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On April 6, 2018, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Poland to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Jacek Izydorczyk, and the First Secretary, Ms. Urszula Osmycka.
Education - Madoka
Poland is a country with a very high literacy and school enrolment rate. His Excellency Mr. Jacek Izydorczyk explained to us the significance of education in Poland. He commented that students in Poland are very studious since centuries ago. H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk introduced to us that the first university in Poland was established in 1364 (654 years ago); much earlier than universities in neighboring countries.One difference that H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk had noted between the educational culture in Poland and Japan is the use of uniforms.He commented that Polish students since the war has stopped wearing uniforms, while in Japan,
uniforms remain a very prominent part of schooling culture to this day.
Goals – Madoka
H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk listed four aspects to his goals as an Ambassador: the improvement of the political, economic, cultural, and scientific relations between Poland and Japan. He explained that all four of these aspects are closely related to one another, henceforth each being significant for achieving further excellent relations between the two countries.
Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk expressed his belief that contacts between Poland and Japan should not only be held on the top level but also on the local level. Not only on the top level but also on the local level. For instance, H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk takes efforts to visit various places in Japan to engage with the local people of the country. This is exemplified by his visit to Tsuruga last week.
World Peace - Madoka
H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk assures that Polish people value world peace as a very important aspect of living. He explained to us that “everyone wants to live in peace”, and that it is important for all people to understand each other and have a sound education. He shared to us his belief that education is a tool that can help people and henceforth political activities to become “wiser”. He aspires that education can lead to minimizing the dangers of war.
Japan Relationship - Yukina
Ambassador Mr. Jack Izydorczyk said that the relationship between Poland and Japan is good, but it is not enough. Most Japanese people visit Poland for only 2~3 days, which is too short to see its cultural attractiveness. Ambassador Mr. Jack Izydorczyk commented that Japanese people are curious and like to learn, so he wants more people learn Poland’s history, land and culture. He wants “more Japanese people to discover Poland.”
Globalization - Madoka
H.E. Mr. Izydorczyk believes that the outcomes of globalization heavily depends on the actions of the people. He expressed, “Everyone has a choice”; Globalization can be used in a positive or negative way, depending on the choices made in reaction to it.
Gender Equality - Yukina
“We don’t have any gender problems. The status of woman is always high” Ambassador Mr. Jacek Izydorczyk said definitely. The gender equality in Poland is related to its history. In the 14th century, a woman was elected as the “king”. Everyone admitted her as a “king,” even though she was a female. And in 1918, after World War, a law was elected which decided that men and women were equal. Therefore, even now, women in Poland play important roles.
Passion - Kokoro
Ambassador Mr. Jacek Izdorczyk’s passion about working as the Polish ambassador in Japan is to promote Poland, especially to Japanese people. He hopes for more foreigners to visit the land as direct flights to Warszawa has started flying from two years ago and will soon be flying from Japan everyday. Alongside, he introduced some of Poland’s tourist sites other than the major cities where most people visit. He had mentioned that Japanese usually spend only two to three days in the country but believes that is too short of a time period to fully explore Poland’s deep culture. In addition, the ambassador had stated that he feels very comfortable being ambassador in Japan as Japan feels like home to him because it is a very convenient country to live in. Similarly, since he had lived in Japan from before being ambassador, he had already adapted to living in Japan.
Message - Kokoro
Ambassador Mr. Jacek Izdorczyk’s message towards Japanese students is to study more and discover more. As students have the best opportunities to learn about their true academic passions, the ambassador hopes for us students to take advantages to what we are offered and take further steps in our studies. He also believes students should discover more and to be open minded about new ideas and perspectives. We should not only be open minded about academic interests but about our surroundings as well. He mentioned that he hopes the same for Polish students as well to study hard and have open minds. The ambassador wishes for Japanese students and Japanese people to visit Poland as well as the rest of the world.
Cultural Values - Kokoro
Ambassador Mr. Jacek Izdorczyk mentioned that some of the cultural values he sees in the people of Poland is hospitality and politeness. Although Japan and Poland have different religions, culture, and history, both people share the same cultural values. While Japan expresses hospitality through omotenashi, Polish people expresses hospitality in their own way through what they believe is most hospitable when welcoming visitors from different countries. One cultural value that the ambassador realized was different from Japanese people is that Polish people are more straightforward when communicating ideas. While Japanese people switch around words or are careful about their wording to cover their true intentions, Polish people tend to speak as exactly what they think.
On March 31st, 2015, the International School Network went to the Embassy of Poland. We interviewed the Ambassador, his Excellency Mr. Cyryl Kozaczewski to learn about Polish culture, its people, and the nation in general. During our encounter, the Ambassador shared with us the wonders of Poland including well-known Polish composer Chopin’s impact to the nation’s recognition, as well as some other aspects of Poland that is still not known very much but can be appealing to future visitors of the country.
Poland is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north. The flatland geography is a characteristic of Poland that many people associate to the nation with. Agriculture is the basic activity despite it being industrial in southern areas, where the geography is mountainous. Lakes are also a unique feature and as a result, the country is often referred to as the “Land of 1000 Lakes”. Home to Europe’s oldest forest, there exist various types of fascinating animals such as bisons. Eagle is a well-respected bird and symbolizes the country.
Poland is known to be the first exporters of apples. The nation has a strong industry, producing products relating to steel and chemicals. Southern Poland is also rich in coal mining and to this date, they are one of the biggest coal exporters within the EU.
The educational system of Poland is created with appreciation of opportunities as Polish education was limited for decades due to the numerous wars they had to be involved in. Languages such as English, French, German, and Russian are taught at school, with English being the most popular choice. The Ambassador, himself learnt German. There are Elementary School, High School, and University level education and history has been one of the key subjects for Polish students to learn at school.
The Ambassador served us some candies, telling us how much Polish people love sweets. He also told us how Poles have consistently been a contributor of the development of ideas and prosperity. Chopin has become so famous that there is an annual Chopin competition, in which the largest participants are Japanese. He stated that Poland is well-known for classical music; however Chopin’s music style was influenced by folk music. In addition, people value family due to the effect of war. He mentioned that no Polish family is untouched by war and it is significant to remember all the wars they have experienced. Because of how strong the family bonds are, Christmas time is the warmest, important holidays, where families gather and share different stories. Additionally, there is a holiday similar to the Japanese お盆(Obon), where Poles pay tribute to those who had passed away. During this holiday, there are often unique atmospheres of cemeteries that could be seen where thousands of candles are on graves. The candles indicate family ties and how strong and appreciated they are.
Lastly, Mr. Kozaczewski commented that there are many stories that link Poland and Japan and that in the future, he would want to do wonderful things with the Japanese people. He is interested in communicating with everyone helping to promote his nation. When asked if he had any messages to the Japanese people, he said, “Try to visit Poland because it is difficult to inform your colleagues about Poland (without experiencing the country). Also, it is important to know about other countries since they will benefit acquaintance with other culture, habits, and cuisines. Be more interested in the world, particularly Poland because there are still elements to be explored.”
(Reported by Kurumi Onishi)
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kurumi Onishi 10th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School
Tamao Itou 1st Yokohama National University