10 years with International Visitor Leadership Program
10 years with International Visitor Leadership Program

On September 18, 2017 the PAFW Leaders participating in study visits to the USA were hosted by the U.S. Ambassador Paul W. Jones. Attending the meeting were Katarzyna Czayka-Chełmińska, the Vice President of School of Leaders Foundation, and Jerzy Koźmiński, the PAFF President and CEO.


Thanks to cooperation of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation with the U.S. Embassy in Poland and the U.S. Department of State, 110 participants of the “PAFF Leaders” Program have taken part in study visits to the USA as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).



“For ten years we have made efforts to shape the program in such a way that it prepared you best to the role of leaders in your local communities. By participating in that program, you are also ambassadors of Polish-American relations,” stated Ambassador Paul W. Jones in his welcome address. The host of the meeting emphasized that the best foundation for good Polish-American relations are strong people-to-people ties.



“Study visits to the USA allow establishing new, valuable contacts, gaining important experience, and are the source of many valuable inspirations. They are also an example of those PAFF achievements where the American component is clearly visible,” pointed Jerzy Koźmiński, the Polish American Freedom Foundation President and CEO. In his speech, he emphasized that 10-year cooperation of the “PAFF Leaders” Program and International Visitor Leadership Program would not be possible without involvement of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and School of Leaders Foundation, which from its inception plays brilliantly the role of the “PAFF Leaders” Program Manager.



In her address to study visits participants, Katarzyna Czayka-Chełmińska emphasized how important the role of leadership is. “Leadership is important, it can have many faces and it is worth investing. While participating in study visits to the USA, each of you learns how to be a local leader, how to use experience gained for the benefit of local community,” said the Vice President of School of Leaders Foundation.



“We gained a lot thanks to our visit to the USA, although each of us has his or her own history. I have a feeling that we got new knowledge which will bear fruit in our leader activities,” says Marta Siciarek, leader of 11th round of the program, who told about impressions from her study visit to the United States.



International Visitor Leadership Program is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional and cultural exchange program for leaders active in such areas as politics, media, business, education, science or culture. The program serves enhancing mutual understanding and relations of the USA and other countries. The program participants take part in series of personalized visits to various regions of the USA, which reflect their needs and interests. The purpose of the program is to establish relationships between public-life leaders in the USA and their counterparts in partner countries.



Over 10 years, 110 PAFF Leaders and tutors participated in a series of study visits to the USA as part of IVLP. Each visit had different theme but all of them served exchange of experiences on social change and local communities activation. In total, PAFF Leaders visited 30 cities in 17 states.


By Przemysław Zaroń, photos by Beata Czarnecka