New York Cultural Exchanges Report by Vina Castellarin
The celebration at the Kosciuszko Foundation is a true example of dedication in promoting educational and cultural ex-changes between the United States and Poland and in increasing American understan-ding of Polish culture and history.
Attending „North America in the Eyes of the Polish Beholder” Polish News correspondent celebrated the Diamond Jubilee at November 30, 2000 with a feast of literary figures at the conference coordinated by Anna Frajlich, Columbia University.
There was Barbara W. Low Budka who spoke of Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz: Man of Enlightenment; George Comori from Cambridge University (UK) who spoke of Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s Image of England and America and Beth Holmgren from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who explained:
Virility and Gentility: How Sienkiewicz and Modjeska Redeemed America.
For one hour there was a text recital by actors Kevin Gallagher and Deborah Latz, which was concluded with „In the Mirror of the 20th Century” by Moderator Anna Frajlich with Joanna Rostropowicz Clark from Rutgers University speaking on „A Poor Polish Writer Looks at the Post World War II United States; Piotr Wilczek from the University of Illinois in Chicago on „Images of America in Modern Polish Poetry” and David Goldfarb, Barnard College, Columbia University spoke of „Czeslaw Milosz: California Poet”.
Joseph E. Gore, President and Executive Director spoke of the Foundation, established in 1925, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s enlistment in the American revolutionary cause, which is a na-tional not-for-profit organization.
He explained that the work of the Foundation reaches audiences throughout the United States, through its headquarters in New York City, and regional Chapters in Chicago, Denver (Rocky Mountain), Houston (Texas), Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Springfield (Southern New England), Buffalo (Western New York State).
The Kosciuszko Foundation is a membership organization which is supported by contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals who share in the Foundation’s mission of fostering relations and understanding be-tween the United States and Poland.
There have been a selection of functions with the Special Christmas Concert on Saturday December 9th focusing on the SLAVIC ARTS ENSEMBLE. A day later at 3 PM Chamber Music Series CALLIOPE: A Renaissance Band Holiday Concert/ Celebration, featuring Seasonal Music with a reception and Carol Singing. Playing were some 40 instruments, where the Calliope’s repertory ranges from medieval to jazz, taking their delighted listeners on a joyous romp.
On Sunday, December 17th „On Wings of Song” Awardee, displayed the vocal recital series co-presented by the Marilyn Horne Foundation, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and WQXR Radio, which recorded the occasion for radio broadcast. The Philadelphia Chapter’s celebrated the seventh consecutive Christmas Concert will take place at 3:00 pm at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.
Then Professor Gyorgy Bomori, from Darwin College, Cambridge University who spoke about Cyprian Camil Norwid’s Image of England and America – gave me a poem he translated for For Polish News Exclusively:
A LETTER OF CYRIAN NORWID’S
FROM NEW YORK
If it chanced that, defying many a storm,
Our sailing-ship crossed the ocean and
I reached dry land again after sixty days,
And if, later, the big splinter that wounded my thumb
Failed to cripple me, so I could draw again –
If God has preserved me in these ways,
perhaps he has
Some other plan for me. In the Crimea, say,
I’d be happy to take up arms against the helots
Serving the Frost Colossus, or to aid our cause elsewhere.
Please help me, You or some other wealthy Pole,
To get back soon to that Old World of ours.
There are all kinds of things in the papers here
And you can’t really tell what the truth is.
Kossuth, of course, was splendidly received,
But you’ve got to be defeated and a famous exile
To qualify for such treatment. As for me,
I work as an artist here, but unknown and lonely –
My windows look out on to a cemetery –
Above the bushes humming-birds flutter and sometimes
A heavy scent of flowers comes wafting by…
In my thoughts, though, I’m wandering in Paris
or better still in Rome, where the past’s alive
And consoles – where you live not just for the present,
not only for the Market.
Translated from the Hungarian
by Clive Wilmer & the Author.
Most Polish Americans will be anxious to know about the tentative Schedule of Events for 2001, and should verify the dates and times with The Kosciuszko Foundation Events Coordinator – Tom Pniewski – (212) 734-2130 extension 214.
The full program you can see at :
This past April, the Kosciuszko Foundation awarded over 1 million dollars in scholarships to Americans and Poles for academic year September 2000 – June 2001.
The Foundation’s programs for educational funding include Tuition Scholarships; an Exchange Program for Americans to study language or conduct research in Poland and for Poles to conduct research or to teach in the US.
„In addition, we grant the Metchie J. E. Budka Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Polish Literature, History and Polish-American Relations and sponsor competitions in piano and voice for aspiring young artists”.
The majority of the grant opportunities are available from the Foundation for next academic year, September 2001 – June 2002. Competition prize money, however, is awarded immediately or shortly after the event.
To obtain information on The Kosciuszko Foundation please contact The Kosciuszko Foundation – An American Center for Polish Culture, at 15 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10021-6595.
Tel: 212-734-2130 Fax: 212-628-4552