The ceremony was attended by Under-Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the President of Poland Maciej Klimczak, Advisor to the President of Poland Professor Roman Józef Kuźniar, and President of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Ambassador Jerzy Koźmiński, as well as members of the families, friends and associates of the awarded.
Joseph C. Bell, a member of the Board of the Directors of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation since it was established, was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic. Since 1989, he has been actively involved in institutional transformation in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe, with the special focus on privatization. As an experienced lawyer, already at the stage of the economy stabilization and transformation he offered pro bono his expertise to Deputy Prime Minister Leszek Balcerowicz. His offer was effectively used in the first two years of implementation of the “Balcerowicz Plan”, among other things in the area of market economy regulations, institutions and relations with other countries. He was the initiator of opening the Warsaw office of the renown Hogan & Hartson law firm, which was one of the first institutions of that type to get permanently bound with Poland. Since establishment of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, Joseph C. Bell has been actively involved in its operation as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors and the chairman of the Foundation Audit Committee.
Douglas Ades and Norman E. Haslun III were awarded with the Officer’s Crosses of the Polonia Restituta.
C. Douglas Ades, the Senior Consultant of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, had worked for over twenty years for the Polish-American Enterprise Fund established at the initiative of the President George H. Bush with the goal of supporting the market economy in Poland. After completion of its operations, the Fund transferred part of its funds to the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. In 1994, C. Douglas Ades was actively involved in establishment and operating of the Micro Fund – the pioneer initiative in the area of micro loans for small companies in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as establishment of the Polish-American Community Assistance Fund (PAFPIO) created in 1999, which has awarded loans for NGOs pursuing important social goals.
Norman E. Haslun III, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary to the PAFF Board of Directors, since 1990 has been incessantly involved in work for the institutions supporting transformation taking place in Poland. Since June 1990 he had been the Finance Director of the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. He shared his experience at establishing new type finance institutions such as the Polish-American Mortgage Bank, Micro Fund or the Polish-American Community Assistance Fund; he was also a co-founder, and since 1992 also the Vice President and Finance Director of the Enterprise Investors Group, at present the biggest in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe company managing private equity and venture capital funds.
The distinctions were awarded in 2014, during the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Polish political transformation.