Madeleine Albright Meets with PAC

For Immediate Release

CHICAGO, October 10, 2016: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with representatives of the Polish American Congress (PAC) as well as other leaders of the Polish American community at the office of the Polish National Alliance in Chicago. Secretary Albright – a founder and a partner of DC-based advisory firm, the Albright Stonebridge Group – spoke on behalf of the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign.

The Polish American Congress organized the meeting. PAC President Frank Spula welcomed Secretary Albright and noted that this was the first time that a present or former United States Secretary of State had visited the headquarters of the Polish National Alliance.

President Spula asked Secretary Albright to explain Hillary Clinton's views on issues of importance to Polish Americans and Poland; specifically, the critical need for a strong NATO engagement in Poland in the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as well as Poland’s inclusion into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

In response, Secretary Albright relayed Secretary Clinton's strong support for Poland and the CEE region. As one of the examples, she cited Poland's inclusion into the NATO Alliance in 1999 during her husband Bill Clinton's Administration. Albright reaffirmed Secretary Clinton’s support for Poland and NATO adding, "I am very troubled by the statements made by Mr. Trump. Anyone who gives credence to Russia's Vladimir Putin doesn't understand the seriousness of the situation in Eastern Europe. Secretary Clinton shares this assessment.” Speaking of the art of diplomacy, Secretary Albright said that, " Hillary Clinton understands the balance between dialogue and deterrence."

Regarding the inclusion of Poland in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), for which the Polish American Congress has been strongly advocating in recent years, Albright said, "There is no question that something needs to be done. One of the questions is to verify who is asking to enter our country. This has gotten to be very complicated. The Republican candidate said he could do this in two weeks. He doesn't understand how complex this issue is. It is not something that can be done in two weeks. It shows a lack of understanding of the process."

The meeting that lasted more than hour offered an ample time to address in depth not only the topics of NATO and inclusion of Poland in the VWP, but also other matters raised by PAC hosts that included the issue of lump-sum compensations and property restitution in Poland, the ongoing investigation of the Smolensk plane crash, as well the growing concern about negative publicity that Poland’s newly-elected government has been receiving in recent months in Europe and worldwide as well.

Secretary Albright expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to share her views on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Albright specifically stated that Secretary Clinton has great admiration for the Polish American community and the nation of Poland, a long-standing ally of the United States. Albright's final statement was, "I really do believe that Hillary Clinton will be an incredible President. She is so well-prepared."
"It was a very productive meeting, " said Frank Spula after the session concluded. "As the largest Polonia umbrella organization in the United States we have the responsibility to raise awareness about the issues of greatest concern to the Polish American community. We need to continue to educate not only those who are already elected but also those who are aspiring for leadership positions, at all levels, including the highest one. They need to know what the issues are that we face, as well as those that face Poland and the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe as well."

Meeting participants included:

  • Frank J. Spula, PAC President
  • Dr. Mark Pienkos, PAC VP for Public Relations
  • Hubert Cioromski, PAC VP for Financial Development
  • Steve H. Tokarski, President of PAC Indiana Division
  • Andrzej Gedlek, PAC National Director
  • Stanislaw Zagata, PAC National Director
  • Mary Anselmo, PAC National Director
  • Donald Versen, PAC National Director
  • Malgorzata Blaszczuk, PAC National Director, Editor in Chief/Polish Daily News
  • Alicja Kuklinska, PAC National Director, Editor of Zgoda, PNA Publication
  • Jacek Niemczyk, PAC Director at Large, Manager of Radio WPNA 1490
  • Magdalena Pantelis, PAC National Director, Alliance of Printers and Publishers
  • David Tokarski, PAC National Director, President National Advocates Society
  • Anna Wierzbicki, PAC National Director
  • Ewa Cholewinski, Treasurer of PAC IL Division
  • Bogdan Struminski, Vice President of PAC IL Division
  • Mark Grzymala, PAC IL Division
  • Maureen Pikarski, National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council, Chicago
  • Bozena Haszlakiewicz, President of Legion of Young Polish Women
  • Konrad Nowak, Polish American Association
  • Grzegorz Dziedzic, City Editor/Polish Daily News.

The meeting with PAC and Polonia leaders was yet another in a series of meetings that Secretary Albright held with the representatives of the Polish American Congress. In June of 2016, and then again in September, she met with the Central and East European Coalition – an informal association of 18 ethnic organizations representing Americans who trace their ancestry to the region of Central and Eastern Europe to discuss issues of common concern. The Polish American Congress is one of the founders and an active member of the Coalition. Dr. Barbara Andersen represented the PAC during both sessions.

NOTE: The Polish American Congress does not endorse candidates for elected offices. The organization meets with representatives of all political fractions in effort to present and discuss issues of key importance to the Polish American community, Poland, and the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

Contact: Dr. Mark Pienkos, PAC VP for Public Relations; 262-325-8039
or Dr. Barbara Andersen, PAC Executive Director,

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