On 4 July, an inaugural session celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University School of Polish Language and Culture was held in the JU Faculty of Polish Studies assembly hall on ul. Ingardena 3. The meeting was officially opened by JU Rector Prof. Wojciech Nowak. Amongst the guests there were both former and current employees of the School as well as students participating in three-, four- and six-week language courses.
‘In 1970, with the help of the Kosciuszko Foundation, we received the first group of students who arrived here to participate in the very first Polish course offered by our School. The participants were always predominantly people of Polish ancestry, but there are also many foreigners who decide to learn Polish because they want to study here or are interested in broadly understood Slavic studies. We have many people here who are passionate about Polish culture’, said the School’s director, Dr Adriana Prizel-Kania.
For its outstanding achievements in teaching Polish as a foreign language, the JU School of Polish Language and Culture was awarded with a silver Plus ratio quam vis medal. It was presented by JU Rector Wojciech Nowak to Dr hab. Waldemar Martyniuk, director of the Centre for Polish Language and Culture in the World, the School's parent institution.
In his speech, JU Faculty of Polish Studies Vice-Dean for Educational Affairs Dr hab. Jarosław Fazan stressed that although the School was formally established in 1969, its roots can be traced back to the 1930s. He also emphasised that apart from providing intensive Polish language courses, the School also offers lectures on Polish culture, history, art, social issue, politics, and economy as well as a rich and varied cultural and sightseeing programme.
‘Each year, several hundred foreigners from all over the world come to participate in our courses. They get to know Poland, they have a magical time in Kraków, but most importantly, they participate in an event that allows them to learn more about different cultures and meet new friends. Over the years, we have invited many important figures in Polish science, culture, and politics, such as Nobel Prize winner Czesław Miłosz, former Polish prime minister Jerzy Buzek, historian Prof. Norman Davies, economist Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, Academy Award winner Andrzej Wajda, world famous journalist Ryszard Kapuściński, and poet Adam Zagajewski’, added Dr hab. Fazan.
In 2000, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs awarded the School with a diploma for its accomplishments. Four times, it was recognised by the European Commission and awarded with a prestigious European Language Label diploma for innovative initiatives in teaching languages.
The meeting concluded with a lecture delivered by Prof. Martyniuk entitled ’50 Years of Doing Things with Words – the Polish Way’.