The Amicus Poloniae Award, established by PAHA in 2001, “recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community.”

2018: Dr. Stephanie Kraft

The 2018 Award was presented to Dr. Stephanie Kraft, a journalist who visited Poland for the first time 28 years ago and, after that visit, she decided to learn Polish. She is recognized as a translator of such novels as Emancypantki (Emancipated Women) by the 19th-century Polish novelist Boleslaw Prus, and Stone Tablets by Wojciech Zurkowski, and co-translated Marta by Eliza Orzeszkowa (2018). In one of her interviews, Stephanie Kraft said “I really want Polish literature to be better known… that’s really why I got involved in this.”

2017: Therese Clarke

Therese Clarke receives Amicus Poloniae Award from Dr. Mazurkiewicz. Photo by Marcin Szerle.

Therese Clarke was born in Buffalo NY to an Irish Father and French Mother. Therese graduated from D’Youville College with Honors in Buffalo NY and Majored in French Education. She was a career French Teacher in the Williamsville NY School District. A founding member, (the only original member actively involved since 1990) of the 1990 creation of Pomost International, a local organization which has been sending volunteers annually to Rzeszów, Poland, Buffalo's Sister City. Therese went to Rzeszów alone (not knowing any Polish) to make the arrangements. She returned 15 times as leader of the program. Since 1991 more than 125 Americans (many non-Poles) have gone to Poland to facilitate a two-week Intensive English Language and American Culture. Therese regularly attends the Chopin Singing Society Concerts, UB Polish Student’s Association, Polish American Congress of WNY & Polish Arts Club of Buffalo Wigilias and Swieconkas. Dyngus Day, Paczki Day, Dożynki, Kosciusko Foundation of Buffalo, Orchard Lake Seminary Fundraising, Polish Businesswomen's Association, Casimir Pulaski Association, Polish Genealogy Associations.

2016: Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II and Brenda Bruce

At the 74th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, PAHA presented its Amicus Poloniae Award to Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II and Brenda Bruce who co-founded the Paderewski Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014 ( Dr. Fountain, the President of the Festival, is a former administrator with the State of North Carolina and for more than 25 years he taught history at North Carolina State University. In 2008, Dr. Fountain was appointed as an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland. The Vice-President and Secretary of the Festival, Brenda Bruceis an accomplished pianist, harpsichordist, acclaimed teacher, and accompanist dedicated to the promotion of classical piano performance of the highest quality.

2015: Dr. Silvia Dapia

Dr. Silvia Dapia has provided significant service to Polonia and PAHA through her work on the Polish experience in Latin America. She guest edited a special edition of Polish American Studies on this topic and also guest edited a special issue of the Polish Review on the work of Witold Gombrowicz. Beyond this she has presented papers on Polish-related topics at PAHA and PIASA conferences as well as at the conference organized by Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz at the University of Gdansk. Further, she organized two complete sessions on Gomrbowicz for the Fifth World Congress on Polish Studies in Warsaw in 2014. (Papers from this conference formed the basis for her guest-edited issue of The Polish Review.) In her position on the organizing committee for a 2014 conference on Gombrowicz held at the National Library in Buenos Aires she was able to obtain invitations for three prominent Polish scholars to participate, and she solicited papers for the completion of The Polish Review issue on Gombrowicz.

2014: Terry Tegnazian

Ms. Tegnazian was recognized for her devotion to printing books about Poland in World War II which nurture interest in and have an impact on the perception of Poland and Poles among the American audiences. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II as a result of research for a book she was working on abou
t a Polish airman in the Battle of Britain. Reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders, she was moved by the stories of the Poles’ incredible courage during World War II—an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. Terry co-founded Aquila Polonica Publishing because she felt it was important that such lost stories be restored to history and the wider public.

2013: 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-pages-long 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.

2012: Harlan J. Berk
Harlan J. Berk, founder and president of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., Chicago, IL, was the person who noticed that items brought to his business for sale had come from the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. He did the right thing and notified authorities, thereby setting in motion the recovery of some $5 million worth of irreplaceable artifacts missing from the Polish Museum collections

2011: Dr. Pien Versteegh

Director for Strategic Projects at Tilburg University, Holland, Dr. Pien Versteegh has published works on the Polish migrant workers in western Europe and in the United States in the last decade of the 19th century, and first decades of the 20th century. As Executive Director of PAHA (since 2007), Dr. Pien Versteegh has effectively performed all of the administrative functions of the organization.

