Joined UNESCO: 06/11/1946
Head of State and/or Government
President of the Republic: H. E. Mr Andrzej Duda
Prime Minister -Designated: H. E. Ms Beata Maria Szydlo
Permanent Delegation to UNESCO
H. E. Ms Krystyna Zurek
Ambassador, Permanent Delegate (06/10/2015)
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Poland to UNESCO
Maison de l'UNESCO
1, rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15
National Commission for UNESCO
||President: Prof. Jacek Purchla
Secretary-General: Mr Slawomir Ratajski
Deputy Secretary-General: Ms Aleksandra Waclawczyk
Commission nationale polonaise pour l'UNESCO
Palac Kultury i Nauki, 7 P
Pl. Defilad 1
komitet(a)unesco.pl; s.ratajski(a)unesco.pl (SG)
National Commission for UNESCO
Representation in the Executive Board
||Member||Mr Marian Falski||1946-1947||1-4||Member||Mr Stanislaw Arnold||1947-1950||5-21||Member||Mr Stefan Wierblowski||1956-1964||46-68||Member||Ms Eugenia Krassowska||1976-1980||101-110||Member||Mr Kazimierz Zygulski||1987-1990||128-135||Member||Mr Jerzy Kloczowski||1990-1991||135-137||Representative||1993-1997||143-152||Representative||1999-2003||158-167||Representative||2009-2011||183-187
The 1991 amendment modified Article V of the Constitution, regarding the status of members of the Board. From the 27th session of the General Conference (1993), the Executive Board consists of Member States rather than of persons (26 C/Resolution 19.3).
Participation in subsidiary organs
Organs elected by the General Conference
Intergovernmental Council for the International Hydrological Programme
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Other intergovernmental organs
Intergovernmental Committee on World Heritage
Chairperson : Mr Jacek Purchla (Term expires : 41st session of the Committee (2017))
Member (Term expires : 39th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference
37 session of the General Conference Her Excellency Ms Henryka Moscicka-Dendys, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland
Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings
36 session of the General Conference H.E. Mrs Grazyna Bernatowicz, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received
35 session of the General Conference H.E. Mrs Grazyna Bernatowicz, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“The Polish delegation fully shares the position presented by Sweden in the address delivered on behalf of the European Union.”
“(…) We wish to thank the outgoing Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura for his courage and consistency in implementing reforms and we welcome the candidacy Ms Irina Bokova whom we support.”
“(…) I wish to address the matter of the draft Declaration of principles relating to the cultural objects displaced in connection with the Second War. The draft submitted to the Conference is causing divisions among the Member States - and this is due to their different historic experiences. (…). Poland, which suffered irrevocable wartime losses in the sphere of culture, is not able to support the proposed regulations in their present form.”
“We hope that the building of knowledge-based societies will be facilitated over the next few years by the implementation of the Information for All Program. The program constitutes a crucial instrument for the fulfilment by UNESCO of the decision of the World Summit on the Information Society.”
“Education - which is the focus of UNESCO’s flagship program “Education for All” - plays a pivotal role in processes that determine the living conditions of present and future generations. (…) We wish to highlight here the significance of the broadly perceived universal artistic education, which stimulates creativity and innovation.”
“Poland attaches particular importance to the UNESCO programmes which highlight the wealth and diversity of cultures, and facilitate mutual knowledge and understanding through better access to information. At the same time, in the context of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, we underscore the universality of human rights and express our opposition to attempts at their relativization. (…) Appreciating the significance of the programme, Poland has agreed to organize the 4th International Conference of the Memory of the World Program in 2011.”
“We hope for cooperation with UNESCO on the protection of the Underwater Heritage in the region of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea basin is also an area of important research into climate change and its impact on the environment. Let me note here that Poland, which hosted the 3rd World Climate Conference last year, fully supports UNESCO’s commitment to supporting climate change research. In this connection, one should commend the valuable work of the International Oceanographic Commission, the Man and Biosphere Program and the International Hydrological Program.”
34 session of the General Conference H.E. Mr Krzysztof Olendziki, Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Poland wishes to promote cultural diversity, enhance the dialogue among cultures, and safeguard cultural heritage. UNESCO’s role is to spread the essential values of human rights and democracy on the international level.
“International society should complement UNESCO in responding to the needs of disadvantaged and excluded groups, post-conflict areas and regions afflicted with diseases. Poland, after democratic changeover and as a European Member State supports the idea of humanitarian aid, especially in the sphere of education for culture.”
