PRESIDENT’S REPORT. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF AIPA, 28 NOVEMBER 2017

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF AIPA, 28 NOVEMBER 2017

There is no doubt that fifteen months that have passed since the last Annual General Meeting in August 2016, was the period of particularly intensive work for our Institute. Perhaps its intensity had a lot to do with the breadth of activities undertaken by AIPA during this time.

I would like to group these activities in four categories:

  1. AIPA-sponsored lecture tours that are our signature activities.

Since the last AGM, AIPA organized three visits of distinguished guests:

Whilst I won’t be going through the entire program of each of our guests, I would only like to highlight that during his visit, Dr Rzońca met with the officials from the Reserve Bank of Australia, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with Sydney University’s Sydney Democracy Network, and had a lecture at the University of Melbourne - to name just a few most important engagements.

The program of Janusz Onyszkiewicz’s visit included, among others: meeting with the officials from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, presentations at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, University of Melbourne and Institutes of International Affairs both in Sydney and Hobart.

The program of his visit included public meetings at Sydney Jewish Museum, Melbourne Kadimah Cultural Centre and media interviews with ABC Radio National and Australian Jewish News. This program was shortened due to illness of our guest.

It is evident that our organization and our members put in place for our guests programs of activities that can only be described as sophisticated and well-targeted. For example, meetings with DFAT officials in Canberra have become a norm for our visitors who specialize in socio-economic, security and political issues. The same can be said of such influential organisations as Centre for Independent Studies or University of Melbourne. We’re developing promising contacts with the ABC radio.

In the area of Polish-Jewish relations I was particularly pleased to see a very successful liaison with the Sydney Jewish Museum and deepening of relations with Australian Society of Polish Jews and their Descendants. I should also mention that our last guest, Janusz Makuch, had an opportunity to listen to the best Melbourne-based Jewish musicians eg. Deborah Conway and her husband Willi Zygier who gathered to perform in front of him. This does not require any further comments.

  1. Two commemorative functions marking 25th anniversary of AIPA
  1. Launch of the Polish-Language edition of the book about Jerzy Zubrzycki

The promotion of the book written by John Bond and the late John Williams, both associated with the Initiative of Change (John Williams served also as Secretary of AIPA in the late 1990s) took place on 29 September 2017. It was held in the the Hall of Mirrors of the Staszic Palace which is the headquarters of the Polish Academy of Sciences. One could not find a more prestigious venue for such event. The current Ambassador of Australia to Poland, Paul Wojciechowski, was one of the speakers. Two former Polish Ambassadors to Australia – Agnieszka Morawinska, currently the director of the National Museum and Ambassador Pawel Milewski, who ended his mission in August this year, were also present. The launch attracted attendance of a number of Polish academics and artists. Prior to the event Jan Pakulski and Wojtek Zagala gave, separately, interviews to the Polish radio. Also interviewed was the author of the book, John Bond.

  1. Fifth Congress of Polish Academic Societies in the World

Between 16th and 21st October 2017, The Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Umiejętności in Polish) organized the 5th Congress of Polish Academic Societies in the World which attracted attendance of a large number of Polish academics and community leaders from around the world as well as from Poland. The President of AIPA was invited to join the Honorary Committee of the Congress as sole representative from Australia and was also the only speaker from Australia presenting paper at the Congress. The title of his presentation was: “The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs”. The text is available on AIPA website. The President of AIPA was also interviewed, as one of only two participants, by the Polish Press Agency PAP. In total, around 40 speakers delivered their presentations during the Congress.

What do these four events tell us about AIPA. First of all, they tell us that AIPA brand is recognizable both in Poland and Australia and is associated with such qualities as professionalism, dedication, broad-mindness but is also associated espousal of values of modern patriotism – with its stress on forward-thinking, inclusiveness and concrete action rather than on pretentious celebration of the past. How else would we be able to attract so many eminent public figures to our events. How else would be able to gain trust and respect of both Polish and Australian diplomatic missions? But rather than me speculating on this subject, let me quote from the farewell letter that AIPA received from the departing Ambassador Pawel Milewski in August this year: I quote “ During my 4 year mission in Australia I have concluded on numerous occasions that AIPA is an organization whose role in the promotion of Poland in Australia , I value highly. You are the symbol of all those good changes that led Poland to its independence and sovereignty..…. The fact that for more than 25 years of your existence you have persevered with explaining those often complex changes that took place in Poland to Australians and more than anything else, that you have promoted the indisputable successes and achievements of our country…. is for me an important value in itself. I thank you greatly for this as Polish Ambassador and Polish patriot….”end of quote.

