In conjunction with the 2019 Fulbright Association’s 42 Annual Conference and Advocacy Day, we were celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Polish-US Fulbright Program. The event, which was hosted by Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Piotr Wilczek at his residence, in cooperation with the Fulbright Association and the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, was an amazing opportunity for building on the strong cultural relations between both countries and a great chance to celebrate the bilateral educational cooperation.
As H.E. Ambassador Wilczek stated in his opening remarks, “The inauguration of the Fulbright Program in Poland in 1959 in the midst of the Cold War was a courageous and visionary decision.” Indeed, in the past 60 years of Polish-US cooperation with the Fulbright Program, almost 5000 grantees from both countries have been awarded the chance to receive an international education and develop their knowledge about the host country. During this period of time, links between both countries were strengthened and mutual understanding based on the cultural, economic and scientific cooperation has flourished.
Friday’s event gathered Fulbright alumni, members of the Fulbright Association, Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C and representatives of the U.S. Department of State. Guests heard keynote speeches from Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, Anita McBride, Vice Chair of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Matthew Lussenhop, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs and Mary Ellen Schmider, President of the Board of Directors, representing the Fulbright Association.
Dr. Schmider spoke about two important historical figures for bilateral relations of Poland and the US, Generals Pulaski and Kosciuszko, as well as the impressive period of educational cooperation between the countries that followed the fall of the Iron Curtain.
During the official part of the reception, guests had a chance to listen to a piano concert given by Fulbrighter Michael Pecak, who performed one of the most famous piano pieces composed by Frederick Chopin, Polonaise in A-flat minor Op. 53 known as “Heroic.”
Marek Siek, Fulbright Association