Over 170 people attended this year’s Polish-American Freedom Foundation Leaders’ Convention that was held in Falenty on June 10-11, 2022. The slogan of the Convention was Power and Diversity.
The event made also an opportunity to sum up the 17th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program. The alumni network was joined by 46 leaders and now it has almost 800 members.
Over two days the “PAFF Leaders” Program participants who came from all over Poland were taking part in activities aimed at integration and experience sharing – meetings and workshops related to this year’s Power and Diversity slogan.
“You can’t understand other person unless you first understand yourself. So let’s think on what makes the identity of each of us, and then we can try to look for a moment at the world around us from other perspective,” the experienced tutor of the “PAFF Leaders” Program, an expert in language studies and political sciences, and the “Study Tours to Poland” Program Director Ewa Romanowska of the Borussia Foundation said in her “I- You- We” lecture.
The issues of diversity, multiculturalism and building community in Poland were also discussed during workshops with other lecturers, that is Prof. Barbara Sobczak, the lecturer of rhetoric, conversation analysis and media discourse and public relations at the postgraduate course at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University, and Jacek Purski, the President of Social Security Institute, a journalist, an expert in political sciences, a social activist and an educator.
Very popular were also workshops conducted by alumni of PAFF Leaders program. Natalia Gierasiumiuk, the president of ONI-TO MY (They Means We) Foundation for building an open society, an alumnus of the 10th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program, presented the situation of Belarussian minority in Poland. Aleksandra Zińczuk of Lublin Community Aid to Ukraine Committee, a poet and writer, an alumnus of 10th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program spoke about challenges faced by Poland after the outbreak of war in Ukraine in the context of Polish-Ukrainian integration. The subject was also presented by Daria Lukianowa, vice president of Fundacja Integracji i Rozwoju Cudzoziemców w Polsce (the Foundation for Foreigners Integration and Development in Poland) and the founder of Lubuskie Center for Women in Exile, an alumnus of 15th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program who spoke about practical aspects of organizing refugee support center on the example of Gorzów Wielkopolski. Marcin Piotrowski, the director of Folkowisko and CieszFanów festivals, an alumnus of 15th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program and Maria Rajchel of European Association for Education and Development of Olsztyn, an alumnus of 10th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program spoke on building intercultural bridges.
A series of workshops titled Leaders for Leaders and conducted by the program alumni allowed for experience sharing. Agnieszka Ganiek, Karina Krystosiak, Aneta Majak, Łukasz Molski, Aleksandra Muzińska, Agata Otrębska, Agnieszka Pytlik and Dariusz Szczepankiewicz spoke about issues related to vision of leadership in the future, new forms of leadership, local cultural heritage, cooperation with seniors, and tolerance of other sexual orientations in small local communities.
The accompanying events included a workshop on Georgian cuisine conducted by Gagik Grigoryan, a social leader, culture educator and author of Cook with a Georgian blog, an alumnus of 13th round of the “PAFF Leaders” Program.
The “PAFF Leaders” is a program addressed to active participants of projects financed under various programs of Polish-American Freedom Foundation. Its objective is to support development of skills and qualifications of people acting for the good of their communities. The program is managed by the School of Leaders Foundation and offers its participants tutoring in form of permanent cooperation of a local leader with an experienced tutor.
As a result of the 17 rounds of the program, 792 local leaders all over Poland have improved their qualifications, an active national network was set up, and 67 specialists in tutoring method have been trained.