Senate speaker launches 'Summer with Poland' programme

I'm glad that young Poles living beyond the borders can come to the country of their ancestors - to their country; get to know the culture, history and forge friendships, Senate (upper house) Speaker Stanisław Karczewski said on Wednesday.

Karczewski was speaking while inaugurating the 'Summer with Poland' programme, which involves educational and integrational stays for children of Polish heritage from around the world. The initiative is organised by the 'Polish Community' association in cooperation with Polish local governments and with financial support from the Senate.

During the inauguration ceremony, at the Senate, Karczewski gave awards to activists of the Polish Educational Society in Belarus. The recipients were honoured for maintaining Polishness abroad. Children and young people from Belarus and Ukraine also took part in the ceremony.

"Thank you for being here in Poland, for getting to know Poland, you will get to know important places in our history, our traditions, our language," Karczewski said to the young people. The Senate speaker pointed out that the 'Summer with Poland' programme came about through the initiative of Sejm (lower house) Speaker and Senate Deputy Speaker Maciej Płażyński, who was killed in the Smolensk air disaster on April 10, 2010. "I had the great pleasure of meeting Speaker Płażyński, of talking to him many times and supporting common activities of the Polish diaspora," Karczewski noted.

Environment Minister and President of the National Council of the Polish Community association Henryk Kowalczyk underscored that the programme fulfills an important role "in the upbringing and strengthening of ties between our countrymen living beyond the borders of Poland." "To love from afar is very difficult, and if you touch, see, live in this Poland, even for a while, that love for your country is very enduring. After returning to your places of residence, these memories of your stay in Poland will be much livelier," Kowalczyk said, adding that "the sense of being Polish abroad is extremely important, the sense that Poland won't forget about us."