On January 15th, over 1200 guests gathered at the Polish National Opera – Teatr Wielki – in Warsaw. Side by side sat students, their teachers and school principals as well as local dignitaries, representatives of media, leaders of public opinion, representatives of Warsaw authorities, and diplomats. Attendees could listen to a presentation about dynamic growth of the School of Dialogue program and familiarize themselves with results of students’ work from 43 schools from all over Poland.
In his speech, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull said, “What is the most remarkable is that you, students, educate your families, friends, neighbors, by telling them the history of Jews in your hometowns. You bring up history, that was lost in many places.” The Ambassador also emphasized that thanks to the School of Dialogue students’ work, many Americans of Jewish origin can rediscover their Polish roots.
The event featured speeches of the City of Warsaw Vice-President Włodzimierz Paszyński, Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland Henryk Wujec. In his letter addressed to the students, Speaker of the Polish Senate Bogdan Borusewicz greeted and congratulated youth participating in the Gala.
You are the elite of our country, you are the young Poland. You speak in the name of memory and of those, who cannot tell us anything anymore. You are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Władysław Bartoszewski, Jan Karski and those, who cared for our freedom.
prof. Irena Lipowicz, the Polish Ombudsman
In 2013, over 1200 high junior high and high school students from Warsaw and towns with rich Jewish history took part in the School of Dialogue workshops. The first prize for the best commemoration project went ex aequo to students from Maksymilian Maria Kolbe Junior High School No 2 in Błonie and to Jan Śniadecki High School in Warsaw.
Jan Piwnik “Ponury” Junior High School in Wąchock and Waldemar Milewicz High School in Warsaw were awarded ex aequo with the 2nd prize. The 3rd place was given to Hugo Kołłątaj High School in Pińczów.
All 41 schools that prepared their final projects received diplomas and were honored as 2013 Schools of Dialogue. Among them, 13 were also awarded with the title of a finalist in the competition. Forum for Dialogue also gave credit to schools from Łomża, Piotrków Trybunalski, Radom and Szczebrzeszyn, which took part in previous editions of the program, and decided to continue their work. A special prize was given to Magdalena Sobczuk, graduate of 2012 School of Dialogue workshops, who was so inspired by the program that she organized a Polish-Israeli youth exchange in her town, titled “Through the window”.
prof. Władysław Bartoszewski, plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for International Dialogue
The School of Dialogue program in 2013 was supported by, among others, the City of Warsaw, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Friends of the Forum, the Pratt Foundation and others. The program is implemented under the honorary patronage of the Polish Minister of Education.
Awards at the 2013 School of Dialogue Gala were sponsored by Apple Film, Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Czarna Owca Publishing house, Czarne Publishing House, Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków, Jewish Motifs International Film Festival, Polish Center for Holocaust Research of the Academy of Sciences, Rebis Publishing house, WAM Publishing House, Znak Publishing House. Sweet treat for the attendees was provided by Confectionary Factory Kopernik S.A. and Ferrero Polska Sp. z o.o.