“In 2006 we earmarked a considerable amount targeted at the various purposes, for example schools, scholarships, access to fresh water, cultural heritage, in various African countries, sub-Saharan region as well as in South Caucasus, Middle and South Asia, Latin America and Caribbean. International community shall take responsibility for assuring human security wherever it may be threatened.”
“Education is a human right so we support strongly commitments in this regard, expecting future development of UNESCO’s initiatives, taking into consideration the needs of Africa and other regions. Special attention should be given to the intersectoral approach.”
“Poland welcomes special emphasis, which is placed nowadays on strengthening the reform of the Organization in order to make it even stronger and more operative. We also endorse the budgetary and programme proposals […]. We find them to be truly in line with submitted Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, which refines the UNESCO approach to programming and responds to the challenges of the twenty-first century counteracting globalization, climate changes, natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, extreme poverty and lack of fresh water.”
Furthermore, Poland stresses the importance of constant care of cultural heritage and would like to join the World Heritage Committee, a prestigious body, which articulates the needs of the international community in this regard.
Celebration of anniversaries 200th anniversary of the death of Tadeusz Kościuszko, political leader (1746-1817) (with the support of Lithuania, Switzerland and the Kosciuszko Foundation: The American Center of Polish Culture) (2017)
Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817) lived at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. In recognition of his activity for the sake of peace, independence and democracy – the equality of people regardless of their skin colour or religion – he is considered a national hero in Poland and in the United States. He emphasized the role of both practical and citizen education, so that men and women who regained freedom should be aware of their rights, but also their duties with respect to the freedom and welfare of others.
In Poland, he fought for the freedom and equality of all citizens: peasants, who had to work as slave-like serfs, Jews who were a religious minority, women, who had fewer rights than men, and other people who were not treated equally. He emphasized the importance and role of women in the society Kościuszko, which at that time was a very cutting-edge approach. He was a precursor of the development of national awareness in its modern sense, encompassing all social strata and groups. In his fight for freedom and independence, he favoured peaceful solutions.
In acknowledgement of his activity for the sake of independence, peace and equality for all, Kościuszko is a national hero in Poland and the United States, and an honorary citizen of the French Republic. It is worth emphasizing that all views and ideas which he advocated remain relevant and important today.
100th anniversary of the death of Ludwik Zamenhof, physician and linguist (1859-1917) (with the support of Germany and Slovakia) (2017)
Born inside the multinational community of the city of Białystok, L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) created the first version of his Lingwe Uniwersala already at a young age. In 1885 Zamenhof decisively finished his project of the international language as we know it today. In 1887 he published a textbook in Russian: “The international tongue – Preface and complete method”, under the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto. The pseudonym means “The Doctor who hopes” and has caught on as the name of the language. In the same year the textbook was published in Polish, French, German and English.
The first Esperanto clubs started to come into being, and the advantages of the language were recognized by linguists too. In 1905 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, the first World Congress of Esperanto took place. While staying in France, Zamenhof was decorated with the National Order of the Legion of Honour. In 1906 Zamenhof published humanitism (homaranismo), which is the idea of the union of all the nations communicating in a common language.
The Esperanto movement he initiated has spread all over the world, while the creator released all his rights, liberating Esperanto for every human’s use. The work of L. Zamenhof is known worldwide reaching over 120 countries. The idea of a common language has fascinated many people and lots of them made similar attempts at creating one, but Zamenhof’s case is the only one to have achieved world success.
||250th anniversary of the birth of Michał Kleofas Ogiński, composer, writer and diplomat (1765-1833) (Belarus, Lithuania, Poland) (2015)
This request, submitted by three countries – Belarus, Lithuania and Poland – focuses on the 250th anniversary of the birth of a composer and politician of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, (which also included Belarus). Michał Kleofas Ogiński was a well-known composer in Europe, highly regarded for his polonaises, including the famous “A Farewell to the Homeland”. In addition to his musical activity, Michał Kleofas Ogiński worked for the liberation of his country, helped to reform the University of Vilnius and, towards the end of his life, attempted to introduce important social reforms on his estate (now in Belarus). This commemoration, supported by three countries of the former Polish-Lithuanian Union, is a remarkable example of close international cooperation in order to preserve a shared cultural heritage, and shows how a common history can be explored in a spirit of mutual understanding and reconciliation.
