On 20 -23 September, 2018, the 5th World Congress of Polish Diaspora and Poles from abroad will take place in Warsaw. As part of the event, the participants will take part in meetings, sessions and thematic forums in the Senate and the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. This year's Congress, due to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland, has a very unique character and atmosphere. The organizers of the Congress want this meeting of Poles from around the world to become a significant point of the national celebrations, uniting the entire nation scattered around the world for the celebrations of such an important anniversary.
"Fathers of Independence" and a gamebook at the World Congress of Polish Communities
Józef Piłsudski and Roman Dmowski, Ignacy Paderewski and Wincenty Witos, Ignacy Daszyński and Wojciech Korfanty, thanks to the exhibition organized by the Szczecin Branch of the National Education Bureau of the IPN "Fathers of Independence" will be present at the 5th World Congress of Polish Communities and Poles from abroad. The exhibition will be presented at the Polonia House at 64 Krakowskie Przedmieście str in Warsaw.
On September 21, as part of the Congress, the Polish Community Educational Forum (Center for Educational Development, Aleje Ujazdowskie 28) will be held. Its participants, through brochures about Roman Dmowski and Józef Piłsudski, which they will receive from the Institute of National Remembrance, will get acquainted with the project of the National Education Office of the IPN "Patrons of our streets". The teachers and educators will also receive the legendary and still popular game created by Karol Madaja "Kolejka"/ “The Queue” and the "Journalist" gamebook created at the National Education Office. It is a game which unravels similarly to a novel, where the writer has no influence on the course of events, and everything is in the hands of the reader. We are applying the latest ideas in education to the teaching of Polish history. Dr Mateusz Marek, head of the Historical Education Office, and Olga Tumińska, coordinator of the extensive educational project referred to as the "Polonia Program", will take part in the Polish Community Educational Forum. IPN’s "Polonia Program" is a form of providing professional training for Polish community teachers and educators from Kamchatka to London.
For twelve years, the National Education Office of the Institute of National Remembrance has been implementing the "Polonia Program", whose recipients are Poles and Polonia living outside the country. Our main goal is to disseminate knowledge about the recent history of Poland. As part of IPN’s "Polonia Program", we establish contacts with Polish educational institutions, present our educational offer, conduct lessons and workshops for students, as well as training for teachers. We also organize presentations of historical exhibitions and encourage Polish communities to participate in educational projects of the Institute of National Remembrance, such as educational programs, competitions or anniversary events. We support the activities of organizations and institutions cooperating with Polonia and Poles abroad, including the Association “Polish Community”, Aid to Poles in the East Foundation, The Centre for the Development of Polish Education Abroad, providing our publications and exhibitions free of charge – for example for the 5th World Congress of Polish Communities and Poles from abroad, which is currently taking place in Warsaw.
Often, as part of inter-institutional cooperation, we also delegate our employees to give lectures and conduct classes for children and young people abroad. As part of our activities, we also try to support the activities of Polish community institutions – donate educational materials, exhibitions, as well as disseminate knowledge about important Polish community institutions in the country. A good example of this, is the exhibition presenting the history and activities of the Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York, entitled "Piłsudski Institute of America - history and collections of the Polish institution in New York" which is currently being presented at the Janusz Kurtyka "History Point” Educational Center in Warsaw.
Thanks to the cooperation of the Institute of National Remembrance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2017, two IPN educational publications: the "303" puzzle and the educational game "ZnajZnak" were attached to parcels for first graders at 63 schools with Polish as the language of instruction in Vilnius and the Šalčininkai, Szyrwinski, Święcinski and Trotsky regions.
Since 2012, we have been building a network of places around the world – the IPN’s “History Points”, places where IPN employees periodically meet with Poles and Polonia, reviving the history of 20th century Poland through lectures, film screenings, open meetings and activities for young audiences. The first “History Point” of the Institute of National Remembrance was established in Vilnius, and further ones are operating in Brussels, New York, Chicago, Grodno and Gnojnik in Zaolzie. The IPN’s newest “History Point” will be opened in London on 21st September, and in Żytomierz in October.
Polonia Meetings with Recent History are an important, annual element of the Polonia Program – it is a ten-day course for teachers and educators working in Polish institutions outside Poland, which takes place in July. During the conference, at the workshops and lectures, the participants learn about the history of 20th century Poland and the active methods of its teaching. Every year, various activities are carried out around the world for Poles living abroad.
