We are excited to recommend to our readers the blog of the 2009 Humanity-in-Action participants, “Warsaw’s Melting Pot,” at http://hiapoland.blogspot.com/, where this year’s participants are discussing a range of issues from women’s rights to national minorities to the situation of disable persons in Poland.  You can also see photos from their activities, including a tour of Warsaw and a visit to the former concentration camp at Treblinka. 

Want to take part in this program in 2010?  Application is highly competitive.  Bookmark the HiA Poland page and check back in the winter for more information about next year’s Core Program in Poland as well as the U.S.-based program.

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This year, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw has been pleased to support the fourth summer program of Humanity-in-Action Poland, a unique educational and exchange program that brings Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, and Americans together in Poland to work through some of the most difficult questions of history and the present moment.  The summer fellowship program includes several lectures and workshops, as well as a period of research and writing.  Fellows are encouraged to pursue individual action projects in their communities that aim to improve minority rights, and those who complete these projects become Senior Fellows, with the opportunity to apply for international internships and to participate in a network of alumni from all over Europe and the United States. 

We at the Embassy have had the pleasure of supporting this program over the last year, and last night, we were able to celebrate this year’s fellows along with several special guests — Dr. Judith Goldstein, Executive Director of Humanity in Action; Ambassador Eugeniusz Smolar, Chairman of HiA Poland; Ambassador Janusz Reiter, President of HiA Poland; many HiA Senior Fellows from Poland and the United States.  Deputy Chief of Mission Pamela Quanrud hosted this group in her home, where she encouraged the fellows to continue working for minority rights well after the program’s conclusion.  She said:

Your influence will be both individual and as part of a network of people committed to democratic values and minority rights.  Whether you choose to work in politics, in private business, in the non-government sector, in the arts, or in any other field, you can help construct a more peaceful world.

Her comments reinforced the message that Ambassador Victor Ashe delivered to this year’s Fellows during their opening ceremony on June 9:

This exceptional program created by Humanity-in-Action Poland will, I hope, inspire you to be leaders in your communities.  I hope it will strengthen your beliefs while at the same time helping you become more open to the views of others.  I hope it will empower you to go out into the world and strengthen human rights.  I hope that you will leave here with a network and a knowledge base that will support and inspire you throughout your lives.

It is an honor for us to take part in this exceptional program and to get to know the many extraordinary people from all over the world who participate as Fellows and who make it possible as supporters and staff.  We hope you will all stay in touch.