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The Warsaw Voice » Other » June 25, 2008
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Message From the U.S. Ambassador
June 25, 2008   
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By Victor Ashe U.S. Ambassador to Poland

First I would like to express my deep condolences to the family of Irena Sendler, the Polish social worker and hero who saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II, who died in Warsaw on May 12 at the age of 98. This selfless woman remains an inspiration to humanity for her courage and generosity of spirit.

I would also like to express my sympathy to Heather Schaufele, the wife of the late William Schaufele, who served as U.S. ambassador to Poland from 1978 to 1980, who during his time here witnessed both the election by the Vatican of Cardinal Karol Wojty³a, archbishop of Cracow, as Pope John Paul II, and the rise of the Solidarity movement that eventually precipitated the fall of communism in Poland. Ambassador Schaufele died earlier this year in Salisbury, Connecticut.

May was a month of many accolades and awards. The Department of State honored El¿bieta Grodzka, Staff Nurse, 2nd Field Hospital, Polish Land Forces, as a finalist in its 2008 Award for International Women of Courage awards. Sergeant Grodzka is one of a small group of women worldwide who were nominated for their leadership and courage. In her case, Sergeant Grodzka voluntarily deployed four times to war-torn Iraq to serve her own country and help the people of Iraq.

Mid-month, the top five student winners of this year's Libros Lege Read Aloud Contest were awarded a trip to Chicago, where they will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of America.

President Bush awarded the Legion of Merit to Polish General Franciszek G±gor, for exceptionally meritorious service as the Chief of Staff of the Polish Armed Forces from February 2006 to May 2008, for his inspired leadership and extraordinary contributions to significantly enhance understanding, improve cooperation, and strengthen relations between the militaries of the Republic of Poland and the United States of America. And at the end of the month, I hosted a reception for heroic Polish World War II veterans. Over 300 attended.

We continued our discussions in early May with the Polish government on Polish military modernization with the visit of Ambassador Stephen Mull, the Department of State's Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs. One outcome of the visit was the establishment of working groups that will report on the critical areas of military modernization so that talks can move forward mid-summer. Also in security-related matters, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which is a multinational effort to halt illegal exchanges of materials that can be used to create weapons of mass destruction.

Both our commercial and agricultural offices at the embassy are sending representatives or delegations to the United States to promote exports to Poland and learn about U.S. technology related to biofuels. We have also been the recipients of exchange programs here at the embassy. Students from West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy recently visited Poland as part of cultural immersion programs.

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao visited Warsaw and Cracow in June along with several high ranking U.S. military officers.
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