In February this year, the IPN delegation visited in Canada. Representatives of the Institute participated in thematic meetings with the Canadian Polonia, during which they presented the Institute's activities, mission, projects and main tasks. The representatives of Polish communities expressed readiness to cooperate with the Institute of National Remembrance as ambassadors of Polish culture, tradition and history in Canada.
The Institute's representatives answered numerous questions regarding the effectiveness of the IPN penalization act, Polish-Jewish relations and Polish-Ukrainian relations, as well as discussing the increase of the distribution of educational and popular science materials for the needs of the Polish diaspora. The Institute's representatives appealed for the donation of documents to the IPN collections as part of the "Archive full of Remembrance” project and for the submission of nominations of persons, institutions and organizations for the Custodian of National Memory prize.
As a result of visits and arrangements made between Krzysztof Grzelczyk - Polish Consul General in Toronto and Jan Baster - Deputy President of the IPN, Dr Jarosław Szarek, President of the Institute of National Remembrance, took on the patronage of the coordinated screening of the of the “The Unconquered” film during history lessons in all Polish schools in Canada, registered in the Polish Teachers' Association in Canada, including, among others, Polish schools in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut. The film " The Unconquered " is an excellent form of disseminating knowledge about Polish history among Polish-Canadian youth, the fact that it could be seen by students of educational institutions - young people, for whom it is essential to gain knowledge about their roots and knowledge of the history of their nation, perfectly fits in with the mission of the Institute. The screenings which took place in April and May 2018 were made possible thanks to the efforts and engagement of the Polish Consulate General in Toronto and the Polish Teachers' Association in Canada.
In addition, Andrzej Szydło, Consul in Toronto, in accordance with arrangements between Jan Baster and Krzysztof Grzelczyk, proposed to present the “Fathers of Independence” exhibition on 9 June during the "Polish Day" in Mississauga. Approximately 60-70 thousand people participated in the event. The Consulate General, by agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, once again showed the exhibition in September during the Roncesvalles Festival.
As a result of the arrangements made by the IPN's authorities in Canada, a draft plaque commemorating Camp Kosciuszko in Niagara on the Lake is being prepared. Currently, the Museum in Niagara is preparing a project of the plaque.
In November 2017 at the Kadimah Center in Australia, thanks to the cooperation of the Institute with the Polish Community Council of Victoria, the Polish Home Army Ex- servicemen Association in Melbourne, the Board of the Pilecki Project Committee, an exhibition about Captain Witold Pilecki was shown. The boards which were displayed were created on the basis of archival materials made available by the Institute of National Remembrance. The undertaking was implemented as part of the celebrations of the 99th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. The celebrations, organized at the Jewish cultural center Kadimah, also included the presentation of the second, expanded, English-language edition of the W Report translated by Ewa Hussein. The undertaking is a continuation of the project initiated by the first publication of the W Report in February 2014. The exhibition further appeared at the Parliament of the State of Victoria in May this year. The opening of the exhibition was attended by representatives of both Houses of the Parliament, including Bruce Atkinson and Robin Scott, Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Australia Michał Kołodziejski, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Sydney Regina Jurkowska, and all honorary consuls of the Republic of Poland in Australia. In addition, the joint arrangements resulted in the presentation of IPN expositions concerning the Ulma Family and "Żegota" - the Council for Aid to Jews in the Parliament of the State of Victoria. All the aforementioned exhibitions will be presented on 5-16 November this year in the Parliament of Western Australia in Perth. Subsequent presentations of exhibitions are planned in Sydney. The exhibition at the Parliament of the State of Victoria was held under the honorary patronage of the President of the IPN and Ambassador Michał Kołodziejski.
During the meetings with the Polish diaspora, the IPN representatives presented the main directions of the Institute's historical policy, conducted in Poland and abroad. They also presented the latest project of the Archive of the Institute entitled “Archive Full of Remembrance”. They also met with students and gave radio interviews. During these events, occasional brochures were distributed about the Captain Witold Pilecki, the Warsaw Uprising and Walter Edward Smith, prepared by the Pilecki Project Committee in cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance.
As part of the events described, the Institute improved the layout of and printed the "W Report" (more than 1000 copies) in English, translated by Eva Hussein, Deputy President of the Australian Jews Association, 3 brochures about Captain Witold Pilecki, the Warsaw Uprising and the participation of Australian soldiers (including the current project in Perth about 3000 copies), as well as catalogues for IPN exhibitions. In addition, the latest publications of the Institute were provided.