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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

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  • The Polish government on Tuesday backed a plan that outlines co-operation with the Polish diaspora up to 2020. The plan looks to support the teaching of the Polish language, strengthen the position of Polish communities and encourage Poles living abroad to return to the country. It also hopes to offer incentives for relocating to Poland to people of Polish origin.

     

    The programme promoting co-operation with Polish communities and Poles living abroad between 2015-2020 was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

     

    The Foreign Ministry said that the programme intends to build on existing partnerships with Polish communities abroad as well as benefit from the potential of Polish professionals living outside the country’s borders.

     

    The government-backed programme looks to strengthen links between Polish migrants working across Europe and their homeland. It also hopes to create professional opportunities for young Poles in the diaspora and make better use of the professional expertise of Poles living abroad. The plan also aims to secure the rights of Polish minorities.

     

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the programme will reinforce mutually-beneficial partnerships with diaspora communities, strengthening co-operation in shaping Poland’s image abroad and deepening ties with countries within which Poles are based.

     

    In particular, this will entail regional co-operation (for example within municipalities) and sector-focused co-operation (including schools, cultural institutes and economic structures).

     

    According to the Foreign Ministry, the programme includes a new provision that sets out rules of engagement with Polish communities and Poles abroad, with a special emphasis on the importance of partnerships.

     

    “The partnership approach was already very evident in the drafting of this document – the long process of consultations regarding the programme was well received within Polish communities abroad. We are also well aware of the fact that many members of the Polish diaspora are also citizens of other countries, countries to which they also owe their civic loyalty. Furthermore, we appreciate that many of our compatriots have lost touch with the Polish language. This means that in order to communicate with them effectively we must reach out to them in the language of the country in which they are living,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement sent to PAP.

     

    The programme sets out several strategic aims: supporting the teaching of the Polish language, strengthening Polish identity and ensuring the ability to participate in national culture, strengthening Polish communities abroad, encouraging Poles living abroad to return to the country, offering incentives of relocating to Poland to people of Polish origin as well as developing wide-ranging contacts with Poland.

     

    The plan will be realized in co-operation with several ministries, central offices and provinces. The Polish government’s policies towards the diaspora are shaped in partnership with, amongst others, the chancellery of the Polish president, parliamentary and senate committees, municipal councils, international organisations, diaspora associations and organisations connected to the Church.

     

    The current programme has been given a six-year mandate. The document includes specific provisions for individual ministries and central institutions tasked with shaping Poland’s policy towards the diaspora. The objectives outlined in the plan are for 2015-2016, after which they will be updated twice – setting out priorities for 2017-2018 and then 2019-2020.

     

    The backbone underpinning the programme is its partnership with Polish communities and compatriots all over the world, as was made evident by the preparation that went towards drafting the plan: two months of consultations, during which close to 100 opinions and proposals were considered.

     

    It is estimated that between 18-20 million Poles and people of Polish origin live beyond Poland’s borders. One-third of this group consists of Poles born in Poland, the rest are people of Polish origin with different levels of attachment to Poland.

     

    In the 19th and 20th Century, Poles émigrés set out in several directions: the United States (in 2012, 9.6 million Americans claimed to be of Polish origin), South America (Brazil, 1.5 million, and Argentina, 120,000). In the last fifty years, more Poles have left for Canada (around 1 million) and Australia (170,000) while the size of Polish minorities living in Eastern Europe has decreased.

     

    Source: PAP

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