Monday, January 6, 2014

PAHA Announces its 2014 Awards at the 71st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

           
           PAHA President Thomas Napierkowski introduces Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf 
                         at the Opening Panel of PAHA 71st Meeting, with presenters, 
                           Dr. Maja Trochimczyk and Prof. Mary Patrice Erdmans.

On Friday, January 3, 2014 at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Polish American Historical Association announced the winners of the organization's annual awards.  The Awards Reception was hosted by Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S., Minister-Counselor Maciej Pisarski.  The Ambassador of Poland, Dr. Ryszard Schnepf opened the deliberations of PAHA during its first session on Friday morning at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. In his welcoming remarks the Ambassador underlined the importance of the PAHA mission to promote research and disseminate Polish-American history and culture. He highlighted an improvement in cooperation between US-based researchers and academics from Poland, and encouraged PAHA members to take part in celebrating in the important historical anniversaries in 2014: the 100th birthday of Jan Karski, the legendary Polish resistance emissary who brought the first accounts of the Holocaust to the world, and the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.  


   
At the Embassy, Poland's Minister-Counselor Maciej Pisarski welcomed the scholars and in his remarks emphasized the critical importance of historical research for Polish-American community in America and for Polish-American relations.  He reminded the audience about the important European anniversaries of 2014: the 25th anniversary of Poland's accession to the European Union and the 15th anniversary of membership in NATO.  


            Min. Pisarski welcomes PAHA, with Dr. Pien Versteegh, PAHA Executive Director.

PAHA President Thomas Napierkowski presided over the award ceremony. PAHA presented the annual Halecki Prize for the best book on a Polish American topic to Dr. Beth Holmgren, Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department Chair at Duke Universityfor her book "Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America", the annual Haiman Award for sustained scholarly effort in the field of Polish American Studies to Dr. Dominic A. Pacyga, and the annual Swastek Prize for the best article appearing in Polish American Studies to Dr. Anna Mazurkiwicz from the University of Gdańsk, as well as many other awards listed below. We congratulate all the winners for their achievements and well-deserved recognition.

Prof. Beth Holmgren (R) with Dr. Maja Trochimczyk (L)

Oskar Halecki Prize 
“Recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States”

Beth Holmgren, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012). 

Review by Maja Trochimczyk in the Polish American Studies (spring 2013) opens with: “this handsomely produced volume about Poland’s legendary actress is a must for every library and every Polonian home”. Kazimierz Braun who had authored a play devoted to Modjeska wrote: “this is an excellent and meticulously rendered book” (Modern Drama 56/2, 2013). Upon examination of the review copy provided by the publisher, the Awards Committee found the above-mentioned reviews very well grounded. In our opinion, this book deserves the Halecki Award for its merits and also bears the potential of promoting the story of Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska) among Polish-Americans as well as Polish and Polish-American heritage among the larger, non-ethnic audiences in the U.S. Beth Holmgren is the Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department Chair at Duke University.



Mieczyslaw Haiman Award
 “Offered annually to an American scholar for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans”

Dominic Pacyga – Professor of History, Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago

 Dr. Pacyga received his PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1981. He has published extensively about Polish Americans - especially immigrant and working class Polish Americans and their descendants - and with a focus on Chicago. Dr. Pacyga has lectured and written widely on a variety of topics including the Polish-Americans whose members worked in the stockyards and steel mills. His Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago (1991) throws real light on their experiences. Dr. Pacyga was the recipient of the Oscar Halecki Award from the Polish American Historical Association and of the Catholic Book Award. In 1999, he received the Columbia College Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has been a visiting Professor at both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In the spring of 2005, he was a Visiting Scholar in Campion Hall at Oxford University. Professor Pacyga is now in Kraków – as a Fulbright Lecturer at the Institute for American Studies and the Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University.


