Poland - business, culture and history - Business Works

Poland - business, culture and history

I t is with pleasure that I welcome you to this feature on Poland in the autumn issue of BusinessWorks.

2010 has been a thoroughly eventful year for both Poland and the Polish nation abroad. The United Kingdom and Poland share strong historical links and the Polish émigré community in the British Isles has a strong and vibrant identity; it is proud of its customs and maintains them, while adjusting well to the society that it has come to live in. In line with this, our community remains open to all cultures that contribute to the rich tapestry of the UK’s identity.

From a historical, cultural, economic and geographical aspect, Poland presents a certain uniqueness that is difficult to capture in words and best experienced first hand. Over the centuries, our nation has experienced many trials and tribulations – the collapse of the Communist regime, instigated by Poland, is a poignant example of how the Polish nation fought for its beliefs and those of others. Our history has developed within us an unusual resilience and a passion for life – this is reflected in our culture and in the way that we live. These qualities are admired, and often loved, by those who come from abroad and discover our country.

Chopin 2010

This year, both in Poland and abroad, we celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Poland’s greatest composer, Fryderyk Chopin, which provides us with the wonderful opportunity of bringing his music alive, here, throughout the United Kingdom. We are proud to belong to the nation that gave birth to this ingenious musician and virtuoso. Inaugurated by a unforgettable concert by Krystian Zimerman in the Royal Festival Hall, this year British audiences have the opportunity to encounter the beauty of the music of Poland’s Romantic epoch.

Through Chopin 2010 we have been making the most of this remarkable opportunity to promote Poland’s contemporary culture here in the UK through numerous concerts, art exhibitions, conferences and educational events (www.chopin2010.pl/en). The main aim has been to bring our musical heritage alive to all audiences in the UK.

POLSKA! year

Commerce and culture
Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

The beginning of Chopin 2010 also overlapped with POLSKA! Year which lasted until July 2010 – a joint initiative of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in co-operation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and a number of British partners, under the patronage of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and the late President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński. From spring 2009 to July 2010, POLSKA! Year brought over 200 of Poland’s most interesting artistic and culture achievements to the British public.

70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain

While we are proud of our cultural heritage and contemporary artistic achievements, 2010 is also a year that brings to mind historical events from previous decades – one of them is the Battle of Britain, which highlights the strong historical ties that bind Poland and the United Kingdom to this very day.

The Battle of Britain was a turning point in World War II and the Polish nation is proud of its contribution – namely over 150 Polish fighter pilots who fought in both British and Polish squadrons. Both the 302 and 303 Fighter Pilot Squadrons played a crucial role in the battle. The 303 Squadron was officially credited for shooting down 126 enemy aircraft – the highest score among the 66 squadrons of the fighter commands engaged in the battle.

While we are proud of our involvement in the Battle of Britain, and do not cease to commemorate the efforts, courage and determination of our countrymen, what I really wish to bring closer to readers is the values that drove these men, and the entire Polish nation, throughout World War II – resilience, solidarity and a commitment to fight for ‘your freedom, and ours’.

Much has changed since the tragic years of World War II – to many, it may seem that values embodied by the heroes of that era are somewhat irrelevant in today’s globalised society. Nothing could be more wrong. It is by remembering those days, that we pass down to younger generations the timeless values that are relevant each and every day, all around the world.

I hope that reading this feature on Poland will encourage you to visit our country, view its marvelous landscape, experience our culture, and come to understand our history.

Tweet article
BW on TwitterBW RSS feed