President of the Republic of Poland

Warsaw, 15 October 2009

Participants of the Conference of the Polish American Congress

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend sincere greetings to all participants and organizers of the Conference of American Polonia. By this gathering, you give testament to your engagement in Polonian issues and to your concern for the well-being of the land of your forefathers. This event is also an indication of the active efforts of the Polish American Congress, which for 65 years has strived for a strong and united Polish-American community.

With gratitude and admiration I call to mind the accomplishments of the Polish American Congress, which I do not hesitate to call historic. Thanks to your determination, the voice of freedom could be more fully expressed in Communist Poland. Through your support of the underground opposition and of Radio Free Europe, you sustained in Poles a spirit of hope and struggle for a democratic country, one respecting human dignity and civic freedoms. When that dream was fulfilled, you did not abandon us in moments when the fate of Poland's security and democratic stability hung in the balance. Thanks to your active assistance, ten years ago Poland became a member of the most powerful defensive alliance in the world. You exert efforts to make the strategic partnership with the United States reach ever broader dimensions. As a President of a free Poland, belonging today to NATO and the European Union, I feel myself in your debt.

Events of the past several weeks indicate that much remains to be done to ensure ongoing security and stability for Poland. Certainly much will depend on Polish-American relations, which places specific missions for the future before American citizens of Polish descent and the Polish American Congress. Poland needs an active, dynamic, well-organized, modern Polonia, one which is present in all phases of public and civic life, in local government, in the media, among the shapers of opinion, in business and academic circles.

I trust that also in the 21st century, American Polonia will effectively unite fidelity to the principles of its Polish ancestors with modernity and dynamic engagement in American society. I hope that this year's Polonia Conference will serve as an inspiration for further service on behalf of the Polish-American community. That is my sincere wish for all of you, and for Poland.