Cheers! Na zdrowie!
Two adjunct professors in Hunter's Polish program got hearty congratulations from the Consulate General of Poland, which thanked them for organizing an annual Polish cultural festival at the college last month.
Professors Danuta Świątek and Małgorzata Pośpiech shared the glory for putting on Polish Bilingual Day, the first such event at Hunter, sponsored by the Foundation Dobra Szkoła Nowy York, which seeks to promote bilingualism and appreciation of Polish culture among Polish Americans.
“Congratulations to the initiators and organizers of the Ninth Bilingual Day, which took place for the first time in the New York Hunter College,” the Consulate General posted on its Facebook page. “We are glad that, thanks to the efforts of DSNY Foundation, Professor Danuta Świątek, and Professor Małgorzata Pośpiech, young residents of New York can learn the Polish language and Polish tradition and culture. We wish you many successes in further work!”
Among the guests at the October 19 event were Marta Kustek from DSNY, poet Eliza Sarnacka-Mahoney, and Katarzyna Fiorita, a Polish-American community leader. Attendees made speeches and recited poems by Polish Nobel Prize winner Wisława Szymborska.
Students competed in a quiz that tested their knowledge of Poland and Polish culture. The Kościuszko Foundation awarded the winners beautiful coffee-table albums featuring Polish paintings from the Foundation collection.
A highlight: The Dobra Szkoła Foundation announced a scholarship for outstanding students of the Polish program!
Many Polish program students attended the lively event, which took place in the West Building, speaking and joking in Polish and English while munching on Polish delicacies such as pierogi, chruściki, and makowiec (poppy seed cake). Pierogies were made by Mr. Adam Mroz, a student’s grandfather.
Prof. Swiatek said: “A great time was had by all, and it was such a joy to hear such a melodious Polish being spoken by such youthful voices!”
Hunter College is the only CUNY school that offers courses in Polish language, literature and culture, and thus has become a center for Polish Americans seeking to preserve their heritage. The Polish Program at Hunter is sponsored in part by The Kosciuszko Foundation and the American Center of Polish Culture, and is coordinated by Prof. Pośpiech.
The Polish Program has much news: Starting this semester, Hunter is offering a minor in Polish. The program also has beefed up its online offerings: Fans of modern Polish literature can find online a series of eight lectures by outstanding Polish literary critic Jaroslaw Anders — created and organized by Prof. Pospiech in cooperation with The Kościuszko Foundation — and watch two YouTube channels: Our Little Poland at Hunter and The Polish Program at Hunter, presenting conversations about poetry with outstanding American poet Edward Hirsch, rising star Elisa Gonzalez, and well-known Ukrainian poet Vasyl Makhno.
The Polish Club at Hunter College, one of the oldest such institutions at CUNY, will reopen in spring 2024 and is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The next Bilingual Day will take place next October.