US scientists debate Polish heritage at PIASA Congress in Warsaw
June 24, 2014
Lives of such international Polish heroes as Jan Karski, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Lech Walesa were among the topics of the Fifth World Congress on Polish Studies held in Warsaw, June20-23, attended by more than 200 scientists from the US and Poland.
The Congress organizer, The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) set up in 1942 in New York by some of the most notable Polish scientists and artists of the time, aims at informing American audiences about Poland and its cultural heritage.
“PIASA is an intermediary in the contacts between Polish and American science,” prof. Michał Kopczyński from the Polish History Museum says about the organization.“The annual meetings and conferences which take place once every five years positively impact the image of Poland abroad,” he adds.
This year’s conference guests attended some 50 panel discussions during the three-day event at the Warsaw University. The debates covered such diverse fields as: literature, the history of Polish diaspora in the U.S. and its presence in the American political and cultural life, economics, biotechnology, and medicine.
On Friday, June 20, the guests visited the capital’s most important museums and cultural institutions, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Kopernik Science Center, and the Royal Castle Museum among others.
The series of debates started Saturday, June 21, with a plenary session devoted to Jan Karski, an underground emissary who reported about the Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland to the British and U.S. governments, later a naturalized U.S. citizen and professor at Georgetown University.
The event ended Monday, June 23, with a reception at the National Library where a special guest, a former Deputy Prime Minister and the father of Polish economic transformation after 1989, prof. Leszek Balcerowicz delivered a closing speech.