“The inauguration of the Fulbright Program in Poland in 1959 in the midst of the Cold War was a courageous and visionary decision,” said Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Piotr Wilczek during the jubilee reception at his residence in Washington, D.C.
During its sixty years of existence, the Fulbright Program in Poland enabled almost 5000 Polish and American grantees to advance their research, hone their teaching abilities, as well as broaden their cultural experience. Many Fulbrighters remember their Fulbright grant as a unique chance in life, the impact of which far exceeded its academic aspect.
The event was organized by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C. and the Fulbright Association and gathered almost 300 participants. Among the invited guests were American Fulbright alumni from all across the United States who traveled to D.C. for the Fulbright Association annual conference, a group of current Polish Fulbright grantees residing on the East Coast, directors and staff of Fulbright Commissions from around the world, and representatives of the U.S. Department of State, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and partner institutions including the Institute of International Education and World Learning.
The official part of the jubilee evening started with a piano concert performed by Michael Pecak, American alumnus of the Fulbright Program in Poland. Pecak mesmerized the audience with his rendition of one of the most famous piano pieces composed by Frederick Chopin – Polonaise in A-flat minor Op. 53 known as “Heroic.”
Among those who congratulated the entire Fulbright community in Poland and offered them best wishes for further success and development were 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 Heian Schmider, President of the Board of Directors, the Fulbright Association.
Lussenhop highlighted that the Program plays a considerable role in fostering Polish-American cooperation. McBride alluded to the TEDxFulbrgihtWarsaw motto: Be Bold, Never Regular, emphasizing that it reflects perfectly the spirit of our program. Dr. Schmider reminded guests about important historical figures who played a major role in the events significant to both countries over the course of history including generals Pułaski and Kościuszko.
Guests were delighted with an English version of “Czas Kultury” [Time of Culture] periodical with texts by Fulbright Poland alumni, as well as with Polish dishes served during the reception.