The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs


The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs, also known as AIPA, is an independent, voluntary organisation, established in 1991 in Australia to inform the Australian public about issues related to Polish history, politics, society and culture. The immediate trigger for establishing the Institute was strong public interest in the historic changes that swept Central Europe in 1989 and led to the collapse of communism. Due to the leading role Poland played in these events, there was a considerable demand for authoritative information on Poland which the establishment of AIPA has met. Liasing regularly with leading Australian universities AIPA has sponsored numerous lecture tours around Australia of important public figures who have made a significant contribution to the transition of Poland from communism to democracy. The list of AIPA guests includes, among others, former Prime Ministers Hanna Suchocka, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki and Marek Belka, principal architect of Poland’s economic reforms Leszek Balcerowicz, former director of Radio Free Europe Jan Nowak-Jeziorański and Archbishop of Lublin Jozef Zycinski.

Another stream of AIPA’s activities focuses on fostering Polish-Jewish dialogue. Australia is home to a substantial number of Holocaust survivors, including a large number from Poland. The purpose of the dialogue is to build and maintain harmonious relations between the communities that have had historical ties with Poland and to dispel myths and mutual stereotypes that have arisen particularly with regard to the Second World War experiences. This objective has been served by the visits of, among others, the distinguished human rights activist and journalist Adam Michnik, former Foreign Affairs Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, the historian of the Holocaust, Gunnar Paulsson as well as Jan Karski, who as a clandestine courier of the Polish Government in exile, disclosed to the world the truth about the Shoah. The current and past presidents of AIPA: Prof. Jerzy Zubrzycki (1991-95) Prof. Andrzej Ehrenkreutz (1995-97), Prof. Martin Krygier (1997-2001), Prof. Jan Pakulski (2001-2005), Adam Warzel (2005-current).

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