TASTE AMERICA 2009
On July 30th, 2009, the Polish American Congress (PAC) proudly represented American Polonia at the annual Taste America event, which took place on Capital Hill. The event was attended by hundreds of people, most of whom stopped by the display to express their interest and curiosity about Polish and Polish American history, culture and traditions, and who wanted to learn more about Poland and the Polish community in the United States.
It was the fourth consecutive year that the PAC had the opportunity to promote the Polish American Community (Polonia) and educate members of the U.S. Congress, their families and friends about the various aspects of Polish and Polish American history and culture. Additionally, it was an opportunity to demonstrate the PACís more than 65 years of accomplishments, helping to better the lives of American Polonia.
The unique reception, which was, as in past years, held in the historic Membersí Dining Room at the U.S. Capitol, drew many exhibitors, including the Library of Congress, the Maryland State Department of Education, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Center for Civic Education, and Stratford University, to name a few.
Surrounded by this distinguished company, the Polish American Congress presented its display offering a wealth of information and numerous promotional items.
Each year the event is held under a different theme; in 2009 it was "Education Underway", with the ultimate goal of acquainting the attendees with progressive forward-looking seeking education. In keeping with the theme, the PACís exhibit entitled "Education UnderwayÖ In Polish American Theory and Practice", was tailored to showcase a number of Poloniaís educational achievements, as well to educate guests about most important anniversaries being celebrated in 2009 as landmarks of how far Polonia and Poland have come.
The Taste America event offered an invaluable opportunity to get acquainted with those who share similar interests and/or provide them with information through an aesthetically pleasing and informative display. In order to achieve this goal, PAC set up a rich display that concentrated on three areas.
The first Ė Education in the Polish American Community - presented an assortment of information (a multitude of brochures, publications and handouts) that included listings of major higher education institutions that offer in their curriculum courses and/or programs in Polish studies; Polish schools in the US (organized state by state); US-Poland educational exchange programs; the most prominent Polish-American educational organizations, as well main Polish American museums and libraries.
The next two sections offered "education in action" where the PAC team took the opportunity to educate visitors regarding a variety of topics, such as Polish and Polish-American anniversaries taking place in 2009. Here the highlighted milestones included:
Each of the anniversaries was explained in detail through large posters, numerous handouts, and brochures prepared specifically for that purpose, as well as by distributing DVDs and books. In this section, the visitors could also find copies of the articles: "Polish Units Took Part in Normandy Invasion, D-Day, June 1944" and "1989: Fateful year for Poland and Europe" by J. Krcmar, copies of pertinent resolutions introduced in the U.S. Congress during the 111th session, as well as numerous other materials. In addition, the PAC team offered thorough explanations to all visitors who had questions, comments or just wanted to chat about the display and its contents.
A special part of this section was dedicated to the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, giving particular recognition to Poles who helped the Jews during WWII despite risking a death penalty for themselves and their extended families, which was established by Nazi Germans as the price for such an "offense". Because of their heroic actions those individuals were subsequently distinguished by the Israeli Holocaust Martyrs' And Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Yad Vashem, and honored with the recognition as "Righteous Among the Nations". As of today there are 6,135 Poles whose life-or-death contributions were singled out by Yad Vashem, with Polish recipients constituting the single largest ethnic group of all European nationals officially recognized by the state of Israel.
A highlight of this section of the display was a poster created by the PAC team, which showcased 10 of the recognized Poles, including their photos and brief stories of how they-and often their families-helped their Older Brothers in Faith. Those short biographies clearly were of a particular interest to the visitors. Many of them took the time to read the stories and on numerous occasions shared stories from the histories of their own families and/or those of their friends.
Not surprisingly, a complementary book titled Poles who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust: Recalling Forgotten History, published by the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, was a particularly popular item at the exhibit.
Another complimentary book, Thinking After the Holocaust: Voices from Poland, edited by Sebastian Rejak and translated into English and Hebrew, a collection of essays about the complex issue of Holocaust, was another well-received item. Other complimentary publications on the topic of WWII that were handed out included: The Emissary: The Story of Jan Karski; Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Story of Irena Sendler; and Nazi German Camps on Occupied Polish Soil During World War II. All these publications were donated to the PAC by Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C.
Attendees were also invited to take home CDs with music by Chopin and Liszt performed by the Polish American pianist Jerzy Stryjniak, and an architectural book written by Czeslaw Bielecki, called Beyond Architecture In Praise of Eclecticism, among other items.
The last part of the exhibit offered something for the palette - samplings of the well-chilled, award-winning Polish beer "Tyskie" and Polish juices, alongside delicious Polish chocolates (including Prince Polo and Michaszki), which were by far the most popular and widely complimented (and voraciously consumed) promotional items of the exhibit.
Similarly to previous years, each visitor also received a gift bag containing copies of all the handouts, promotional items such as letter openers, fridge magnets, pens, bottle openers, samples of Polish chocolates, etc., as well as copies of a brochure summarizing the display that was specially prepared for the purpose of the event. In addition to a greeting from Frank Spula, the president of the Polish American Congress, the brochure highlighted the achievements of the Polish American Congress over the past more than 65 years, as well as made sure to recognize the sponsors of the event, without whom the display would not have been possible.
We would like to take this opportunity to again express our deepest gratitude to the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union for their generous patronage of our display. In addition, our great appreciation goes to those who made our exhibit a success: the Embassy of the Republic of Poland (for numerous publications and assistance with logistics), the Kielbasa Factory of Rockville, Maryland, (for Polish juices and chocolates), MillerCoors (for Tyskie beer), and last, but not least, to the Polish and Slavic Center in New York City and U.S. Pharmacia International in Rockville (for financial support).
The PAC team, composed of Dr. Barbara B. Andersen and summer associates: Zosia Klosowska, Malgosia Kwiatkowska, and Matthew Beck, have been working hard towards making the display of the Polish American Congress an extraordinary one. Countless hours were spent doing research and preparing informational materials. The efforts paid off and, in accordance to the feedback that the team received during the event, the final product was truly impressive.
The crew of the Polish American Congress with Dr.
Vice President for Public Relations
and President of the PAC Washington Metropolitan Area Division.
From left: Matthew Beck, Zosia Klosowska, Dr. Barbara Andersen,
Dr. Lotarski, Malgosia Kwiatkowska
Apparently, the impression was also shared by the PACís summer associates. Malgosia Kwiatkowska wrote later in her reflections of the day:
BBA, ZK, MK
Office of the President
6100 N. Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60646
Tel.: (800) 621-3723
Fax: (773) 286-4937
1612 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
Tel.: (202) 296-6955
Fax: (202) 835-1565
Join us on
Copyright © 2009 - 2013
Polish American Congress
All Rights Reserved