2010: Ieva Zake

Dr. Ieva Zake of Rowan University (New Jersey) published research work in a field that is central to the mission of  PAHA. That is, her work deals with the place of organized American ethnic groups, particularly those from east and central Europe, in the making of U.S.  foreign  policy.

2009: Stephen Leahy

Dr. Leahy has also held several important positions within PAHA. Most notably, he has served as editor of the PAHA newsletter, our organization’s most important direct communication tool with its members and, until resigning in 2007, he provided notable service on the PAHA Awards committee.

2008: Sean Martin 

Dr. Martin’s academic interests lie in Polish-Jewish relations. He is Associate Curator for Jewish History at the Western Reserve Historical Society and teaches at the University of Phoenix. His recent book, Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918-1939 (London: 2004) received critical acclaim and he is currently working on a history of Jewish child welfare in interwar Poland.

2007: Joel Wurl
A Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C., Joel Wurl is recognized for his longtime service at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota. While at IHRC he filled various positions, including Head of Research Collections and Associate Director. Due to his initiatives, many priceless manuscript collections produced by Polish American organizations were acquired by IHRC and made available to researchers. His nominator states that “anybody who has ever done research at the IHRC can attest to Joel Wurl’s invaluable assistance.”

2006: Gillian Berchowitz

Ms, Berchowitz is senior editor and assistant director of Ohio University Press, having worked with the firm more than 20 years. She is a native of Capetown, South Africa, of Latvian/Jewish background. She helped develop and has been essential to the success of OUP’s Polish and Polish-American Studies Series, which has produced numerous award winning volumes.

2005: David McGonagle and Susan Needham

The Catholic University Press of America for publishing: Waclaw Kruszka, Hisotrya Polska w Ameryce. 4 vols. Translated by Krystyna Jankowski. Edited by James S. Pula. Baltimore: Catholic University of America Press, 1993-2001. This work translated Kruszka’s 1901-1904 newspaper articles chronicling the history of Polish communities in America. David McGonagle and Susan Needham were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.

2004: Rudolph Vecoli

Rudolph J. Vecoli of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota has provided international leadership in documenting and preserving Polish American history, most recently through his active promotion of the Polish American Studies Fund to support the Polish American Collection at IHRC.

2003: Laurie Winters

Ms. Laurie Winters - Curator of Earlier European Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum, for organizing the outstanding exhibition, “Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendors of Poland.”

2001: Rev. William Wolkowich-Valkavicius

Rev. William Wolkowich-Valkavicius was recognized for his extensive published research on Lithuanian American history, religious life in America, national self-identification, and relations with other immigrant an ethnic groups, especially Polish Americans. His work appeared in Polish American Studies and his scholarship has been recognized by the government of the Republic of Lithuania. Father Wolkowich-Valkavicius’ scholarship on the Lithuanian American experience illuminates the Polish experience in America as well. 


Since 1989, PAHA's 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.  The awards are named after the Skalny Family (Aniela, Anna, Ben, John and Joseph) that donated the funds to support this award.


Stephen Kusmierczak

1. Stephen Kusmierczak made numerous contributions to the flourishing of Polish and Polish American culture: he serves on the Board of the Polish Museum of America and together with his wife Jamie actively invests time and funds for its advancement. Among the various charitable organizations and cultural institutions are the Gift of the Heart Foundation and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

2. Joseph A. Drobot Jr.’s devotion to the cause of sustaining Polish-American communities spans over 50 years. Born in Detroit, he serves a number of esteemed economic institutions in Michigan, including the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. He also serves as the Chairman of the Executive Board of The Polish Museum of America.

3. Edward Rajtar Edward Rajtar has been the Artistic Director, choreographer and dancer for the Dolina Polish Folk Dancers in the Twin Cities area, Minnesota, for the past 22 years; he also established dance groups for children and teenagers. He served on the board of directors of the the Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas. In the 1980s and 90s, Rajtar served as president of the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota (PACIM). Under his direction, PACIM represented the Polish community at the annual Festival of Nations in the Twin Cities and established a Polish Library.Since 2008, Edward Rajtar became one of the founding members of a tremendously popular Twin Cities Polish Festival, which for a few days in August gathers audiences of several thousand people from Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest to celebrate the Polish culture. Rajtar served as both co-chair and chair of the Festival, which is now in its tenth year.

Mary Lou Wyrobek

4. Mary Lou Wyrobek received the Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. There is not enough space to mention all the initiatives she has been involved in, Mary Lou Wyrobek arranged many concerts by local and internationally recognized Polish artists, coordinated movie festivals and exhibits, as well as various scholarly events. Since 2007, she has also served as the President of the Central Administration of the Polish Singers Alliance of America.

