska representatives, worked and prepared each item and each event of the 2012 World Polonia Meeting.
The United States delegation was given the largest number of delegates. I personally did not select the U.S. delegates. As indicated in my prior report on that subject, I presented the Organizing Committee’s allotment of U.S. delegates to the PAC Executive Board who approved the U.S. delegates. Our delegation was well represented by our President Frank Spula and by other notables, including Vice President Susanne Lotarski, who distinguished herself well many times during various panel and general group discussions.
The five major topics and the resolutions approved after the meetings concerned:
- Relationship of Polonia with the Home Country and Promotion of Poland, on which I was vice-chair of the committee. The Committee produced five (5) Resolutions which were adopted and can be read on the above link;
- Polish Education Outside of Poland Committee adopted six Resolutions which are also found in that link above;
- Religious Matters of Polonia Outside of Poland adopted two resolution calling for cooperation and assistance as stated in the link;
- Defending Polish Good Name Outside of Poland adopted five Resolution points;
- Matters involving the Young Polonia adopted five points.
That last topic was also emphasized by Senate Marshal Bogdan Borusiewicz at a reception given at the Senate building, where Marshal Borusiewicz stated that Polonia organizations must include more youth and that he acknowledged that this trend already seems to be catching on, in that Polonia now has in its ranks some new representatives in the governments of Lithuania, Rumania and Canada. At the reception in the Royal Castle given by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, a representative of Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski who was not present, vice-minister Jerzy Pomianowski stated that his Foreign Ministry, which took over from the Senate the role of caring for Polonia, will now look to cooperate with, rather than just donate, the 60 million zloty allotted each year by the Polish Senate to Polonia. He invited all of the Polonia organizations to debate this new policy to find Polonia’s priorities for the year 2013.
PAC President Frank Spula gave a speech in the Polish Parliament after laying a wreath with the U.S. delegation at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Mass conducted by Prymas Polski Archbishop Kowalczyk at the Warsaw Cathedral. President Spula’s speech, which I will now try to summarize, was as follows: it informed the Polonia delegates gathered there along with Polish government representatives, that Polish American Congress (“PAC”) performed an important role in the process of freeing Poland from its socialist domination into a now democratic state. PAC enabled Polish WWII immigrants and veterans coming to the U.S. to obtain benefits from government programs such as Displaced Persons Act; PAC supported the creation of a Committee to investigate the Katyń Massacre; it promoted creation of a fund to help Poland after the establishment of Solidarity in 1980; it had a great influence on Poland’s inclusion into NATO, and it created many other initiatives that have helped Poland. Now, Polonia needs Poland’s help in such matters as education of Polonia’s youth. Polonia also needs Poland to help in protecting the good name of Poland abroad. Historical facts have to be put into their proper perspective with the help of scholars in Poland and Poland’s formal reaction to false accusations such as statements of “Polish Concentration Camps.” Poland needs a strong Polonia and Polonia needs help from Poland, it’s time to unite. Polonia can lobby for Poland but it needs the necessary media which is the most effective method of communication. There is a need for a new central portal of Polonia information, which is necessary to also include all of Polonia in different countries and those who no longer speak the language but do feel being Polish.
The Meeting concluded with Resolutions that show Polonia’s protest against the violations of human rights and discrimination against Poles living in Belarus. A resolution against a new law in Lithuania now discriminating against Polish language students who take final exams to be able to enter institutions of higher education and other discriminatory practices by that government against Polish minority. Finally, the attendees expressed their thanks to the organizers, President Komorowski for taking patronage over the meeting and expressed thanks to all Polonia teachers and educators for a job well done in circumstances becoming more and more difficult for them .
This was a great meeting, well run and there were calls for more frequent meetings than usual every six years. The Organizing Committee plans now to meet in November to choose its executive Board and President. Afterwards, the Organizing Committee will call for elections of the President of World Polonia. I believe that it would inure to U.S. Polonia’s benefit that the President of World Polonia be also the President of the Polish American Congress.
Bozena Kaminski, V.P. Polish Agenda