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President thanks Poles for cultivating national identity at home and abroad

02.05.2023 18:30
Poland’s president has thanked his compatriots for cultivating and promoting their national identity, as the country marked the Day of Poles Abroad. 
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at an event to mark the Day of Poles Abroad, at the Belweder Palace in Warsaw on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at an event to mark the Day of Poles Abroad, at the Belweder Palace in Warsaw on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. PAP/Marcin Obara

Andrzej Duda expressed his thanks at a celebratory event in Warsaw’s Belweder Palace on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The president was accompanied by First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, with a host of senior politicians, including upper-house Speaker Tomasz Grodzki, deputy lower-house Speaker Małgorzata Gosiewska and Agriculture Minister Robert Telus, also in attendance, according to officials.

During the ceremony, Duda granted state awards to activists from Polish communities abroad, conferred Polish citizenship on members of the diaspora and handed over symbolic Polish flags to state officials for their services to society, culture and the economy at home and in foreign countries, the PAP news agency reported.

Among the recipients were representatives of the Polish Border Guard, special forces and the national postal service, officials said. 

‘I thank all those who promote Polish culture abroad’: president 

In his speech, the president said that the Day of Poles Abroad celebration aimed to honour some 20 million Polish nationals living outside their home country.

He said: “I congratulate those who have received their citizenship certificates and have formally become part of our Polish community.”  

Duda added that Polish communities faced difficulties in various countries, including war-torn Ukraine and Belarus under the strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko. 

He said that Poles in Belarus “are oppressed by the Belarusian regime and do not live in a truly free, independent country, and can’t enjoy all the freedoms we can enjoy in Poland.”

Meanwhile, Poles in war-ravaged Ukraine “are the citizens of Ukraine and are defending their homeland with arms in hand … and are also defending their loved ones who are waiting for them with hope and trepidation,” the president added.

Duda thanked Polish officials, including soldiers and border guards, as well as Polish priests, for “serving Poland, whether by defending the homeland or sometimes simply by serving a fellow person.”

The president expressed special thanks to Poles living outside the home country for promoting Polish culture and "passing the Polish language to next generations."

He said: “I thank all the Polish people and those who remember about our Polish identity and culture, who promote it on a daily basis, both in Poland’s immediate neighbourhood and far away.”

The president said that during an event on Tuesday to mark Flag Dayhe met with members of the Polish community in Brazil at Warsaw’s Castle Square. 

He told the gathering that "members of Brazil’s Polish diaspora still remember about their Polish roots, have a deep sense of connection with Poland and teach the Polish language, Polish history, Polish tradition, and Polish literature to their children” although their ancestors often left Poland over a century ago.

Addressing Poles living abroad, Duda said: “It is always an enormous pleasure to meet with you whenever we can during our foreign trips.”

Polish education abroad 'plays an invaluable role’: first lady  

Meanwhile, the Polish first lady thanked teachers from Polish schools around the world for "instilling students with knowledge of Polish history and culture, with patriotism and the command of the Polish language."

Kornhauser-Duda said that Polish education abroad “plays an invaluable role mainly thanks to wonderful teachers.”

The first lady expressed her “utmost appreciation and admiration” for their work, which she said was "carried out with extraordinary commitment and dedication.”

She thanked a Polish children’s choir from Tbilisi, Georgia, for its performance during Tuesday’s event and hailed the group as an example of how Polish identity and culture is cultivated abroad.

Kornhauser-Duda also mentioned the Help to Poles in the East programme, which has recently provided assistance to Polish communities in Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Lithuania and Ukraine, the PAP news agency reported. 

She told the gathering: “The bulk of humanitarian aid has gone to our compatriots in Ukraine, practically from the very first days of Russia’s barbaric assault on Ukraine.”

The first lady said the campaign "wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution of various organisations and companies."

“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken part in this initiative,” she added.

Established in 2002, the Day of Poles Abroad is a celebration of some 20 million people who cultivate their Polish roots despite living away from their home country, the IAR news agency reported.

The occasion is designed to strengthen a sense of unity among all Poles and help expats maintain their national identity, according to officials. 

Celebrated annually on May 2 since 2004, Poland's Flag Day “commemorates the history of the Polish national colours, symbols and patriotic traditions,” the government said.

The celebration is also designed “to remind citizens about the need to respect the flag and other national symbols,” as well as “to build a sense of community and pride in being Polish,” it added.


Source: PAP, prezydent.plwpolityce.pl