Due to their quantity and rich cultural and historical tradition the Polish diaspora around the world has a large potential. It is up to the active attitude of young people whether that potential will be fully utilized. It is these young people to whom we address our program. Professor Zbigniew Pełczyński, who after participating in the Warsaw Uprising, had to leave Poland and settle in the United Kingdom, understood very well the situation of immigrants and their particular need to stay in touch with the countries of their origin. Therefore, when the School for Leaders, which was founded by him in Poland in the 90’s, started to be successful in the area of young leaders’ education, Professor Pełczyński decided to involve those Poles who live abroad in the programs as well. The School for Leaders for the Polish Community Abroad project aims to support the development of the participants’ leadership competencies, as well as to provide them with the right tools and inspiration for further activities. Active reinforcement of the participants’ bonds with Poland and encouragement of their social involvement are important elements of the program that aim to help them act more effectively and consciously within their respective Polish community environments. The School for Leaders for the Polish Community Abroad is based on two-week-long intensive training programs that are organized and hosted in Poland. During the training sessions the Polish community leaders aged 20-40 participate in a series of workshops, lectures, discussion panels and study visits. The activities are prepared in such a way that they meet the needs of a selected group of participants to the widest possible extent. What is most important is that the participants also have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of contemporary Poland, including its culture and social or economic situation. They participate in study visits to different towns of Poland, as well as attend meetings with politicians, public administration employees and representatives of cultural institutions or non-governmental organizations, businessmen and with other young Poles who are socially involved.What’s important, the participants also 2
have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the contemporary Poland, including its culture and social or economic situation. They participate in the study visits to different towns of Poland, as well as in the meetings with politicians, public administration employees and representatives of cultural institutions or non-governmental organizations, businessmen and the young Poles who are socially involved.
Helpful assistants During two-week-long School programs the participants’ educational process is monitored and assisted by experienced leaders who are recruited from among the alumni of the School for Leaders for the Polish Community Abroad programs. The task of the group coordinator is to support the participants in their development and learning, mainly by encouraging them to participate in the discussions that take place during everyday meetings. The presence of group coordinators in the School also provides an opportunity for the participants to get familiar with the activity of more experienced Polish community leaders from other regions of the world. Apart from the two-week-long Schools, separate training sessions are organized for the groups of young leaders who come from the same country or deal with a similar area of activities such as self-government, cultural or professional projects and initiatives.
Alumni network After successfully completing the School for Leaders for the Polish Community Abroad program the participants are invited to join the Alumni network, which is not only an honorary duty. The Alumni network of the School for Leaders for the Polish Community Abroad makes up a strong source of support and mutual inspiration extending across 5 continents. The Alumni also exert a large influence on the development of further generations of leaders by sharing their own experiences and supporting the development of new projects.
For the last five years 357 young activists of Polish origin from 35 countries received our support in the area of their activity and personal development.