The inauguration of the reunion took place at the Head Office of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation in Poland, where the scholarship holders were greeted by Renata Koźlicka-Glińska and Agnieszka Mazur from the PAFF, together with Agata Wierzbowska-Miazga and Urszula Sobiecka from the Leaders of Change Foundation. During that meeting, the scholarship holders learned about the nearly 20-year history of the Kirkland Program and other international projects of the PAFF, e.g. the “Region in Transition” (RITA) and “Study Tours to Poland” (STP) programs.
The Kirklanders also had the opportunity to listen to the lecture of Ambassador Jan Ross, professor of the Centre for East European Studies of the University of Warsaw, who talked about the history, success and difficulties of the Polish system transformation, and to meet with Ambassador Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz and the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Tomasz Orłowski, Deputy Director of the Eastern Department and Marek Kuberski, Deputy Director of the Department of the Development Cooperation.
The Ukrainian scholarship holders also visited the Embassy of Ukraine, where they met with Andriy Deshchytsia, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland.
A traditional part of every reunion is the exchange of experiences with an alumnus of the Kirkland Program. In Warsaw, the scholarship holders listened to Roman Kifliuk, an official of the Ukrainian National Broadcasting Council who had completed the scholarship 15 years ago, who spoke about the projects he started thanks to his stay in Poland.
The Kirklanders also visited the National Museum in Warsaw and saw the musical “The Pilots” in the Roma Musical Theater.
The objective of the program, implemented since 2000, is to share Polish experiences in transformation and European integration with representatives from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia during two-semester complementary studies at Polish universities. The program is currently addressed to candidates from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Each year, the program is participated by approx. 45 scholarship holders. Between 2000 and 2018, the program was completed by 789 scholarship holders from 11 countries.