Anne Gurnack

5. Anne Gurnack has undertaken a number of efforts to mobilize both the Polish American community and to engage the Polish institutions to study, protect and promote Kaszub heritage in Milwaukee. She fostered cooperation between the Milwaukee Public Library and the Emigration Museum and contributed to the international cooperation between the Universities of Gdańsk and Wisconsin - Parkside. The hours of lobbying, perseverance and commitment extended to our students made this exchange a success.


Jerald Rachfal 

For many years now, Jerry Rachfal has been a recognized leader of the Rochester, NY Polonia. He has been associated with the  Polish Historical Society of Rochester, NY and currently serves as board member of this organization taking an active role in promoting Polish history and culture. As a close associate of Dr. Frederic Skalny, he has also been associated with the Skalny Foundation and Charitable trust. Jerry Rachfal's commitment to serving others goes beyond his involvement with the Polish American organization. He is a former member of Boler School of Business Advisory Committee at his Alma Mater, John Carrol University and together with his wife Janice Rachfal, works with the Flower City Habitat for Humanity in Rochester, NY.

Robert Synakowski (center) with Prof. Neal Pease. Dr. Ewa Barczyk, Prof. Grazyna Kozaczka, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, Mr. Stanley Kozaczka. Photo by Marcin Szerle.

Robert Synakowski 

Robert Synakowski has dedicated his life to promoting Polish American culture and serving Polish American communities in New York State and nationwide. As the President of The Polish Home in Syracuse, NY he works tirelessly to both secure the physical well- being of this historic home and to make it into a welcoming educational space for Polish Americans and their friends. Under the directorship of Robert Synakowski, The Polish Home became a new location for the Polish Heritage Society of Syracuse which Robert also leads as its president. His focus on education is also evidenced in his involvement with The Polish Scholarship Fund which annually awards college scholarships to students of Polish descent. Robert Synakowski also serves his second term as a PAHA board member and as the First Vice-president of American Council for Polish Culture, a national organization uniting groups and individuals in cities across the United States in promoting Polish culture, heritage and history, and intercultural understanding.


Marta Alicja Swica

Marta Alicja Swica of Minneapolis, MN, a former Business Manager, Scholarship Program Chair, and member of the Executive Board of the Polanie Club Minneapolis and St. Paul, an important cultural association of Polish women, active since the 1927 and distinguished through their vast publishing activities. After the dissolution of the Club, Ms. Swica led the effort to secure its historical records and successfully negotiated their placement at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, and the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

Honorary Consul Tomasz Skotnicki

Tomasz Skotnicki Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Denver, CO, since 2005, is strongly linked to local Polonia communities, first in Santa Barbara where he organized Polish community events to celebrate national holidays. In Colorado, he co-organizes visits of representatives of Polish government including President Lech Walesa, organizes consular events, cooperates with the Polish Club and the Kosciuszko Foundation. Mr. Skotnic
ki actively promotes Polish culture and history and helps Poles who are in need.

Katarzyna Zak

Katarzyna Zak, President of the Polish Club in Denver, who has made numerous contributions to the promotion of Polish culture and activities of local Polish society, including numerous events, support for the Polish library, and more. She is a member of the Polonia Council convened by the Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Kanski and Vladek Juszkiewicz 

President of the Polish American Film Society, Elizabeth Kanski and Artistic Director of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, Vladek Juszkiewicz,  recognized by the 2016 Skalny Award for their work as organizers of the Film Festival, held in Los Angeles for the past 16 years and promoting Polish cinema and international film collaborations ( through hundreds of screenings, lectures, and panel presentations in Los Angeles and Orange County, in collaboration with CSUN, USC, UCLA and other partners.


Dr. KAREN MAJEWSKI was recognized for her unwavering efforts to revitalize Hamtramck, one of America’s oldest and most interesting Polonia’s communities located in the heart of Detroit. Her efforts include preserving and promoting Polish cultural heritage in this community. Majewski was elected Hamtramck’s first woman mayor in 2005, since then re-elected twice (2009, 2013). Former executive director of PAHA, she has also organized exhibits devoted to the Polish presence in Detroit, published works related to the Polish-American identity, and continues to work on community revitalization programs.  She is also being recognized for her work as the Curator, of Polish and Rare Books at Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. Dr. Majewski has previously received the 2004 Halecki Award for her book Traitors and True Poles:Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003). The book was also recognized by the Kulczycki Prize in 2000 for its unique contribution to the history of Polish-American literature. In 2001 she organized the Detroit Historical Museum exhibit, The Polish Presence in Detroit. Dr. Majewski is also the Piast Institute Fellow and a Board Member of the Dekaban Foundation.

