Poles in US Declare Bilingual Day

Polish American

Polish American

On 13 October the Polish minority in New York declared that every year on every second Saturday in October they will celebrate Polish Bilingual Day, during which, the Polish language and Polish culture will be promoted. Another aim of the event is to improve the image of the Polish community living in America. Organisers of the event announced that Polish institutions and particularly Saturday schools will promote bilingualism during various meetings, expos and shows taking place in many cities across the US as well as in other countries of the world. These institutions will encourage Poles not to overuse English loanwords in the Polish language and remind everyone of the Polish contribution to American culture throughout history. Celebrations of Polish Bilingual Day support the objectives of a NYC project called Dobra Polska Szkoła (Good Polish School) and DobraPolskaSzkoła.com, which is leading a language preservation campaign directed at Poles living abroad. Marta Kustek, chief editor of the website, explains that celebrating Polish Bilingual Day will help Polish parents of children born in the US to realise the importance of passing on their mother tongue to their children, and consequently, Polish culture and traditions with it. wiadomosci.onet.pl

Russian Aggression Must Stop

Helping Ukraine

Helping Ukraine

The Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk recently stated that the invasion of Crimea by Russia must stop in order to avoid any escalation of conflict, reports Reuters. “We need to put a stop to the aggressive actions of Russia in order to avoid a conflict,” said Tusk to journalists after a meeting with the leaders of Poland’s main political parties. He also emphasised that inaction cannot be considered a possible option in the present situation. “I do not want to remind everyone about the historical comparisons that can be drawn here, but history does show us that those who are intent on cooling things down in order to just keep the peace usually only gain a little time,” he said. Reuters states that Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west, is concerned about the safety of its own borders. Poland played an important mediatory role in resolving the conflict between opposition parties and the ruling party headed by the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Recently, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, answered journalists’ questions about whether the US would consider a military option as a possible solution to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. Kerry said that the US President “is considering all options.” It is also worth mentioning that PM Tusk, expressing full support for Ukraine, said that Europe and the world will not sit back and watch Russian acts of aggression.
glavcom.ua

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Petrol Threat for Poland

Running Out?

Running Out?

A possible Russian petroleum embargo, caused by the present conflict in Crimea, would have grave consequences for Poland. “It would lead to an increase in crude oil price which would effect petrol prices,” claims Andrzej Szczęśniak, specialist in the field of energy. Russia is one of the world’s major exporters of natural gas and petroleum. On the other hand, Poland imports the majority of its gas and petroleum from Russia. Szczęśniak told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) he is more worried about petroleum than gas imports, as 95% of it comes from Russia. Poland is on the front line, if any embargo is put on Russia as it would lead to a Russian embargo on Poland. Petrol prices would rise as Poland would be forced to buy crude oil on the international markets. What is more, Polish petroleum oil refineries have only ever processed Russian oil. The threat is very real, as the only political tool that could be used against Russia, to which Western countries would agree, are petroleum-related sanctions. The US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with “very serious consequences.” The whole G8 group is considering the introduction of sanctions such as asset freezes, visa-related sanctions, and trade isolation. The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski said recently that unless the situation in Crimea calms down, the EU will consider introducing visa-related and financial sanctions on Russia. These declarations will make the petroleum embargo a very real issue for Poland and the Polish economy.
finanse.wp.pl

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Polish Xmas Decorations Are US Hit

Christmas 'po polsku'

Christmas ‘po polsku’

Polish Christmas tree baubles are winning over the Western European and American markets. They stand for good quality and luxury. Americans often pay over 100 PLN a piece and are always awaiting new designs. 70-95 per cent of all production, that is 400,000-600,000 baubles, is sold in the US. This year, Magdalena Słodyczka, co-owner of Silverado, responsible for bauble design, went with a fruit and vegetable theme. Royalty-themed baubles are also a favourite. “Americans love the holiday season and can afford it. We have to do a lot to satisfy them and it is a very demanding but open market. We feel the pressure to seek new inspiration. You could compare it to the fashion industry, where whole collections are themed. Americans love to create stories, hence themes referring to the Orient, Egypt and Hawaii,” says Magdalena Słodyczka, “Most importantly, there has to be a label stating the baubles are from Poland. These products are making us well known in the States”. Polish manufacturers are competing for the American market against others from Mexico, Portugal, Slovakia and Ukraine. Competition also comes from China, but only in terms of price, not quality. “China has taken some key customers away from us. Our product is high-class, and therefore, expensive to produce, which means it costs a lot. This is our niche that the Chinese will not be able to fill anytime soon. They are serious competition for companies that specialise in cheaper products,” Słodyczka explains. Polish companies are able to maintain their position due to the high quality of their products and creativity in making new designs. The Chinese also lose out here, because they do not celebrate Christmas and so do not really feel the market and have to copy European designs.

