News & Updates

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Irena wins Jan Karski Award

ANNOUNCEMENT:  THE American Center of Polish Culture founded by Dr. Kaya Mirecka-Ploss IN WASHINGTON, D.C. HAS ANNOUNCED THE 2003 WINNER OF THE JAN KARSKI AWARD OF VALOR AND COURAGE.

On the 23 October in Washington Irena Sendler was awarded the Jan Karski Prize “For Courage and Heart” which is granted by the American Centre of Polish Culture.

Many eminent personalities were present at the ceremony held in Georgetown University where Jan Karski was a lecturing professor.

Dr Kaya Mirecka-Ploss, executive director of the Centre, entertained the guests for lunch in a delightfully decorated hall.

Ms Jolanta Kwaśniewska speaking to the gathered guests remarked: “We live in difficult times fraught with great dangers, but these are beautiful times since such persons as Irena Sendler are among us”.

Those present at the ceremony included professor Zbigniew Brzeziński, president Carter’s national security adviser, who reminded that Poland was the only country in Europe where hiding Jews was punished by death, Daniel Fried – director for Europe and Eurasia in the National Security Council and Jeanne Kirkpatrick – US ambassador to the United Nations.

Norman Conard and his pupils Kathleen Meora, Sabrina Coons and Megan Stewart were welcomed enthusiastically for it was their “Irena Sendler Project” which resulted in the heroic deeds of the winner of the prize becoming known throughout the world. The children who survived thanks to Irena Sendler were represented by Stefania Seltzer of the USA – chairperson of the World Federation of Children of the Holocaust, Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman of Canada and Elżbieta Ficowska – chairperson of the Association of Children of the Holocaust in Poland. It was the latter that was honoured to receive the prize in the name of Irena Sendler.

Des Moines

Mr. Conard says, “”What a wonderful group of people in Des Moines last week-end.  Jody Hramits, Patsy Tobis and the people at the Jewish Community Center are beautiful.  I shared our diversity and tolerance projects and especially Life in a Jar.  Karen helped me and we met just the greatest bunch of people.  The Iowa Jewish Historical Society and the Greater Des Moines Jewish Federation do a grand work.  We were particularly impressed with the outstanding museum and a state of the art theater.  I showed the film Life in a Jar’…. The people were touched and fell in love with the students and Irena.  I must admit, as many times as I have watched the film, I still get emotional when I remember the hugs from Bieta and the beautiful pictures of Irena.  The people of Des Moines are very, very special.”

National History Day Champions

Our students at Uniontown High School cleaned up at nationals in College Park, Maryland with their diversity history projects.  700,000 students compete nationwide with the state champions going on to the National History Day nationals in Maryland.

Summer Tour

A big thank you to all of the newspapers which wrote stories on the project and Irena.  They play a big part in sharing the beautiful story of Irena with the world.  Irena’s story and the good it brings is spreading everywhere.  Suzanne Rozdeba of the New York Daily News was especially helpful.

Summer Tour

We are back from the summer tour and continue to be on ‘cloud nine’ about our experiences.

Kan Film Festival

The Kan Film Festival will be held May 31st, at the Lied Auditorium in Lawrence, Kansas.  Lied Auditorium is on the University of Kansas campus.  Kan Film features the best films in Kansas and Missouri, from all divisions.  Films will be shown throughout the day, with the awards ceremony being held in the late afternoon.  Several of our Sendler students have films on tolerance and diversity that have made the finals.

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