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  • 15 November 2014

    On the occasion of Foreign Service Day, which commemorates the first diplomatic correspondence that Józef Piłsudski sent on 16 November 1918 to inform the world about the rebirth of the Polish State, President Bronisław Komorowski has bestowed high-level state distinctions on diplomats and MFA officials.

    “Key priorities of Polish foreign policy are to implement decisions taken at the NATO summit in Newport, and to deepen European integration,” said President Komorowski. “I am glad that, in keeping with what has become a tradition now, we can meet at the Presidential Palace on Foreign Service Day, and thus emphasize the importance of diplomatic service as such.”


    The President underscored that good cooperation between government and president is one of the conditions for effectiveness in this field. “We have been summing up 25 years of Polish freedom of late, and today we are summing up Polish foreign policy achievements, drawing conclusions from our successes and failures,” noted the President. “One big lesson for the next 25 years is this need for good cooperation between the government, the president, and other Polish state institutions which make a significant contribution to external contacts.” At the ceremony, the President thanked all those who support this direction in foreign policy. In this context, he also recalled Professor Krzysztof Skubiszewski. “He should one day go down in both diplomatic and historical textbooks,” observed the Polish head of state. “He is a symbol of the good and wise change that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.”


    In his address, Bronisław Komorowski also stressed that the last 25 years have been marked by a fundamental change of foreign policy vectors, something that was possible “without domestic crises.” According to the President, the directions set at the turn of the 1980s have proved their worth and continue to be valid. Summing up Polish achievements over the past 25 years, the President pointed out that they include not only the fundamental rebalancing towards the west, but also the building of “genuine guarantees of our security and development thanks to EU and NATO membership, among other things.” As tasks lying ahead of our country Bronisław Komorowski identified sensitizing others to increased internal cohesion of the Union and European integration, looking for solutions to reinforce Ukrainian statehood, and helping the country to reform.


    During the ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna presented “Bene Merito” honorary distinctions, which are conferred on Polish and foreign nationals for enhancing Poland’s international position. “We are in the foreign service, and we are proud to represent our country wherever we can. The central principle that guides is to represent our home country well,” said the chief of Polish diplomacy.


    “This difficult time confronts us with new challenges. We want to take them on and we do take them on,” remarked Grzegorz Schetyna. “We know that foreign service work is work for Poland, for our community; but it’s also consular work, work often done by people of the second rank who help to solve problems outside Poland – today we want to acknowledge them, too. We remember them – it is their day as well. Also the ones who promote Polish business and entrepreneurs abroad,” continued Poland’s top diplomat.


    At the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, the foreign minister presented three annual awards: the Andrzej Kremer Prize for Consul of the Year went to Ireneusz Truszkowski, Head of the Consular Section at the Polish Embassy in London; the Consul General in Cologne, Jan Sobczak, received the Mariusz Kazana Prize for ensuring outstanding aesthetic standards at his subordinate diplomatic mission; and the prize for the mission’s public diplomacy and media relations successes was bestowed on Beata Wojna, Poland’s Ambassador to Mexico.


    Furthermore, the event saw the presentation of the Jerzy Warchałowski Prize, and the Amicus Oeconomiae Prize for outstanding accomplishments in advancing and safeguarding the economic interests of Polish companies in international markets. The distinctions went to Monika Seyfried and to Polish Ambassador to Ethiopia Jacek Jankowski, respectively. Professor Małgorzata Gmurczyk-Wrońska was awarded for the best publication dealing with the history of Polish diplomacy.


    Speaking on behalf of the laureates, Jerzy Pomianowski, the Executive Director of the European Endowment for Democracy, said that what they all have in common is service to the Polish national interest – the foreign service. “The position of Poland is probably strongest since it regained its independence back in 1918,” said Jerzy Pomianowski. “International partners value good cooperation with Poland. The success of Polish transformation is not only reason to be proud, but also a powerful foreign policy instrument.” As the Director stressed, “our success cannot be taken for granted, and the instability beyond our eastern border calls for permanent attention of our diplomats.”


    To mark Foreign Service Day, on 15 November the MFA offices in Warsaw will open their doors to those who have registered at The central theme of this year’s Foreign Service Day are important national anniversaries: 10 years of Poland’s membership of the EU, 15 years since joining NATO, and 25 years of political transformation.


    Marcin Wojciechowski

    MFA Press Spokesman

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