Polish 'pierniki' Cookies

Polish ‘pierniki’ Cookies

Apart from the USA, baubles from Józefów go to Switzerland, Canada, Germany, the Benelux states, Denmark, and Austria. There are also requests from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Depending on the year, the native Polish market receives only 3-5 per cent of Silverado’s production. Currency exchange rates bring much risk, as contracts with foreign partners are signed for the whole year and this explains how the US recession has hit Polish bauble manufacturers. Słodyczka says: “Differences in currency exchange rates, which caused the fall of many large Polish companies, were also disastrous for us. In this industry, the cycle is almost yearly. It begins when orders come in, then manufacturing starts several months later, while payment arrives two months after that. If there are any exchange rate shifts, we are financially ruined”. The US economy crash hit Polish manufacturers hardest three years ago. “Large, key companies that had great success and employed 300 people or more could not survive,” explains Słodyczka, “Their profitability dropped, and maintaining so many employees is expensive”. Silverado managed to survive, and today the situation is more stable. This year will close with an eight per cent increase. “Further forecasts will be known in the first quarter of 2014, when new orders start coming in, based on the sales of the 2013 collection,” says Wojciech Słodyczka, a co-owner of the company. “Our meetings with retailers suggest a rather good economic situation for the upcoming year”. The cheapest bauble costs 1 PLN, while the most expensive up to PLN 100. Mr. Słodyczka claims that, “in retail, prices can even be five times higher. Depending on complexity, design costs prior to production can be as high as PLN 2,000, which includes the manufacture of a bauble mould“.
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2014 – Year of Jan Karski

Jan Karski Statue, New York

Jan Karski Statue, New York

Poland’s parliament has declared the year 2014 the Year of Jan Karski. The resolution was supported by 446 MPs and no one voted against it. The year 2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Jan Karski, which is the perfect occasion to pay homage to one of the greatest Poles of the 20th century. He was a hero of WWII and later became a citizen of the USA. Jan Karski was an emissary of the Polish Underground State. In 1942, he delivered a report to the leaders of the Allies describing the tragic situation of the Jewish community in Poland and the planned German extermination of the Jews. He is often described as the man who “wanted to stop the Holocaust”. Jan Karski (real name Jan Kozielewski) was born 24 April, 1914 in the Polish city of Łódź. In 1935, after finishing law at Lwów University, Karski worked as a clerk at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the war began, he enlisted in the army. In September 1939 he was captured by the Soviets. Two months later he escaped and returned to Warsaw, where he started underground activities set on fighting the Nazis. Thanks to his wonderful memory and superb language skills, he became a messenger of the Polish Underground State. Soon after, he set off to Great Britain and the USA to inform them of the tragic state of the Polish Jews under the German occupation. He passed his shocking testimony onto many American and British politicians, journalists and artists. For instance, he met with the head of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden and the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Unfortunately, his dramatic call for help fell on deaf ears. After the war, Karski stayed in the U.S. and defended his doctoral thesis in political science at Georgetown University. For the next forty years he gave lectures on international relations and communist theory. His students included future U.S. President Bill Clinton. Jan Karski received many prestigious honours, for example, the title of Polish Righteous among the Nations, numerous honorary degrees, the title of knight of the Order of the White Eagle, and he was given honorary citizenship of Israel. He died in 2000 in Washington.
tvn24.pl

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Poland Beats USA

Beating USA

Beating USA

“Are there any beaches in Poland at all?” Americans have been asking this question after losing to Poland at beach volleyball. Facebook was awash with comments this week. Poland managed to tear apart Team USA in beach volleyball. Obviously, the Americans were annoyed at their own loss and also because they thought there were no beaches in Poland. “How could they win if they don’t have beaches!” said another American tweet. The Polish duet of Grzegorz Fijałek and Mariusz Prudel defeated the US beach volleyball team of Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal. Up until now, the Americans were classified highest in this discipline. The whole game lasted only 43 minutes and the Americans simply could not get over being beaten.
natemat.pl

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Wałęsa in American Congress

Wałęsa in USA

Wałęsa in USA

Congressmen together with Lech Wałęsa will watch the newest Andrzej Wajda film. “Wałęsa is back in congress after 24 years,” says the Polish Embassy in Washington. The event is organised by the Polish Embassy and Polish Caucus. In 1989 Wałęsa had his famous speech before the US Senate and this event is the apogee of Wajda’s film. The screening was planned on 8  October, but was impossible because of the budget breakdown in America, when many public places were closed, and employees were sent on holiday. Before the  screening, which will take place in the US congress auditorium, there will also be a discussion with Wałęsa himself. The discussion will be led by Christopher Dodd, a former senator and currently leader of the Motion Picture Association of America. The democrat senator Barbara Mikulski and Polish ambassador Ryszard Schnepf will open the ceremony. “I will be honored to welcome Lech Wałęsa back to the Capitol. When Wałęsa jumped over the wall in the shipyard in Gdańsk, he took the whole world with him. Solidarity brought Poland hope and democracy, but also for me and other people, including Polish Americans from my home city Baltimore,” says Mikulski. Members of the Senate, the House of Representatives and people who had their part in supporting Solidarity are expected among the guests. Robert Więckiewicz, the actor who plays the lead role in the film will be also present. ‘Wałęsa. Man of Hope’ is Poland’s nomination for an Oscar in the non-English language category. It is the final part of Wajda’s  trilogy, following ‘Marble Man’ and ‘Iron Man’. The world release of the movie took place in Venice on 5 September.
culture.pl

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