Amicus Poloniae Award
“Recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community”

Peter Hetherington

Peter Hetherington is a geologist by profession and author of Unvanquished – already a widely-acclaimed book that through a dynamic narrative chronicles Joseph Pilsudski’s life with a “stunning detail and impressive depth” – as one reviewer put it. Published in 2012 this 752-page book brings Pilsudski to life and with him the history of Poland and the region. The book had two editions in one year! It has been favorably reviewed and endorsed (among others) by Zbigniew Brzeziński and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz and has already received a number of recognitions. Hetherington’s description of the book reads: “Although not of Polish ancestry, I have come to appreciate Pilsudski and the Polish people with zeal of a convert, and hope that in some small measure this book will increase awareness of Poland's rich cultural heritage and her important contributions to Western civilization." His interest, effort, input and efficacy with no support in the Slavic profession make him a perfect candidate for the award recognizing friends of Poland.


Creative Arts Award
„Recognizes the contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas”

Julian Stanczak 

A Polish-born painter and printmaker is being recognized for his 70-year career in the arts and education and his unique gift for painting and insight into visual perception. He and his family - he was only 12 years old at the time - were all forcibly removed by the Soviet military to Central Asia following the Nazi-Soviet invasion and conquest of Poland in 1939. Stanczak escaped from Siberia, via Persia and Uganda reached England and then United States where he received a BA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and completed MFA at Yale. He has achieved wide acclaim and success despite the fact that since his incarceration in the USSR he’s permanently lost the use of his right arm (he used to be right-handed).

Julian Stanczak is recognized as one of the important pioneers in Op-Art. This term first appeared in print in Time magazine in October 1964 in response to Julian Stanczak's show Optical Paintings at the Martha Jackson gallery in New York. The year 2013-2014 has been announced “The Year of Stanczak Celebrations” by the Akron Museum of Art in Cleveland, the Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University Lectures & Exhibitions.

PAHA President Thomas Napierkowski

Skalny Civic Achievement Awards

“Honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA's goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish-American community and culture”

 Edward J. Dybicz United States Army veteran of the European Theatre of Operation during World War II (born 1923). Mr. Dybicz has been a tireless supporter of Polish and Polish-American activities in Pennsylvania and Delaware during the past fifty years. He has written numerous articles in the Polish American Journal and in the local newspapers, he is a member of the Polish-American Sacred Heart Church in Swedesburg, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 840 and the Disabled American Veterans Post 44. He is a member of the Montgomery County Historical Society and the Valley Forge Historical Society.


Susanne Lotarski formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of office of Eastern Europe, Russia and Independent State, U.S. Department of Commerce, devotes her skills and energy to serving the Polish-Americans and strengthening the links between the U.S. and Poland. Widely recognized on both continents, she was selected for the award for her activism in the Polish community in Washington, DC, and her leadership in the Polish American Congress (she is the Vice President for Public Relations), unwavering service to the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences, and for tireless organizing of conferences and workshops on various topics for scholars and students in the D.C. area.

Tony Muszynski is a founder and first Program Director of “Poland in the Rockies,” who served as President, and earlier as a Vice-President of the Polish Canadian Association of Calgary. He is Vice-President of both the Canadian Polish Congress (Western Canada) and the Canada-Poland Youth Internship Society. Muszynski works as an immigration lawyer, he leads the Athabasca Project for the Canadian Polish Congress, a project that has as its main goal significantly increasing skilled worker immigration to Canada from Europe.

Irene Tomaszewski, founding President of the Canadian Foundation for Polish Studies, she serves as Curriculum Director for the Canadian "Poland in the Rockies" summer educational program designed specifically for university students and young professionals. She is also the editor of I Am First a Human Being: The Prison letters of Krystyna Wituska and co-author of Zegota: The Rescure of Jews in Wartime Poland.


Wanda Urbanska (center-left) in conversation with 
representatives of Julian Stanczak and Bozena Nowicka-McLees

Wanda Urbanska – an author and television host mostly recognized for her program devoted to sustainable living called Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska. She has authored and co-authored nine books, published in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Natural Home, Mother Earth News and other papers. A blogger (atyourlibrary.org/wanda-urbanska) she is also a PR and political strategist. Dedicated to promoting the links between the U.S. and Poland, she was a Director of the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign. Its efforts culminated on May 29, 2012 as the Campaign succeeded in obtaining a Presidential Medal of Freedom for Polish Underground hero of World War II – Jan Karski. She is currently the President of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation.


