Dear Members of PAHA,
It is with great delight that I address this letter to you in the newly assumed capacity of a President of the Polish American Historical Association. As the first President of PAHA who permanently lives and works in Poland I consider it a great personal honor and a sign of trust that Poland and its academics are free, independent and equal partners to their American colleagues.
As with any academic organization my primary task is to serve its membership.I am indebted to my esteemed predecessor – Dr. Grazyna Kozaczka - who provided an outstanding service to our organization and I hope I will be able to live up to standards she set for this position. I would like to welcome new council members who will be joining the PAHA Board for the term 2017-2018: Dr. Dominic Pacyga, Bożena Nowicka McLees, Dr. Joanna Wojdon; and thank these esteemed scholars who had completed their service. Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, Dr. Ann Gunkel, and Marta Cieślak all gave their time and skills to PAHA – a voluntary, professional organization established to study and promote the Polish American history and culture – Thank You!
I am taking over the presidency at the time PAHA is in excellent shape – thriving academically as evidenced by our conferences and the content of the peer-reviewed academic journal Polish American Studies proficiently edited by Dr. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann. With young and emerging scholars as well as fellow academics studying other ethnic groups joining us for the conferences and publications, PAHA’s network is expanding. At the same time interest in our activities among Polonia grows largely due to untiring efforts of our Communications Director Dr. Maja Trochimczyk. Our Facebook page maintained by Dr. Stephen Leahy has already attracted close to five thousand users.
Taking all of this into consideration, my main task is to keep the momentum going – with the help of the talent of our newly elected First Vice President – Dr. Anna Muller, management skills of our Executive Director – Dr. Pien Versteegh and the financial genius of Treasurer Dr. James Pula.
The new term opened with a PAHA Annual Conference held in Denver in January 2017. In addition to the most interesting papers delivered at the Convention Center, PAHA’s meeting in the “Mile-High City” meant also meeting the Polonia of Colorado. The PAHA Awards Ceremony was held at the Dom Polski in Denver. It’s president Katarzyna Zak opened the doors of the Polish Home to PAHA offering its outstanding hospitality to the members and invited guests of honor. With the assistance of the Polish consulate in Los Angeles (consul Ignacy Zarski) the awards ceremony was enriched with a concert by two Polish American musicians: Karolina Naziemiec and Robert Lewandowski.
Writing this letter in Gdansk, I have to add that I plan to use the opportunity resulting from my location to strengthen the already established bridges of academic collaboration to promote PAHA and its accomplishments among wider audiences in Poland.PAHA’s mid-year meeting will take place in Kraków in conjunction the 6th World Congress of Polish Studies which will be held on June 16-18, 2017 in Krakow. PAHA is also co-sponsoring a conference organized by the Emigration Museum in Gdynia on September 21-22, 2017 which will be entirely devoted to the Polish diaspora in North America.
Should you have any ideas for the PAHA Board and Officers, or wish to initiate a project related to the Polish American experience - I certainly would like to hear from you. After all, any professional organization can only be as strong as its membership!
University of Gdansk, Poland
President of the Polish American Historical Association
NOTE: This letter is reprinted from the Spring 2017 Issue of PAHA Newsletter.