100th anniversary of the birth of Tadeusz Kantor, artist (1915-1990) (2015)
Tadeusz Kantor is one of the greatest artists and reformers of twentieth-century European theatre, on a par with Piscator, Meyerhold, Barba, Brook and Grotowski. After the 1940s, he took inspiration from different artistic movements and his own historical experience to develop an original theatrical aesthetic, which he himself called “Theatre of Death”. In his shows he returned repeatedly to his roots and the village he came from – a crossroads of Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian and German culture – which had been ravaged by death during the war years. His highly expressive shows, loaded with reminiscences of this painful past, aimed to oppose totalitarianism along with its excesses and violence. Kantor's theatre had an international dimension; actors from Poland, France, Italy and other countries were members of his theatre company. He also had two main stages, one in Poland and one in Italy.
200th anniversary of the death of Jan Nepomucen Potocki, writer (1761-1815) (2015)
Jan Potocki was one of the most innovative writers of his time. Today he is recognized as a pioneer of the “fantastic” aesthetic of Roger Caillois and of the “fantastic” novels of Tzvetan Todorov. “The Saragossa Manuscript” is a highly original work which has often been compared to Boccaccio’s “Decameron” and “The Arabian Nights”. It consists of 66 stories that fit together in a highly ingenious construction. Its structure encompasses a variety of modes of narration and different forms of the novel, constantly playing on multiple cultural connotations – European, Christian, Jewish, Arab-Muslim, etc. It is also worth mentioning that Potocki contributed to the birth of ethnology, established the first free press in Warsaw in 1788 and, in 1792, opened the first free reading room in the city.
100th anniversary of the birth of Andrzej Panufnik, composer (1914-1991) (2014)
This proposal requests UNESCO patronage for the various celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important Polish and British composers of the twentieth century. As with the works of Witold Lutostawski, Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Gorecki, Andrzej Panufnik’s compositions played a major role in the musical landscape of the last century. After years of working in Poland and feeling stifled by the shackles imposed on art by the communist regime, Andrzej Panufnik left his country and moved to the United Kingdom, where he continued his career as a composer and was Chief Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a number of years. His many compositions are performed throughout Europe, in America (under the direction of Leopold Stokowski) and elsewhere. In 1950, Andrzej Panufnik was appointed Vice-President of the International Music Council at UNESCO. His music is deeply rooted in the history of the twentieth century, rich in human values (e.g. “Heroic overture” – which won a music competition in connection with the Helsinki Olympic Games, “Sinfonia di Speranza”, “Katyń Epitaph”, “Symphony of Peace”, “Universal Prayer”, “Invocation of Peace”, “A Procession for Peace”) and endeavours to convey a message of peace.
200th anniversary of the birth of Oskar Kolberg, ethno-musicologist (1814-1890) (2014)
This project focuses on the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Oskar Kolberg – an outstanding practitioner in the fields of ethnography, ethnomusicology and folklore studies. During his lifetime Kolberg identified and categorized by region the popular and folk culture of Poland and Western Ukraine. His work contains around 100 volumes under the common title "People: their customs, lifestyles, language, legends, proverbs and ceremonies." This landmark work makes him one of the most important European folklore specialists and a pioneer of cultural anthropology. The sheer scale of this documentation of oral creativity and popular culture was a unique phenomenon in nineteenth-century Europe. The wealth and diversity of the cultural traditions of the many regions of Poland identified by Kolberg make a significant contribution to the universal cultural heritage. The Polish Parliament has declared 2014 to be “Oskar Kolberg Year”.
100th anniversary of the birth of Witold Lutosławski, composer (1913-1994) (2013)
Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) Polish musician and conductor was the leading progressive figure in contemporary music of the second half of the twentieth century. He showed an exceptional musical talent at an early age, with his first compositions dating from 1922. He survived the difficult war years as well as the subsequent period by writing for radio, film and theatre. In addition, he arranged folk-songs and composed music for children.
He composed nearly 20 major orchestral works, including Symphony No. 3 (1982), for which he was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, and his final Symphony No. 4 (1992), commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Lutosławski’s extensive experience conducting his own works helped him to refine his musical language.
100th anniversary of the death of Bolesław Prus, writer (1847-1912) (2012)
Bolesław Prus (1847-1912) born Aleksander Głowacki, was the leading figure in Polish literature of the late 19th century and a distinctive voice in world literature. As a 15-year-old, he joined the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia. In 1872 at age 25, he settled into a 40-year journalistic career that highlighted science, technology, education, and economic and cultural development. As a sideline he wrote short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a larger canvas. Over the decade between 1884 and 1895, he completed four major novels: The Outpost, The Doll, The New Woman and Pharaoh.