As I end my 2 year term as President of AIPA today and will not be seeking an extension in this role, I would like to thank all my colleagues from the Executive Committee for their dedication, support and great collaboration during the last 2 years. I am for ever indebted to you, to the regional representatives: Marek, Olek, Ola and Janek for making such value-adding contributions to the programs of our guests; to Janek for organizing almost single-handedly the very successful promotion of the book about our first President; to Malgosia for your wise counsel and your skillful handling of our finances that continue to be in such a good order; to Ania for organizing this great event in Sandringham Yacht Club earlier this year and last but not least to Stefan for keeping us all informed through the regular Newsletters and for your great support with everything else. Thank you all and I wish AIPA and all the members another fantastic year of activities.

Adam Warzel

AIPA KEY Events 2015

AIPA Key Events 01/09/2014 – 01/11/2015 – a list of events and activities that have either been initiated by AIPA, or with which the Institute has been involved in other ways, both in Australia and in Poland.

3/09/2014

Melbourne -   Adam Warzel, AIPA’s Melbourne Cinematheque (MC) Liaison Officer, prepared submission to the Polish Consulate, to obtain funding for organising a season of Jerzy Kawalerowicz films in 2015. This was done in conjunction with Mr Michael Koller, the chief curator of MC.

Lodgement of the submission was preceded by meetings with Mr Koller and Poland’s Consul General, Ms Regina Jurkowska.

The season of Kawalerowicz’s films screened in October 2015 and AIPA’s sponsorship was publicly acknowledged by Michael Koller on the opening night.

16/09/2014

Melbourne - Adam Warzel was involved in the process of negotiating screening by Melbourne Cinematheque of films by a distinguished Hungarian film director, Miklos Jancso. The season commences in October 2015.

September 2014

Canberra – Vice President Aleksander M. Gancarz represented AIPA and helped organisers during the 2nd Australian International Chopin Piano Competition (15-21 September 2014, at the School of Music, Australian National University, in Canberra. Also, Aleksander established a friendship arrangement between AIPA and Friends of Chopin Australia (www.friendsofchopin.org.au ), organisers of the events. The President and Vice-president of Friends of Chopin Australia, Wanda Horky and Benjamin James, joined AIPA and both parties will cooperate in the future.

6/10/2014

Melbourne -   Adam Warzel, responding to the request by Australian Centre for Moving Image, prepared an overview of films screened in October 2014 as part of Martin Scorsese’s Masterpieces of Polish Cinema season.     www.acmi.net.au/acmi-channel/2014/made-in-poland

03/11/2014 – 11/11/2014

Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne. Visit to Australia by Professor Andrzej Rychard, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Professor Rychard is the author and/or co-author of more than 100 scientific publications in Polish, British, Swedish, German and American professional journals, including books and monographs. Professor Rychard’s main engagements included:

Sydney

Canberra

Hobart

Melbourne

 18/11/2014

Canberra – Vice President Aleksander M. Gancarz  represented AIPA at the ceremony of awarding the title of the Righteous Among the Nations to Mr  Roman Talikowski, who helped to rescue  Jews from the Warsaw ghetto. Mr Talikowski was nominated by Mrs Josia Przygoda, who now lives in USA and who, as a 5 year old girl, was carried out of the ghetto in a backpack by MrTalikowski.

 20/03/15                                                                                                                          

Melbourne –Alexandra Dunwill, AIPA Secretary, wrote a letter to the Editor–in-Chief of ‘The Australian’, Mr Chris Mitchell, remonstrating against the use of a misleading and offensive phrase „Polish death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau” in the article “Girl who defied the German machine three times”, (The Australian, 17.04.2015).

