This is our special episode, made entirely in Poland (except one segment recorded in Vienna).
Both Tomek and I happened to be in Poland and our separate visits had a few-day overlap.
One of the segments was recorded in Vienna, where I travelled to receive a prestigious award – The Golden Owl, often called the Polish Oscars. Mine was in the category of Media, which did include our POLcast as well.
While in Vienna, the day before the Golden Owl award gala, all the recipients were invited to a beautiful concert by Camerata Polonia, a Polish chamber orchestra. What a treat! The concert of film music featured a guest from Poland – renowned clarinetist from Katowice Roman Widaszek.
Camerata Polonia, created in 2010 and conducted by a famous Vienna conductor as well as concert organist and pianist-accompanist Marek Kudlicki, is the only exclusively Polish orchestra in the world. It consists exclusively of Polish musicians living in Austria, most of whom are young musicians – soloists successful in international competitions, but also members of other chamber ensembles and orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Warsaw is full of young people – students from all over the world. At a panel discussion about the future of Europe, I met three brilliant young women – a Pole and two Hungarians, one of whom moved to Austria. One of the issues that came up at the panel discussion we all attended was lack of involvement of Polish and Hungarian young people in what’s going on around them. I talked to my new young friends to hear their views on this topic.
But is there anything done to involve young people in what’s going on around them – to activate them, show them how to become volunteers, how to organize events that interest them? Yes, there are people whose mission is to do precisely that. One the the most passionate people working with high school students is Jolanta Kulik and the results of her work are quite amazing.
Jola mentioned a debate club which meets once a month in a Warsaw cafe. It’s called Ladies and Gentlemen Club. I attended its March meeting and was extremely impressed with the quality of the discussion, and the level of its participants. It was a group of about 20, the youngest participants being Jola Kulik’s high school students (their English and their knowledge are truly extraordinary). My Polish and Hungarian students also came and participated actively. There were also many adults. In terms of nationalities the group was also mixed. The debate club’s discussions are chaired by Richard Washington, who is British, the director of Communications and Recruitment at the College of Europe, a bilingual (English and French) independent university institute of postgraduate European studies with the main campus in Belgium, but also one in Warsaw.
Every time I return to Warsaw, the city I was born in, it amazes me with its vitality and I can hardly recognize the places with new super modern buildings appearing everywhere, with its beautiful coffee shops and restaurants, and lots of culture. I think there are even more foreigners in Warsaw than two years ago, when I was here last. And yet its rich history is everywhere as well – on a wall outside a beautiful cafe you can see a plaque which says that this is the place w
here Warsaw 1944 uprising fighters were emerging from the sewage canals through which they escaped from the totally destroyed Old Town.
We are very happy that we could bring POlcast to Poland. There is a lot of interest in it and we signed an agreement with the Polish radio broadcasting in English that they will use our POLcast materials so that Polish radio listeners around the world will listen to the exciting stories which we find and present on POLcast.