Mr. TIMOTHY J. KUZMA of Pittsburgh was honored with the Skalny Award for his many faceted, highly productive, and forward looking work as President of the Polish Falcons of American fraternal, his guidance in making the Falcons publication an outstanding fraternal vehicle promoting the Polish heritage that it is, and for his impressive work in making the March 2014 Polish American Summit of national Polonia leaders a success.

Mr. FRANK MILEWSKI of New York – Chair of the Anti-Bigotry and Holocaust Documentation Committees of the Polish American Congress was recognized  with the Skalny Award for his continuing and longtime efforts as a Polish American Congress activist in New York, notably his time-consuming work of monitoring American mass media for themes related to Poland and the Polish American community, correcting  errors, and fighting defamatory comments in a professional and informed manner.

Dr. ALEKSANDRA ZIOLKOWSKA-BOEHM received the Skalny Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. Ziółkowska-Boehm is a Polish born writer who now lives in the United States. Her widely acclaimed works published in English deal mostly with the Polish experience in Second World War.

Dr. ALEX STOROZYNSKI was presented with the Skalny Award for his past leadership of the Kosciuszko Foundation. Due to his efforts and incentive, the Kosciuszko Foundation moved its operations and communications system to the 21-st century. Modernization, enhanced efficiency, greater outreach must also be paired with his widely read and very well publicized biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko which has generated renewed interest and appreciation of Kosciuszko as an American and Polish hero of historic stature.


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 thePolish 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, a 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 the letters 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, 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, the Washington Post, the Chicago TribuneNatural HomeMother Earth News and other . A blogger ( 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.


Mary S. Anselmo. President of the Illinois State Division of the Polish American Congress and Member of the PAC Council of National Directors. Mary deserves recognition for her dedicated leadership as president of the Illinois PAC. Of further note is her service on the special national PAC committee that successfully revised the Mission Statement of the Polish American Congress in 2011 to take into account the Congress's duties and goals in the world of free and democratic Poland, one of America's staunchest allies in NATO.

David Motak. A graduate of Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, has actively and continuously promoted Polish culture in a host of ways over the years. He even traveled to Asia in December 2011 to educate countless people about Polish Christmas customs. Motak is also the highly talented editor of the Polish Falcon fraternal magazine. This outstanding multi-color 32 page fraternal publication appears six times a year and is filled with interesting information about Poland past and present, the Polish American heritage, and Polish Falcons activities. His work has helped make this fraternal publication one of the best in the Polish American community.

Lady Blanka A. Rosenstiel has worked effectively to raise funds for causes like the Polish Cultural Center in Washington, District of Columbia,and for the establishment of the Kosciuszko Chair in Polish History, initially established at the University of Virginia. She served as president of the American Council of Polish Cultural Clubs and was an agent of change in promoting the advancement of this organization, now the American Council for Polish Culture.

Dr. Roman Solecki. Retired professor of mechanical engineering from University of Connecticut,prof. Solecki is the author of a popular website “Prominent Poles,” an active participant of Polish cultural internet discussion groups, and a tireless defender of Poland’s goodname in the internet and the American media.

Dr. Ewa Thompson. Professor Ewa Thompsonof Rice University, a scholarly specialist in the field of Polish literature, is the founder and Editor of the Sarmatian Review, which since 1981 has taken up a host of subjects relevant to Poland, Polonia, and Polish American studies, always in an engaging thought-provoking fashion.


Ewa Barczyk. Director of the Golda Meir Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a longtime supporter of Polish cultural activities at the Library and University and President of Polanki, the Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Milwaukee, one of this country’s most active community groups.

Maria Ciesla. Director of the Polish Museum of America has been very effective  in the work of the Polish Museum  of  America which is associated with the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and includes major collections and holdings dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Polish artists, writers,  politicians,  and community activists.

Dr. Bożena Nowicka McLees and Dr. Frank Kujawiński of Loyola University of Chicago, developers of their  university's Polish Studies program.  The late Dr. Frank Kujawiński and Dr.Bożena Nowicka McLees have been successfully active in their work  to expand Polish  Studies program at Loyola.

Paul Odrobina. Vice President of the  Polish National Alliance and past president of the Michigan Division of the Polish American Congress is involved with his organization’s cultural outreach and before assuming vice presidency of the PNA was very active in cultural matters in Detroit.