The Polish Arts Club of Buffalo, Inc. founded almost 80 years ago (in 1945) is a non-profit organization that organizes an array of cultural programming (lectures, readings, musical and social events, film showings) to integrate, entertain and educate the Polish Americans as well as interested larger public about Poland’s culture and heritage. Members of the Arts Club meet at least once a month and hear talks on variety of topics related to Polish and Polish-American art, culture, and history. They periodically organize concerts, art shows, invite visiting scholars to their Club and even organize annual biesiadas in honor of their outstanding community members. Furthermore, they have devoted a considerable effort to preservation and promotion of the murals by Jozef Slawinski (the sgraffito technique) in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Always open to new contacts and expanding their network, in 2013 the PAC of Buffalo Inc. helped to organize PAHA midyear meeting in Buffalo and invited James Pula to give a talk to their members.


Prof. Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann with Dr. Theodore Zawistowski 

Distinguished Service Award 
“Given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization”

Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann

She is PAHA’s former President (2007-2009), and first Vice President (2004-2007), a former member of Awards Committee, Associate Editor of the Polish American Encyclopedia (ed. by James Pula), serves on the editorial board of Polish American Studies. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann teaches at the Eastern Connecticut State University, continuously rendering excellent service to PAHA; PAHA board member for many years she’s been instrumental in developing new strategies, alert in PAHA’s PR activities. Recipient of many prestigious awards –Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann has devoted her time and her skill to the organization caring for the study and promotion of the Polish-American history and culture with visible, positive results.



Swastek Prize
“Awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association”

 Anna Mazurkiewicz, "'Join, or Die'--The Road to Cooperation Among East European Exiled Political Leaders in the United States, 1949-1954."

The voters commented that this was “a meticulously researched article that was also well articulated so as to readily read by the type of general audience that Studies attracts. The Board found this to be an excellent treatment of an important subject in the recent history of Poland and Polonia that was solidly grounded in a wealth of original archival research. The questions raised in the article are appropriate and the analysis persuasive.”


Graduate Student Research Paper Awards
“Recognize outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences”


1. Marta Cieslak (Transnational Studies Department, SUNY at Buffalo), "Crossing the Boundaries of Modernity: The Transatlantic Journey of Polish Peasants to the United States."

This paper explores the pre-World War I transatlantic migration of Polish peasants to the United States and positions them within the transnational hierarchies of race, ethnicity and class, which, it argues, enabled the impoverished rural Poles to finally turn from the losers of modernity to its beneficiaries.


 2. Piotr Derengowski (Department of History, University of Gdansk, Poland), "Capt. Alexander Raszewski's Polish Legion and Other Less Known Polish Troops in the Union Army During the American Civil War."

 This paper argues that the involvement of Poles in the Civil War was significant, and though organization of a entirely Polish unit during the war proved to be impossible, many units were either organized by Poles, or were called “Polish.” Had it not been for their dispersion - the author writes - there were enough Poles to raise several regiments, or possibly even a brigade.

 Both students attended the awards reception and presented their papers at the conference. Piotr Derengowski has just successfully defended his Doctoral Dissertation. Marta Cieslak will be finishing her work this year. Both awardees are Polish, one works on Polish American topics in Poland – one in the U.S.


Attendees of the Awards Ceremony (L to R). Front: Maja Trochimczyk, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Neal Pease, Wanda Urbanska, Susan Lotarski, Grazyna Kozaczka, Ambassador Rowny,Deputy Chief of Mission to the US, Minister-Counselor Maciej Pisarski, Anna Jaroszynska Kirchman, Helen Napierkowski, Beth Holmgren, Grazyna Zebrowska, Representatives of the Polish Club of Buffalo, Pien Versteegh. Back: Stanley Kozaczka, James Pula, M.B.B. Biskupski, Mary Patrice Erdmans, Tom Napierkowski, Ted Zawistowski, Tom Duszak, Marta Cieslak, Piotr Derengowski, Peter Hetherington, and other guests.

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