Characteristic of Prus’ stories are his keen observation of everyday life and his sense of humour. Prus’ prose is often a poetic prose. His stories also often contain elements of fantasy or whimsy. A fair number of his stories originally appeared in New Year’s issues of newspapers.
100th anniversary of the birth of Czeslaw Milosz, writer (1911-2004) (Lithuania and Poland) (2011)
Czeslaw Milosz (1911, Šeteniai, Lithuania – 2004, Krakow, Poland), a poet, prose-writer, essayist and translator, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980 and received a number of other literary awards. He held honorary doctorates from a number of universities in the United States of America, Italy, Lithuania and Poland and was a honorary citizen of Lithuania and the City of Krakow.
After spending his youth in Vilnius, where he took his first steps as a poet, he worked in the Polish diplomatic service after the War – in the United States of America and France. He became a political exile in France in 1951 and was appointed professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) in 1960.
He is unanimously considered to be one of the most important poets of the twentieth century.
||150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, pianist and politician (1860-1941) (2010)
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), Polish pianist, composer, diplomat and politician, studied music in his childhood at the Warsaw Conservatorium. In 1881 he went to Berlin to study music composition and in 1884 he moved to Vienna, where he made his musical debut in 1887. He soon gained great popularity and his subsequent appearances (in Paris in 1889, and in London in 1890) were major successes. His brilliant playing created admiration; and his triumphs were repeated in the United States of America in 1891. His name became synonymous with the highest level of piano virtuosity. He became one of Poland’s world-renowned pianists and composers. In addition to delighting Poland and the world with his music for over 50 years, Paderewski also became one of Poland’s great statesmen.
Photo legend: © Centrum Paderewskiego. Tarnów – Kąśna Dolna
||200th anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Chopin, composer (1810-1849) (Poland, with the support of France) (2010)
Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849), a Polish composer and pianist, was one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the nineteenth century and an important composer of Romantic music. His music (mazurkas, polonaises, nocturnes, piano concertos, etudes, ballades and others) is still among that most frequently played today and remains essential to an understanding of piano music.
He spent the first part of his life in Warsaw, where he received comprehensive education and became a virtuoso pianist. During this period his compositions were described in Vienna as showing signs of genius. In 1830 he left Poland and in 1831 settled in Paris. Promptly joining the circle of musicians most in the public eye (Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller and Berlioz), he was enormously successful and soon became a famous and celebrated musician. Together with Franz Liszt, he was the father of modern piano technique and inspired a whole line of composers in his wake.
Photo legend: Gottfried Engelmann, lithograph drawings by Pierre Roche Vigneron published by Maurice Schlesinger in Paris, 1833, 287 x 217. Collections: Museum of Frédéric Chopin - Warsaw [M/936].
50th anniversary of the beginning of Jerzy Grotowski’s artistic work by the creation of the Laboratory Theatre (1959) (2009)
Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999), Polish theatre director, theoretician and writer, was one of the greatest reformers of twentieth-century theatre, especially in the field of acting. In 1959 he created the Laboratory Theatre led in cooperation with Ludwik Flaszen. J. Grotowski’s research undertaken in the Laboratory Theatre had a definitive impact on contemporary theatre at an international level, more particularly through the investigation of the nature of acting, its phenomenon as well as its meaning. Jerzy Grotowski created the concept and the artistic form of “Poor Theatre” in which the mental, the physical and emotional processes are intensively put forward.
||150th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski, writer (1857-1924) (2007)
Request supported by the National Commission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for UNESCO
Joseph Conrad, Polish-born English novelist, primarily seen in his own time as a writer of boys’ sea stories, is now highly regarded as a novelist whose work displays a deep moral consciousness and masterful narrative technique. His works (13 novels, two volumes of memoirs, and 28 short stories) demonstrate his major interest in the human condition and his political concern. Some of his novels can be considered autobiographical; however in all his literary works, fictions and essays, Conrad is most of all a moralist, highlighting the problems of individual responsibility and human solidarity.
||100th anniversary of the birth of Jerzy Giedroyc, writer (1906-2000) (2006)
Jerzy Giedroyć was a highly respected Polish émigré editor who was widely credited with keeping Polish culture alive during communist rule in his native land. He was a true advocate of sensible Polish policy towards both minorities and their homelands, an issue that has been one of Poland’s most difficult and awkward problems since it gained independence in 1918. He strived for normalizing Poland’s relations with Lithuania and Ukraine by the way of writing. The renowned Kultura, issued in Paris since 1947, quickly evolved into an influential, thought-provoking political-cultural periodical during the years when Poland was under communist domination. It was one of the few credible sources in Polish that took on the themes of relationships between Poles and Russians or Ukrainians and also analysed the situation in Poland itself. Czeslaw Milosz, Polish Nobel literature winner said for Giedroyć: “His memorable merit is that he understood the importance of national relations among neighbours in Europe”.