Hon. Aurelia Pucinski. Member of the  Appellate  Court of the State of Illinois, was recognized as a  leader in the Chicago Polonia, supportive of cultural matters in Polonia, and perhaps the most visible culturally active  elected  public  official  of Polish heritage in Illinois.
Sharon Zago. Vice President of the Polish Women's Alliance of America has long been a strong promoter of fraternal involvement in community cultural matters. 

St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital of Chicago, founded by Frances  Siedliska in 1894 to serve the city's Polish community,  ministers to people  of all races, creeds, and national origins. In 1902, Dziennik Chicagoski labeled it the "Pride of Polonia Chicagoska." The hospital has, over the years, promoted  Polish identity and culture in innumerable ways.

Gabriela Pawluś Kasprzak, Krystyna Cap, and Mark Kohan were recognized for their meritorious contributions to The Polish American Encyclopedia. Gabriela Pawluś Kasprzak authored an essay on the Polish experience  in Canada. Krystyna Cap authored more than two dozen excellent entries. Editor Mark Kohan provided the entire back files of the Polish American Journal to assist in identifying possible entries  and locating specific information.


Jacek Galazka, Hippocrene Publishers (New York). Past president of the Pilsudski Institute was recognized for his activities on behalf of the Piłsudski Institute and other Polonia ventures.

Joseph Gore, past president of the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York, for his strong support of The Polish American Encyclopedia and his support of the PAHA as a whole.

Jane Kedron, for her many years of work at the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America in New York and at the TatrzańskiOrzeł magazine.

Neil Mesick and Congressman John Lescoe of the Pulaski Citizenship Club for their efforts to commemorate the contributions of Poles in the Willimantic and Windham area and to preserve historical heritage of Polish Americans in Connecticut.

Polish and Polish American Studies Program, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain Connecticut, for its invaluable contribution to the field oven many years.

Jonathan Shea, founder, Polish Genealogy Society of Connecticut and co-author of numerous reference works on Polish American genealogy, for his work in helping Polonia study and cherish their Polish roots.


Richard Kobzi, past National Director o f the Polish National Alliance and a dedicated activist in the areas of Polish dance and culture.We honored his active service to the Polish community.

Richard Widerynski has served as a  leader of the PNA in Southern California for seven years and as president of the PAC  of Southern California for 8 years. He has been  an active PAHA member and aided in the development  of a monument honoring Ignacy Paderewski. He was honored  for  his  service  to  the Polonia community.

Dr. Paul Knoll – Professor Emeritus at USC Dornsife College of Arts and Letters, outstanding scholar in Polish and Medieval History and a longtime member  of the Board of Directors of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. We recognized his  manifold contribution to scholarly and intellectual life of American Polonia.

The Polish Music Center (PMC) at the University of Southern California is a research and information center devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge about all aspects of Polish music to researchers,students,and music lovers.ThePMC houses the largest collection of Polish music in the U.S. and is the only center at an American university devoted solely to Polish music. Founded in1985 by its key benefactors, the late Dr.Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk, the PMC collects manuscripts, books, music, and other publications about Polish music, publishes books, journals, newsletters, and organizes a full range of special events.


Peter Obst. Mr. Obsthas been active in preserving and promoting knowledge of Polish American history in Pennsylvania. He has worked with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to ensure that historical makers were erected to figures such as Pulaski and Polish-born engineer Ralph Modjewski “America’s greatest bridge builder”.  He was also a key member of the Pulaski Re-interment Committee and is prominent in Philadelphia Polonia affairs.

Janusz Bruks. Mr. Bruks has been active in various Poloniaorganisations and recently was involved in the establishment of a permanent display on the Kosciuszko Squadron at the Connecticut Air Museum. He is also the printer for the PAHA newsletter and has been of invaluable aid to the organization.

Addy Tymczyszyn. Ms. Tymczyszyn has been the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Scholarship & Grants for Americans Program Officer for many years. In her work at the Foundation, Ms. Tymczyszyn has overseen the administration of a program that has aided thousands of students of Polish-American descent pay for the costs of undergraduate or graduate education. She also coordinates the Summer Study Abroad program, which fosters Polish language study for Americans through 3 to 8 week courses given in either Krakow or Lublin.


