The future of Poland’s relations with the USA was the main theme of the last week’s conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Kulski Foundation in partnership with the Warsaw Enterprise Institute. The conference covered four key areas of Polish-American cooperation: business, military, energy as well as R&D in healthcare.
The first day of the conference (September 26, 2019) featured a series of workshops. More than 150 participants gathered at the historic Willard InterContinental hotel to discuss Polish-American cooperation in three key thematic areas:
Workshop 1. The development of the security situation around Poland and NATO eastern flank as a factor determining the development of the defense industry and defense powers of the state.
The defense panel was moderated by Polityka Insight’s Marek Świerczyński, a leading Polish expert in defense policy and international geopolitics.
Workshop 2. Research and development in the healthcare sector – avenues of collaboration between Poland and the USA
The moderator of the R&D panel was Radosław Sierpiński MD PhD, President of the Polish Medical Research Agency.
Workshop 3. How can Poland and the United States cooperate in further exploration of space?
The guest of honor of the panels was the first and only Polish astronaut Mirosław Hermaszewski.
All workshops were conducted in small groups under Chatham House rules, which allowed the participating experts to freely exchange opinions.
The day ended with a banquet for conference participants held in the Crystal Room of the Willard Hotel. During the gala, the many attending Polish and American government officials had an opportunity to meet Representative Marcy Kaptur, who gave a short speech on the unique character of Polish-American relations.
During the evening gala, Professor Julian E. Kulski was presented with a special distinction from the Vice-Rector of the War Studies University Professor Jarosław Gryz, in recognition of his achievements in building Polish-American relations.
CONFERENCE DAY TWO
The second day of the conference (September 27, 2019) was devoted to panel discussions. The conference moved to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
In their speeches opening the second day of the conference, Professor Julian E. Kulski and Małgorzata Bogusz, President of the Board of the Kulski Foundation, recalled the significance of Polish-American relations.
Minister Tomasz Zdzikot read out the letter of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to the conference participants.
“Thanks to the strength of our political alliance and the momentum of our commercial and cultural relations, which have enriched our Nations, today we can look confidently to the future. I am convinced that our countries will keep working hard to develop their bilateral relations and that together they can creatively contribute to the fostering of solidarity, security and peace, which are values that we need to share to overcome the challenges of the modern world“. – commented Prime Minister Morawiecki.
The Ambassador of Poland to the USA Piotr Wilczek also took the floor, stressing that security cooperation plays a key role in Polish-American relations.
“Both countries understand the benefits that are derived from our partnership with the most efficient military alliance in the world, NATO. At the same time, Warsaw and Washington realize the need to strengthen bilateral security ties, from which stems the joint decision to increase the American military presence in Poland, announced by both presidents in June of last year”, noted the Ambassador.
Ambassador Wilczek mentioned joint international initiatives as an example of other important areas of cooperation between Poland and the USA, pointing to the Warsaw Process, which was initiated in February with the intent of “strengthening security and stability in the Middle East.”
The Ambassador noted another focal point in Polish-American relations, namely the energy sector and activities aimed at diversification of energy sources in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. He argued that Poland and the USA have an opportunity to capitalize on new prospective areas of cooperation: nuclear energy, advanced technologies, including IT and telecommunication technologies, and medical research.
Daniel Fried, a former US Ambassador to Poland (1997-2000) who spoke directly after Ambassador Wilczek, recalled that when the United States recognized the independence of Poland 101 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson did not do so “for sentimental reasons”, but because he had the vision of a free world, undivided into the spheres of influence of the Great Powers. When America abandoned this vision and withdrew from Europe, “it ended in a disaster for America, for Poland and for entire Europe. This led us to Yalta,” argued Fried, adding that “one Yalta is enough.”
Ambassador Fried said that three key items should be included in the agenda of Polish and American cooperation for the next century: “Above all, military security. Second, economic cooperation in such fields as energy, which has a significant impact on security and, ultimately, new technologies.” “Poles are really very wise and good in business,” said Fried, who once served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. He emphasized that Poles tripled the value of their national GDP per capita in just one generation.
The discussion panels held during the second day of the conference were mostly devoted to the issues most frequently raised by both Ambassadors.
The first session, which featured keynote speeches were delivered by President and founder of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute Tomasz Wróblewski and President of US-Poland Business Council Eric Stewart, was devoted to problems related to Polish-American economic relations and trade. The panel was moderated by Marcin Nowacki, Vice President of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.
Participants in the second session, attended by, among others, Radosław Sierpiński, President of the Polish Medical Research Agency, and Catherine Mellor, Vice President, Global Health Initiative at US Chamber of Commerce, discussed a variety of subjects related to research in the field of healthcare and biotechnology.
The third session, featuring keynote speeches delivered by Deputy Minister of National Defense Tomasz Zdzikot and MG (ret.) John Gronski, former Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Europe, was devoted to the modernization of the Polish armed forces and new cybernetic threats to collective security.
The fourth session and discussion panel focused on energy policy. The session’s keynote speakers were Prof. Jarosław Gryz, Vice-Rector of the War Studies University and Bogdan Pilch, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce for Energy and Environment (IGEOS).
Alexander Whittington, Cheniere Energy Inc., Jack Spencer, The Heritage Foundation and Reka Szemerkenyi, Center for European Policy Analysis spoke in the panel devoted to Polish-American energy partnership.
The last conference panel was a discussion about the future of Polish-American relations entitled Does Poland have to choose between the European Union and the United States? Jose Morey, NASA and Peter Doran, Center for European Policy Analysis, delivered keynote speeches during this panel.
The panel was attended by, among others, Peter Doran, President & CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis and George Friedman, a well-known political scientist in Poland, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures. “Poland does not have to choose between the United States and the European Union. The United States needs Poland so that the European Union can maintain its transatlantic orientation,” stressed CEPA President
The day ended with a banquet at the residence of the Polish Ambassador in Washington, D.C. The guest of honor of the reception was Rita Cosby, an icon of American journalism and a friend of the Kulski Foundation.
The conference was co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as part of a grant received in the competition Public Diplomacy 2019.
The co-organizer of the conference was the Warsaw Enterprise Institute.
The conference obtained official endorsements from the following institutions: National Security Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, Ministry of Investment and Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Institutional partners of the conference: Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C., Polish Development Fund, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, National Centre for Supporting Agriculture, Medical Research Agency.
Strategic partners of the Conference:
Alliance for Innovation, Abbvie, MSD, The American-Central European Business Association (ACEBA), POLMED, US-Poland Business Council
Alliance4Europe, American Chamber of Commerce in Poland (AmCham), Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Center for European Policy Analysis, Centre for International Relations, The Laboratory for Innovation, Culture and Innovation (Like Foundation), My Space Love Story Foundation, Teraz Polska, Polish Society of Oncology, The Watch Healthcare Foundation.
Conference official airline:
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
Rzeczpospolita, Program Pierwszy Polskiego Radia, Telewizja Polska, TVP Polonia