Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

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The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) was founded in Australia in 1991 to foster relations between Poland and Australia. It is an independent, non-political, voluntary organisation that seeks to enhance current levels of Australian awareness of political, economic, social and cultural life in Poland today. Founded by leading members of the Polish Australian community, AIPA's roots derive significantly from the Solidarity movement in Poland. As a result, AIPA remains strongly committed to contemporary values of democracy and liberty. Because Australia is home to a considerable community of Jews who themselves, or whose families, came to Australia from Poland, AIPA also strives to promote dialogue and reconciliation between Polish Christians and Jewish Australians.

To realise its core aims, AIPA has brought a significant number of leading Polish politicians, economists, activists, intellectuals as well as Polish and non-Polish experts on current Polish issues. (See below for a fuller list of AIPA guests). In conjunction with the visits, AIPA has arranged many lectures at leading Australian institutions and numerous public meetings with both Polish Australian and Jewish Australian communities (notably at the Melbourne Holocaust Centre and the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation). Furthermore, AIPA has consistently enabled direct encounters between its guests and influential Australians in government, media, the press, and education. In its early years, AIPA notably hosted Jan Karski, Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, and Adam Michnik. Prof. Norman Davies, world-leading historian of Poland, has also been one of AIPA's eminent guests. AIPA has brought 4 former Polish Prime Ministers to Australia.





Jan Nowak-Jezioranski 1991 Head of Polish Section, Radio Free Europe; Quadrant Lecture, National Press Club, Macquarie University
Adam Michnik 1992, 1997 Key Solidarity leader; founder and editor of the leading Polish daily newspaper Sydney Institute,

ANU, ABC National Radio, University of Melbourne, Quadrant Lecture,

Jan Karski 1992 Courier from Polish government in exile to Poland during WWII; brought eyewitness reports of ongoing Holocaust to UK and US in 1943. olocaust HH ABC Radio National, Executive Council of Australian Jewry
Leszek Balcerowicz 1992, 2008 Deputy Polish Prime Minister (principal architect of economic reforms in Poland, 1993-4?-- economic reform [cf. "shock-therapy"] trail-blazer in post-soviet bloc University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, Monash University, ABC Radio National
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski 1993 Key leader in Poland's transition to democracy; Co-founder of Żegota; Foreign Minister of Poland (1995, 2000–01) Jewish Holocaust Centre, University of Melbourne, SBS Television
Hanna Suchocka 1994 Prime Minister, Poland (1992–93) National Parliament, Quadrant Lecture, National Press Club,

University of Melbourne

Jan Krzysztof Bielecki 1995 Prime Minister, Poland (1991) Institute of Public Affairs, Monash University, SBS Television
Janusz Lewandowski 1998 Architect of Poland's privatisation program, EU Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner (2010–14) Quadrant Lecture, Centre for Independent Studies, ABC Radio National
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz 1999 President National Bank of Poland (1992–2000); President (Mayor) of the city of Warsaw (since 2006 -) Institute of Public Affairs
Henryk Grynberg 1999 Historian, author
Timothy Garton-Ash 2000 Historian, author and commentator Quadrant Lecture, Melbourne Writers' Festival
Stanislaw Obirek 2000 Leading Polish opinion maker University of New South Wales
Krzysztof Zanussi 2001 Film Director University of New South Wales
Archbishop Jozef Zycinski 2002 Archbishop of Lublin (1997 -2011), philosopher Senior Catholic Clergy,

Sydney Jewish Museum

Bronislaw Geremek 2003 One of the key architects of Poland's transition to democracy, former foreign minister (1997–2001) prominent Euro-parliamentarian University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, The Age
Leon Kieres 2004 President, National Remembrance Institute (2000– 2005), Judge of the Constitutional Tribunal ANU, Sydney Institute, University of Melbourne
Marek Belka 2006 Prime Minister, Poland (2004–05) National Parliament, Sydney Institute,

University of Melbourne, ABC Radio National

Gunnar Paulsson 2006 Historian, author of "The Secret City” Jewish Holocaust Centre
Fr Michal Heller 2007 Cosmologist, Winner of the Templeton Prize (2008) Australian Catholic University
Zbigniew Nossowski 2009 Polish Catholic Intellectual, Editor of Więź Monash University Centre for Jewish Civilisation
Adam Rotfeld 2009 Minister for Foreign Affairs (2005), Poland; Co-chair, Polish Russian Group for Difficult Matters (2008–2015) Institute of Public Affairs, Sydney Institute
Aleksander Skotnicki 2010 Haematologist, activist for Polish Jewish reconciliation
Pawel Spiewak 2013 Director, Jewish Historical Institute Monash University Centre for Jewish Civilisation
Andrzej Rychard 2014 Sociologist University of Melbourne
Andrzej Folwarczny 2015 Head and founder of Forum for Dialogue National Parliament,

Sydney Jewish Museum, Jewish Holocaust Centre

Andrzej Rzońca 2016 Economist Reserve Bank of Australia, University of Sydney
Janusz Onyszkiewicz 2017 Vice-President of European Parliament 2004–2009 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, University of Melbourne

Further AIPA endeavours

Media-Truth/ Freedom and Democracy/Watch

AIPA monitors and reacts to anti-Polish distortions in the Australian media and expresses concerns as to developments in Poland that might seem to run counter to contemporary notions of freedom and democracy.

The Masterpieces of Polish Cinema Initiative

In co-operation with Melbourne Cinemathèque and the Polish Consulate, AIPA has been instrumental in organising film seasons of the following distinguished Polish film directors: Andrzej Wajda(2008), Jerzy Skolimowski (2009), Krzysztof Zanussi (2010), Agnieszka Holland (2011), Wojciech Has and Andrzej Munk (2012), Jerzy Kawalerowicz (2015).

AIPA and the Melbourne Writers’ Festival

Respectively in 2000 and 2003, AIPA joined with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival in bringing Eva Hoffman and Timothy Garton-Ash to Australia. Further such co-operation is anticipated in the future.

AIPA-Quadrant Lectures

In the 1990s, particularly at the time of Robert Manne’s editorship of Quadrant, a number of significant joint lectures were held in Melbourne.

AIPA Book Launches

1997 – book by Lech Paszkowski, “Paul Edmund de Strzelecki”, launched by the then Federal Minister for Immigration, Phillip Ruddock

2013 – book by John Williams and John Bond “Promise of Diversity. The Story of Jerzy Zubrzycki, architect of multicultural Australia”, by Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia (1975–1983)

Notable Australians and AIPA

Gough Whitlam attended the AIPA 5th Anniversary dinner; Sir Ninian Stephens addressed the 10th 5th Anniversary dinner; Chris Wallace-Crabbe joined in an AIPA commemoration of Czeslaw Milosz. The Hon. Margaret Reid, President of Australian Senate delivered a presentation at AIPA’s AGM in 1997.

Current and Past AIPA presidents

Aleksander Gancarz OAM is the current president of AIPA. Past presidents include Profs. Jerzy Zubrzycki, Martin Krygier, Andrew S. Ehrenkreutz, Jan Pakulski and Adam Warzel.


External links

  • Prof. Andrzej Ehrenkreutz
  • Professor Marek Belka at CERC ConferenceUniversity of Melbourne
  • Wladyslaw Bartoszewski Guest of AIPA
  • Visit of Professor Balcerowicz at the Monash University Europe Centre
  • Polish priest Michal Heller, receives Templeton Prize
  • Expanding the Dialogue
  • AIPA website
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