Alexander & Patricia Koproski. Alexander and Patricia Koproski were integral in founding the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C. and have provided assistance in helping endow the Polish Studies program at CCSU. Over the past years, both Alexander and Patricia’s work on behalf of the Polish-American community has been nationally and internationally recognized. Recently, both Alexander and Patricia were awarded the Krzyzem Kwalerskim Orderu Zaslugi Rzeczypospolitej (Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland) by the Polish government. Alexander Koproski has also been the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Dr. Kaya Mirecka-Ploss. Active in popularizing Polish culture in the United States, Dr. Mirecka-Ploss served as executive director of the American Center of Polish Culture, serving from 1991-2005. Currently, she is executive director of the Jan Karski Institute. She has been active in popularizing Polish culture in the US through radio programs and cultural centers. Dr. MireckaPloss has also worked tireless on behalf of children and has sponsored two-week “Dream Holidays” for young Poles to visit the United States. In carrying out this project, she worked with the former Polish first lady Jolanta Kwaśniewska and approximately 180 children have so far benefited from this program. In 2006, a school in Poland was named after her and she presently oversees the Kaya MireckaPloss Silesian Children's Foundation to aid handicapped children.

Amb. Edward Rowny. Ambassador Rowny is a highly decorated United States Army General and former Chief United States Strategic Arms Negotiator who was awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal by President Reagan and honored by the Polish government with the Commander’s Cross (for returning Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s remains to Poland) and the Commander's Cross with Star (for promoting American-Polish relations). Since retiring from government, Ambassador Rowny has worked to promote a greater awareness among the American public of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and recently created the Paderewski scholarship program. This program is designed to advance closer ties between the United States and Poland by enabling potential young Polish leaders to attend leadership training programs at Georgetown University. 

Kathy Urbanic. Kathleen Urbanic has been documenting the history of Rochester's Polish community since the 1980s.  Shoulder to Shoulder, her comprehensive study of Rochester Polonia, was originally published in 1991 and reprinted in a new edition in 2000.  Her work has also appeared in Polish American Studies, PNCC Studies, Rochester History, the Gannett Rochester newspapers, and other publications. In 2006 Kathy organized an exceptional exhibit in Rochester entitled: “Under the Wings of the White Eagle: Rochester’s Polish American Heritage.”

American Polish Advisory Council (APAC) The American Polish Advisory Council (APAC) was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in the District of Columbia on January 21, 2003. One of the most important early projects undertaken by APAC was the Polish American Platform, a consensus-based agenda of community issues, signed by over 300 Polish American organizations. The 2004 Platform was discussed with both Democratic and Republican representatives and received a formal response from both presidential candidates. The organization is currently chaired by Lt. Gen. Ambassador Rowny.


Elzbieta and Krzysztof Krawczynski.Holders of both MD and PhD degrees, the Drs. Krawczynski have resided in Atlanta since 1984. They have organized many Polish cultural events, and are active in the Polish Catholic Apostolate in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In 1940 Elzbieta, her mother, and grandmother were deported to Kazakhstan; in 2006 she received the Siberian Cross from the government of the Republic of Poland.

Dorota Lato Folkert. Born and educated in Poland, Ms. Lato immigrated to the United States. Since settling in the Atlanta area, she and her husband, Piotr Folkert, have contributed greatly to Polish musical and cultural events, notably in connection with the 1996 Olympics. They are co-founders of the Chopin Society of Atlanta, a musical series developing a national reputation.

Lee J. Meyer.Mr. Meyer is a prominent Savannah architect, associated with the firm of Meyer and Heitmann. He served as co-chair of the Savannah Pulaski Committee at the time of the Pulaski reinterment ceremonies in 2005.

Edward Pinkowski. A noted authority on Polish American history, Edward Pinkowski holds the dual distinction of having discovered the Kosciuszko residence in Philadelphia and the grave of General Pulaski near Savannah. He is a recipient of numerous honors, including the 1989 PAHA Haiman Award.

Bozena Zaremba. A resident of the Atlanta area since 1999, Ms. Zaremba has served the Polish community in the metropolitan area in diverse ways ever since. Notable among her activities, she initiated Bajecznik, a weekly get-together for Polish speaking pre-school children and their mothers.


Michael Blichasz. Michael Blichasz is President of the Eastern Pennsylvania State Division of the Polish American Congress, and President of the Polish Cultural Center in Philadelphia. Each October, he chairs the national celebration of Polish American Heritage Month.

Feliks Bruks, N.J. (posthumous). Feliks Bruks was a longtime Polonia leader on the east coast, and was active in many organizations. Born in Poland, he was President of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi and Soviet Concentration Camps, and in 2004 received the second highest civilian award bestowed by the Third Polish Republic. Mr. Bruks died in June 2005.