21/03/15

Melbourne – ‘Meet the POLCUL Foundation’. The evening consisted of panel presentation and screening of collage of two Polish documentaries illustrating activities of Polcul. The pane included members of the Board of Polcul Foundation: Prof. Jan Pakulski, Adam Warzel, Wojciech Zagala and Barbara Zagala.

25/03/2015

Melbourne – AIPA Secretary, Alexandra Dunwill presented a paper ‘Educational Transformation in Post-Communist Poland: Social Need for Diversity” at the one day conference “Elite Schools at Globalising Circumstances”, organised by the Monash University Education Faculty. Scholars from various world institutions, with interests in global education, contributed to this event.

 20/04/15

Warsaw – Jan Pakulski attended a meeting in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), with Dr Wladyslaw Bulhak and Patryk Pleskot on the design and planned visit to Australia of a poster exhibition devoted to life and achievements of AIPA's first President, Prof. Jerzy Zubrzycki. The content, the form and the dates of the exhibition were discussed. It was agreed that the best time for the visit of the exhibition in Australia will be March-April 2016, and that the exhibition will stay in Australia. Jan Pakulski contacted Ambassador RP in Australia Pawel Milewski and arranged the storage of the exhibition in Canberra after the display – for further use.

24/04/15

Warsaw – Jan Pakulski met Mrs Wanda Horky. They discussed the prospects for future collaboration between AIPA and music organisations in Australia devoted to promoting Chopin's music.

11/05/15

Warsaw– Jan Pakulski met Mr Andrzej Folwarczny the 2015 Guest of AIPA in Australia. They discussed the plan of the forthcoming visit. Further meetings (including one with Marcia Pinker and Adam Warzel) were arranged for June, July and August.

 22/05/15

Warsaw – Jan Pakuski met Mr Izi Marmur and Mr Bernard Korbman representing the Association of Polish Jews in Australia. The welcome dinner was also attended by Zofia Pakulski and Barbara and Wojtek Zagala. The discussion covered the collaboration between the ASPJ and AIPA, as well as the participation (sponsoring) by AIPA of the exhibition in Melbourne devoted to Poles Saving Jews during the Holocaust.

 

28/05/15

Warsaw– Jan Pakulski met Mr Leszek Czarnecki, one of the candidates for AIPA Guest in Australia in 2016. They discussed prospects for the possible future visit.

 

09/06/15

Warsaw - Jan & Zofia Pakulski participated in the welcome dinner for delegations of Polish Jews from Australia and the USA organised by Mrs Katarzyna Miastkowska-Wujec. During the dinner, Bernard Korbman representing ASPJ in Melbourne spoke about the Polish-Jewish dialogue and congratulated AIPA as a best example of the successful dialogue organisation.

10/06/15

Warsaw – Jan Pakulski organised and chaired a half-a-day conference in Collegium Civitas, on The Future of Multiculturalism.  It was attended by visiting scholars from Australia – Prof. Andrew Jakubowicz and Dr Aleksandra Hadzelek – as well as Polish scholars from the Collegium, University of Warsaw and UKSW. AIPA was mentioned during the discussion – as an example of dialogue organisation promoting multiculturalism.

23/06/15

Warsaw – AIPA Executive Committee member, Dr Gosia Klatt presented on "The Solidarity decade in Australia" at the event organised by Senate of the RP, titled: the Archives of Breakthrough 1989-91,

23/06/15

Warsaw - Dr Gosia Klatt interviewed for TV Polonia following her presentation on "The Solidarity decade in Australia" at the event organised by Senate of the RP, titled: the Archives of Breakthrough 1989-91.

June – October 2015

Canberra – Vice President Aleksander M. Gancarz helped organise a poster exhibition in Canberra in memory of Prof. Jerzy Zubrzycki. This included:

* Liaison with designers and authors of an exhibition at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Poland

* Meeting and discussion with Ambassador Pawel Milewski

* Discussion with the Zubrzycki family

* Discussion with staff of the Australian National University

The exhibition is planned to arrive in Australia in March-April 2016.

 11-12/06/15

Warsaw – Jan & Zofia Pakulski took part in the 2-day conference at the UKSW on the activities of the Japanese consul in Kowno, Sugihara. Dr Aleksandre Hadzelek was co-organising the conference. During the discussions AIPA was mentioned as a successful dialogue organisation.

