REPORT FROM “THE NEXT 100 YEARS OF RELATIONS WITH THE US – THE CASE STUDY OF POLAND” CONFERENCE
The future of Poland’s relations with the US was the focus of the last week’s conference in Washington, organized by the Kulski Foundation in cooperation with the Warsaw Enterprise Institute. The conference discussed 4 key areas of Polish-American cooperation: economic cooperation, military cooperation, cooperation in the energy sector, as well cooperation in the area of R&D and healthcare.
THE FIRST DAY
The first day of the conference (26 September, 2019) was carried out in the workshop format. Over 150 conference guests discussed Polish-American cooperation in 3 key thematic areas at the historic Willard InterContinental hotel:
Workshop 1. Security situation development of Poland and NATO’s eastern flank as a factor determining the development of the arm industry and the state’s defense potential.
The panel on defense was moderated by Marek Świerczyński on behalf of Polityka Insight – one of the leading Polish experts in the field of defense policy and international geopolitical conditions.
Workshop 2. Research and development in the healthcare sector – cooperation directions between PL-USA.
The panel in the R&D area was moderated by dr. Radosław Sierpiński, President of the Medical Research Agency.
Workshop 3. How can Poland and the United States cooperate in further space exploration?
The honorary guest of the panel was the first (and the only) Polish cosmonaut – Mirosław Hermaszewski.
All workshops were delivered in the “Chatham House rules” format, which allowed the interlocutors to freely exchange opinions in a narrow group of experts.
The day ended with a banquet for all conference participants organized in the Crystal Room of the Willard Hotel. At the gala event, apart from numerous guests from Polish and American public administration, also congresswoman Marcy Kaptur was present, who gave a short speech on the specificity of Polish-American relations.
During the gala evening, prof. Julian E. Kulski, in recognition of his contribution to building and intensifying Polish-American relations, also received a special badge awarded to him by the Vice Chancellor of the Academy of Martial Arts – prof. Dr hab. Jarosław Gryz.
THE SECOND DAY OF THE CONFERENCE
The second day of the conference (27.09.2019) was carried out in the panel discussion format. The conference was also held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
During the second day welcoming speeches, the relevance of Polish-American relations, among others, was mentioned by Professor Julian E. Kulski and Małgorzata Bogusz, President of the Board of the Kulski Foundation.
Minister Tomasz Zdzikot read out the letter addressed to the conference participants on behalf of the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“Thanks to the strength of our political alliance and the high dynamics of trade and cultural cooperation between the USA and Poland, we can now look at the future with optimism. (…) I would like to thank the Kulski Foundation for organizing this event, thanks to which experts from all over the world can exchange views on various levels of cooperation bringing Poland and the United States closer” – Prime Minister Morawiecki commented in his letter.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the USA, Piotr Wilczek, also took the floor, stressing that cooperation in the field of security plays a vital role in Polish-American relations.
“Both countries are aware of the benefits of the partnership with the most effective military alliance in history, which is NATO. At the same time, Warsaw and Washington recognize the need to strengthen bilateral security ties, an example of which is the joint decision to increase the American military presence in Poland, announced by both presidents in June,” the Polish diplomat emphasized.
Among other relevant sectors of cooperation between Poland and the USA, Ambassador Wilczek mentioned the joint efforts of the countries on the international arena, such as the one initiated in February this year – the Warsaw process, which aims to “increase security and stability in the Middle East”.
According to Ambassador Wilczek, in bilateral relations the energy sector and activities aimed at diversifying energy sources in the region of Central and Eastern Europe also deserve attention. According to the Ambassador, nuclear energy, advanced technologies, including IT and telecommunications, as well as medical research may become new potential areas for cooperation between Poland and the USA.
Former US Ambassador to Poland (1997-2000) Daniel Fried, speaking after Ambassador Wilczek, recalled that when the United States recognized the independence of Poland 101 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson did not do it “for sentimental reasons,” but because it was his vision of the world – a free world, without divisions into spheres of influence of great powers. When America abandoned this vision and withdrew from Europe, “it ended in a catastrophe for America, for Poland, and for all of Europe. This led us to Yalta,” argued Fried, adding that “one Yalta is enough”.
Ambassador Fried suggested that the US-Poland cooperation program for the next century should include three points: “Military security first of all. Secondly, economic cooperation, including in the field of energy, which has a significant impact on security, and finally new technologies ”. “Poles are really very wise and good in business,” said Fried, among others, former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasia Affairs at the Department of State. He pointed out that Poles “only throughout one generation tripled the value of GDP per capita”.
The discussion panels during the second day of the conference were devoted to the issues most frequently mentioned by both diplomats.The first session, attended by the President and Founder of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute (WEI), Tomasz Wróblewski, and the President of the American-Polish Business Council, Eric Stewart, focused on problems related to Polish-American economic relations and trade. The panel discussion was chaired by Marcin Nowacki, Vice President of the Association.
Participants of the second session with the participation of the President of the Medical Research Agency Radosław Sierpiński and Catherine Mellor from the United States Chamber of Commerce discussed issues related to research in the field of medical care and biotechnology.
The third session, with the main speeches of Deputy Minister of National Defense Tomasz Zdzikot and retired General John Gronski, former Deputy Commander of the US land forces in Europe, was dedicated to the modernization of the Polish armed forces and new cyber threats to collective security.
The main topic of the fourth session and panel discussion was energy policy. The keynote speakers were the Vice Rector of the Academy of War Art, prof. Jarosław Gryz and the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce for Energy and Environmental Protection (IGEOS) Bogdan Pilch.
Alexander Whittington on behalf of Cheniere Energy Inc., Jack Spencer from the Herritage Foundation and Reka Szemerkenyi from CEPA appeared in the panel focused on the Polish-American energy cooperation.
The last panel of the conference was a discussion on the future of Polish-American relations, entitled “Does Poland have to choose between the European Union and the United States?” Jose Morey from NASA iTech and Peter Doran from CEPA were this panel’s keynote speakers.
The panel was attended, among others, by Peter Doran, President of the Center for European Policy Analysis and George Friedman, a well-known political scientist in Poland, the Founder and President 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 will keep its transatlantic orientation, ”stressed the CEPA president.
The day ended with a banquet at the residence of the Polish Ambassador in Washington – Piotr Wilczek. The honorary guest at the residence was Rita Cosby – the icon of American media, the 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 “Public Diplomacy 2019” competition.
The conference was co-organized by the Warsaw Enterprise Institute.
The conference was officially sponsored by 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: The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, the Polish Development Fund, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, the National Center for Agricultural Support, the 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
Conference partners: Alliance4Europe, American Chamber of Commerce in Poland (AmCham), Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Center For European Policy Analysis, Center for International Relations, The Laboratory for Innovation, Culture and Innovation (Like Foundation), My Space Love Story Foundation, Teraz Polska, Polish Oncological Society, The Watch Healthcare Foundation.
Conference official carrier:
LOT Polish Airlines
Rzeczpospolita, First Program of Polskie Radio, Telewizja Polska, TVP Polonia