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History of the Polish Fulbright Alumni Association

In January, 1992, the Polish - U.S. Fulbright Commission put notices in a number of Polish newspapers inviting former Fulbrighters to contact the Commission. In September, the Office sent out to more than 300 alumni a questionnaire with the aim of establishing an up-to-date roster and identifying people willing to participate in organizing an alumni association. Some 160 alumni declared their wish to join the association.

The first meeting of the alumni was organized by the Commission in November, 1992 in the newly opened American Center. A committee of seven was chosen to write a statute and register both the statute and the association with the Polish Court. The second alumni meeting was held in January, 1993, at the Warsaw University Rector's office. 65 participants approved the statute of the Association and discussed the aims and purposes of the association. The Polish Fulbright Alumni Association (PFAA) and its Statute were registered by the Polish Court in February, 1993.

The first General Meeting was held in October, 1993 with over 150 alumni and invited guests. The participants heard words of support from the U.S. Charge d'Affaires a.i. and the Vice Minister of National Education and a history of the Fulbright Program from Poland's first Fulbright scholar. A permanent chairman and a four-person board were elected. A highlight of the meeting was the announcement that, as the result of the application of PFAA and the Polish Fulbright Comission, Senator Fulbright had been awarded the Government of Poland's highest award for a foreigner: the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic.

During a special ceremony at the Polish Embassy in Washington in December 1993, a delegation of PFAA and the Commission handed the Cross to Mrs. Harriet Fulbright, who represented her husband.

The intent of the Association is to build on its educational and social resources and to conduct its activities in a manner which is consistent with the mission of the Program. The PFAA has been advising U.S. Fulbrighters about professional and personal life in Poland. In June/July 1996 Association organized the international conference "Education for Transition to Market Economy". There were 200 participants from Europe and America.

Acoording to the the PFAA's Statute, the General Meeting is held every two years.