 26/06/15

Warsaw – Jan Pakulski held a meeting in Forum Dialogu in Warsaw with A.Folwarczny and Marcia Pinskier. They discussed the forthcoming visit of Mr Folwarczny in Australia.

5/7/2015

Melbourne – an Honorary Membership of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs was granted to Mr Mieczyslaw (Michael) Nadworny in recognition of his life-long work for improving the relations between Polish and the Jewish communities, and in particular for his action to bestow honorary membership of the state of Israel on Jan Karski.

July-October 2015

Canberra – Vice President Aleksander M. Gancarz had several meetings with Ambassador RP Pawel Milewski and his deputy Piotr Buszta at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Canberra to discuss a planned visit to Australia by the AIPA guest Mr Andrzej Folwarczny - the Founder and President of the Forum for Dialogue, the largest and oldest Polish non-governmental organization to engage in the Polish-Jewish dialogue (http://www.dialog.org.pl/en/home.htm ). Mr Andrzej Folwarczny will be visiting Canberra from 24 to 26 of November 2015. Aleksander M. Gancarz together with Polish Embassy staff are planning this visit which might include:

* Lunch and discussion with Australian Parliamentarians and Senators including members of the Australia - Polish Parliamentary Friendship Group,

* Meeting and lecture/discussion with Rabbi Alon Meltzer and the Jewish community in Canberra at the National Jewish Memorial Centre - The ACT Jewish Community (http://www.actjc.org.au )

* Lecture or/and meeting with Polish Community in Canberra.

* Visit and meeting with staff of the Centre for European Study at the Australian National University (http://politicsir.cass.anu.edu.au/centres/anu-centre-for-european-studies

6/08/2015

Melbourne -  Adam Warzel, in his capacity as former Victorian representative of the Solidarity Information Bureau in Australia, delivered a laudation at the decoration ceremony of a distinguished trade union official, Mr Joe de Bruyn. Mr de Bruyn was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit bestowed on him by the President of Poland for his support for Solidarity trade union movement throughout the 80s and 90s. The Cross was presented to Mr de Bruyn by the Consul General of Poland, Ms Regina Jurkowska.

 01/09/15

Warsaw – Jan and Zofia Pakulski met Mr Marcel Weyland, a prominent translator and a friend of AIPA.

 26/09/15

Canberra - AIPA Executive Committee member, Dr Gosia Klatt participated in the open day event organised by the Polish Embassy in Canberra "Windows to the world".

29/09/15

Warsaw – during the Polcul Foundation 35-anniversary cocktail in Warsaw, the Directors of Polcul mentioned the links between Polcul and AIPA, and they distributed AIPA brochures.

 2/10/15

Canberra – Vice President Aleksander M. Gancarz represented AIPA at the lunch hosted by HE Pawel Milewski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, on the occassion of a visit of Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz in Australia. Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz is diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Saint Joseph with the centre in Irkutsk. Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia (KKER). He is Head of the Catechetical Commission and the Commission for inter-Christian and interreligious dialogue and dialogue with non-believers.

 

CAN WE TALK ABOUT POLAND?

CAN WE TALK ABOUT POLAND?

His Excellency Mr Paweł Milewski, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland will officially launch Can we talk about Poland? at 3pm. This will be followed by a conversation between Arnold Zable, Lindsay Goldberg and Emmanuel Santos. Popular Yiddish singer, Freydi Mrocki will also perform at this special occasion.

Official launch is free, but bookings essential.

This pioneering major-exhibition serves as an invitation to talk about Poland, and asks questions that are pertinent to migrants from many backgrounds. Featuring photographic works by prize-winning storyteller, Arnold Zable and contemporary photographer, Lindsay Goldberg Can we talk about Poland? sheds light on post-war Poland for the first time in Australia. The Can we talk about Poland? exhibition and public program series invite visitors to discuss Poland; to ask what it means to be a Jew of Polish descent; how to overcome the negative memories and trauma of the Holocaust, to create new connections and meaning; and to consider the re-emergence of Jewish life in Poland today. Visitors will be able to contribute their thoughts and feelings towards Poland, through a range of interactive and participatory elements within the exhibition and public program series.