Hilary Czaplicki. Hilary Czaplicki has been active in Polonia affairs for more than forty years. He has served as National Censor of the Polish National Alliance since 1975, and as an officer of the Polish American Congress. For 12 years, he was a member of the Board of Alliance College.

Eugene Golomb. Eugene Golomb is President of the Polonia Civic Center in Rochester, New York, which he has served for over three decades in various capacities. Aside from his activities on behalf of Polish and Polish American culture, he was instrumental in developing partnerships between Rochester and Krakow in the fields of medicine and business.

Regina Gorzkowska-Rossi. Regina Gorzkowska-Rossi is Philadelphia correspondent for Nowy Dziennik, and a prominent figure in Polish literary and artistic affairs in the Philadelphia area. She is President and founder of Pro Arte Associates, an artistic and literary agency. She is currently promoting the work of her husband, Jacques Rossi, as a Gulag artist.

Michael Leach.Michael Leach is Chair of the Krakow-Rochester Sister Cities Committee. He has been active in local Rochester Polonia circles since the early 1980s. Since that time he has given generously of his time to support everything from academic courses to polka fests in the Rochester community.

Deborah Majka.Deborah Majka of Philadelphia is Vice President for Cultural Affairs of the Polish American Congress. She is President of the American Council for Polish Culture, founded in 1948 to coordinate a network of Polish cultural organizations in the United States.

Frederic Skalny. Frederic Skalny is President of the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester. A founder, guiding light, and financial backer of this organization, through it he helped bring together several groups on the verge of extinction into a single viable association to promote Polish and Polish American history, culture, and the arts in the Rochester area.

Boguslaw W. Winid, Charge d’Affaires, Polish Embassy, Washington, D.C. 


Polish Home Association of Seattle. ( When the Poles of Seattle opened the Polish Home in 1920, their initial intention was to provide a comfortable space for meetings and social events. However, the needs of World War I refugees and the dramatic impact of the Great Depression meant the Polish Home took on additional duties. By 1937, when the building was damaged by fire, the community rallied to rebuild and soon added a new Immigration Committee, just in time to aid refugees from World War II. In 1983, the Polish Home expanded its mandate once again to host the Solidarity Association which supported the Solidarity movement. When arsonists struck in 1993, the building was restored. The Polish Home hosts the Polish School in Seattle (Szkola Polska im. JuliuszaSłowackiego) which offers weekly classes in Polish language, history, and geography in small age-appropriate groups. Other projects supported by the Polish Home include Radio Wisła, the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Committee and the University of Washington Polish Studies Fund. In addition to the fund-raising efforts of the Polish Home Foundation, popular Friday night dinners and an active Ladies Auxiliary have been important in underwriting the activities of the Polish Home into the twenty first century.

Tom Podl. Mr. Podl explained to a reporter for the Seattle Intelligencer, how he regards his world-class collection of Polish art. “It is not owned by me,” he said. “This art was owned by many other people. To say it’s mine would be selfish. It belongs to the artists.” Mr. Podl has used his collection to introduce others to Polish culture and the historical context in which the artists worked. His passion for sharing the beauty and insights in this art extends to all sorts of audiences, from local neighborhood exhibitions (in restaurants and at ethnic events) to the Frye Museum, and the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. The collection includes works by major Polish artists such as Jacek Malczewski, Aleksander Kotsis, Olga Boznańska, Josef Pankiewicz, Wojciech Weiss and Józef Chełmoński as well as dozens of other nineteenth and twentieth century artists. One indication of the value of this collection for art historians is that the curators of the National Museum in Krakow arranged for a major exhibit of the paintings in Poland in 2001. Tom Podl continues to travel, research and build his collection and to make it available to raise appreciation for Polish culture across the language barrier.

Ron and Martha Golubiec. Mr. and Mrs. Golubiec are proof that a love of one's own homeland culture and an appreciation for local community is compatible with an outgoing, open-minded, global perspective. They are at once the most modern of American citizens, living in a port city open to the world and protectors of precious Old World traditions that give texture and meaning to daily life. Having settled in Seattle, they generously have directed their energies, language skills, international experience and professional talents to the community around them. Thus it is no surprise that they took a leading role in raising public awareness of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s and later in creating the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association. Martha has also served as the president of the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce and is an articulate advocate for pedestrian-friendly communities. She and Ron bring those same values to their work for the Polish Home where both have taken leadership roles, Ron serving as president of the Polish Home and Martha leading the Ladies Auxiliary. Their lives are a good example of the ways that Polish American community and the great American mosaic, that the local and global, energize each other.