100th anniversary of the birth of Witold Gombrowicz (2004)
Avant-garde Polish writer, Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) focused his work on interpersonal relations and the complex attitudes of human beings in relation to cultural modes that are imposed on them. Both in his novels and in his plays, he stands up for individual freedoms and creativity. Exiled to Argentina at the age of 35, he also lived in Germany and France, which added to the universal dimension of his creations.
Translated into 28 languages, his work continues to influence contemporary literature, the theatre and the arts.
300th anniversary of the foundation of Wroclaw University (2002) (Poland, with the support of Austria, Czech Republic and Germany)
The Science Sector supports the joint proposal of the Austrian, Czech, German and Polish National Commissions for UNESCO to celebrate the tercentenary of the founding of Wroclaw University. Founded on 15 November 1702, Wroclaw is one of the oldest universities in Central and Eastern Europe which has made, and continues to make, an important contribution to the culture and science of Europe and the world. Today Wroclaw University has eight faculties and offers a wide variety of research fields in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, social sciences, etc. The authorities of the university wish to celebrate the anniversary under the motto: Intellectual Unit of Europe.
200th anniversary of the birth of Ignacio Domeyko (2002)
Ignacio Domeyko’s (1802-1889) intellectual legacy has a highly symbolic value. He really belongs to the constellation of men who have marked world history and whose ideas, activities and influence have transcended national boundaries, encouraging peoples to consolidate their cultural identities in a spirit of mutual respect. In 1855, a gold medal was struck in his honour with a motto “Science-Work-Disinterestedness”. Many localities and a chain of mountains in the Andes bear the name of Ignacio Domeyko as well as a mineral, various fossils and even a flower – “Viola Domeycana”.
One hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Polish composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin (1999).
The world renowned composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin undoubtedly embodied the expressive and technical characteristics of his instrument, and his music represents the quintessence of the romantic piano tradition.
A legendary performer and above all an improviser, he ranked as one of music’s greatest tone poets by his creative ability and fastidious craftsmanship. His style and lyrical quality, the remarkable delicacy of his touch, and the subtlety of his dynamic shading and pedalling, earned him worldwide recognition and respect.
An ardent patriot with revolutionary fervour, as well as internationalism and artistic openness enable Fryderyk Chopin to belong to the most illustrious
representatives of European intellectual circles sharing their artistic wealth and immensely contributing with his own.
The innovative harmonic language of his music foreshadowed Brahms, Wagner and other late romantics, as well as his influence being clearly discernible in the early years of the twentieth century, in the piano music of Rakhmaninov, Skryabin, Fauré, Debussy and many others. The unique musical legacy of Fryderyk Chopin is a remarkable part of world culture.
Two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz (Poland and Belarus) (24 December 1998).
As a poet and eminent cultural figure in Poland, Belarus and Lithuania and an advocate of the solidarity of peoples and their right to freedom, Adam Mickiewicz was known as the ‘Pilgrim of freedom’.
He is considered to be the greatest Polish poet; his periods of residence in Germany, Switzerland and France, and the influence of the poets of those countries, enabled him to impart a universal dimension to his work.
The Polish and Belarusian authorities have set up a national and international organizing committee for this celebration, which plans to organize exhibitions and lectures in Poland, Belarus and France, to re-issue the poet’s works, to publish new translations of his writings, to issue a postage stamp and a medal, etc.
Centenary of the discovery of radium and polonium by Pierre Curie and Marie Sklodowska-Curie (1998).
This discovery of considerable scientific importance was made in the course of handling the mineral pitchblende, from which Pierre and Marie Curie isolated the highly radioactive elements radium and polonium; this earned them the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911.
The transformation of these elements, giving off an enormous amount of energy and emitting radiation with multiple properties - the power to kill bacteria, and physiological action resulting in the destruction of tissue - has made it possible to use them for various therapeutic and technological purposes.
Two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko (4 February 1996).
Centenary of the birth of the Polish writer Jozef Czapski (3 April 1996).
150th anniversary of the birth of Frederic Chopin (proposed by Poland and Czechoslovakia) (1960)