“I’m very glad I can visit a place where programs of the Foundation are strongly and permanently present,” Andrew Nagorski said at the meeting with Director Grażyna Kapaon, the staff and a group of students of Norwid Republic School Complex at Strachówka.
Grażyna Kapaon is a PAFF Leaders alumnus. Thanks to her involvement and leadership skills of engaging the others to act the school benefitted from numerous programs run by the Foundation. The School Complex at Strachówka participated in all stages of the “Learning Schools” Program but also has been participating in the LES Club for many years and has got the title of the Learning School. One of the math teachers, Beata Kotarba who was also present at the meeting has been a lecturer at the PAFF and UW School of Education for last two years.
After a performance given by the students and prepared as a project under the “Act Locally” Program, the teachers told about the school activities aimed at creating the local community through getting teachers, students and parents involved in local life. They also spoke about activities of the coalition established as part of PAFF Local Partnerships, whose leader the school is. Joining hands with the Norwid Republic Association and the Act Locally Center – Wołomin Plane Local Action Group they managed to implement project on Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s life, help to reconstruct his family house, as well as create a didactic path and the Sobieskis and the Norwids’ garden. Also, the coalition holds a series of intergenerational Meetings at the Fireplace on families coming from or living in Strachówka and their family histories. The local RzN.TV Internet television established under the project implemented as part of Act Locally program records these meetings using the opportunity to encourage students of the School Complex to learn how to make films and prepare reportages. Each year they also organize a big event – the wedding pageant of Cyprian Norwid’s parents participated by Strachówka residents in 19th century attires.
Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors Andrew Nagorski and Director of the PAFF Representative Office in Poland Grzegorz Jędrys presented the Norwid Republic School Complex at Strachówka and the Norwid Republic Association with diplomas, thanked them for their to date engagement and wished them further development. “We would like to congratulate you cordially on your courage in setting goals and consistency in achieving them. We are happy that you are so successful in building social capital,” said Grzegorz Jędrys summing up the visit to Strachówka.
Next Andrew Nagorski, Grzegorz Jędrys and Joanna Lempart had a meeting with Rafał Mathiak, an alumnus of the “PAFF Leaders” Program, holding the function of the head of Klembów commune for the second term. Rafał Mathiak has a dozen-year-long experience of working for corporations and he told his guests how he uses it in his social activity. He also emphasized that PAFF Leaders program helped him get prepared to holding his important function in the local government. Next he showed the guests around the library that he modernized using experiences gained during his visit to the USA under the International Visitor Leadership Program, to which he was qualified thanks to his participation in the “PAFF Leaders” Program.
The last item on the trip agenda was the meeting with participant of this-year’s round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program Renata Sowińska at the Historical Museum in Legionowo. Renata Sowińska showed the guests around the Museum where she works as the manager of Education and Projects Division. She also told them about her way to success which she achieved by applying to the “PAFF Leaders” Program. Renata Sowińska is a culture animator, cultural expert, local leader, and the winner of Innovative Culture Manager 2018 competition. Over the years 2014-2019 she was the director of the County Cultural Institution in Legionów. She conducts author meetings, promotes readership, initiates numerous public space actions, such as Book Exchange Zones, Outdoor Reading, or Books at the Beach. She was also a participant of the Initiatives group as part of the Library Development Program.
Andrew Nagorski presented all participants of the meetings with thank you gifts – his latest book 1941. The Year Germany Lost the War, each of them with his dedication.
Andrew Nagorski is PAFF Board of Directors Chairman, former Vice President and Director for Public Policy at East-West Institute, New York. For many years, he had also worked for Newsweek International as the Senior Editor and correspondent to Hongkong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. He is the author of many award-winning non-fiction publications.