Leonard Baldyga. Mr. Baldyga is a former Senior U.S. Foreign Service officer. He is also active in various Polish and international organizations including being a member of the Executive committee, a board member of the National Polish American Jewish Council; a board member of International Research and Exchange Board, a US-based nonprofit organization committed to international education in academic research. He is also on the board of the PIASA, and the Public Diplomacy Institute

Col. Casimir Lenard. Colonel Casimir Lenard is a war veteran, a seasoned lobbyist and a long-time Polish community leader from the Washington metropolitan area. He became the first National Executive Director of the Polish America Congress, Washington D.C. Office in July 1970; he continued to with his wife Myra Lenard in the office during the 1980s, and after her death he was again appointed the director.

Dr. John Lenczowski. Dr. Leczowski is a strong anti-communist activist. He is the Director of the Institute of World Politics and his prior positions include Director of European and Soviet Affairs for the National Security Council and Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. His areas of expertise include communism, foreign policy and international relations.

Ted & Irena Mirecki. Mr. and Mrs. Mirecki are prominent leaders of the Polish American Congress, Washington Metropolitan Area Division. Ted is the President of the Executive Committee, and Irena is the Corresponding Secretary. Together they are editors of the popular email newsletter of the PAC Washington Metro Division.

Dr. Estelle Wachtel Von Torres. Dr. Wachtel von Torres is a long-time activist in Polonia. She is presently the President of the Polish American Arts Association of Washington, DC and former director of the American Council of Polish Culture.

Marcin Zmudzki. Mr. Zmudzki is an interpreter and translator as well as editor of the popular email newsletter Polish Global Village. He is also the regional editor of the Web site, and webmaster of the Polish - the home page for the Polish community of the Washington metropolitan area.

Joseph Frugal. Mr. Furgal is a retired teacher who has been active in Polonia affairs in central New York. An officer in numerous Polish civic, religious, and veterans societies, he has played a leading role particularly in the continued existence of the Gen. Casimir Pulaski Society and the Kopernik Memorial Association. In addition, Mr. Furgal donated to Utica College a substantial endowment specifically for Polish studies to be used to obtain books, sponsor events, and support a scholarly exchange with Poland.


Victor and Irena Barczyk (Chicago) - For many years the Barczyks,who were teachers in Poland before coming to the Chicagoafter World War II, have been deeply involved in organizingthe city’s Saturday school movement.

Maria Teresa Chwojko (Park Ridge, Ill.)- librarian, archivist,and Artist in Residence of the PolishWomen’s Alliance of America fraternal society.

Zygmunt Dyrkacz (Chicago) – founder and director of the Chopin Theater of Chicago.

Christopher Kurczaba - leader of the Illinois Division of the PolishAmerican Congress. 

Leszek Kuczynski– Executive Director of the Polish American Congress and dedicated defender of the rights of the thousands of World War II victims of Nazi tyranny who were forced into brutal slavery or forced labor.

Jan Loryś (Chicago) - Executive Director of the Polish Museum of America and dedicated student of thePolish “Blue Army” of World War I.

Msgr. Stanley Milewski (Orchard Lake, Mich.) - Chancellor Emeritus of theOrchard Lake Schools and long-time leader of theAmerican clergy in building appreciation of the Polish Catholic heritage in America.

Joseph Zurawski- past editor of NaródPolski, Polonia fraternal activist, and dedicated builder of knowledge of the Polish American experience.

1989- 2001

2001: Michael Krolewski (Detroit), Rev. Walter Madej (Utica), Kathleen Urbanic, (Rochester), Wojciech and Maria Przezdziecki (Rochester),  Wanda Tomczykowska (San Francisco)

2000: Rev. Anthony Iwuc, Irene Grabowy, Dr. Anthony Bajdek, Irene Pipes

1999: Maria Lorys, Lucyna Migala, Paul Valasek,      Frank Spula, Jerry Kucharski, Rev. Frank Philips

1998: American Council for Polish Culture, Edward Pinkowski, Cecelia Patalita (Utica, N.Y.), and Chester Rog (Minneapolis)

1997: Dr. Anatol Dekeban and the Polanie Club of Minneapolis

1996: Maria Chrypinska (Orchard Lake, Mich.)

1995: Rose Parulski (Wilno, Minn.)

1994: Wanda Tomczykowska, Mark Kohan, Sabina Logisz

1993: The Kopernik Memorial Association (Utica, New York)

1992: Donald F. Samull

1991: Blanka Rosenstiel

1989: The Skalny Family

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