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Farewell To Ambassador
Schnepf And Diplomats

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s going to be a major changing of the guard here at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland this summer when six diplomats will complete their respective years-long tours of duty here and will depart for Warsaw and reassignment. Among the esteemed departees are Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, Vice-Consul Ewa Pietrasienska, her husband Dr. Pawel Pietrasienski – Head of the Trade and Investment Section, Consul General Piotr Konowrocki and his wife Consular Officer Julia Konowrocka. Commanding Military Attaché Brigadier General Jaroslaw Strozyk was reassigned back to Poland over two months ago.

In photo: Consul General Piotr Konowrocki with wife Consular Officer Julia Konowrocka.

The diplomats mentioned above were all honored during a festive reception – albeit tinged with a bit of melancholy – here at the Kosciuszko Foundation on July 2, 2016 under the auspices of Director Basia Bernhardt. Over 80 persons were in attendance. Due to the unexpected absence of the pianist, General Edward Rowny played the Polish national anthem on his trustworthy harmonica. Heartfelt testimonials were voiced about the Ambassador and the supportive staff. Poetic and theatrical vignettes were performed in Polish by talented admirers. Standard and unique remembrance gifts were dispensed … one given in good fun was a decorative witch’s broom – and much appreciated by the recipient with a big laugh. Polish Embassy Chef Andrzej Bielach and Creative European Cooking prepared a sumptuous Polish buffet enjoyed by all.

DSC05453forwebPictured (ON LEFT) are Ambassador Ryszard and Dorota Schnepf with their children Maksymilian and Antonia at a reception given on their behalf hosted by the Kosciuszko Foundation at its 3rd Annual Polish Day festivities. Other departing diplomats present were also feted.

Ambassador Schnepf began his moving farewell speech by thanking “everyone for coming to say goodbye to us,” with his eyes visibly welling up. He thanked his staff “for a job well done in accomplishing the diplomatic goals of Poland, and cementing the good ties between Poland and the United States (U.S.)” The Trade and Investment Section was cited for the growing economic ties with the U.S. over the past few years. “Our Consular Section gave much help to those in need and in times of crisis.”  Addressing the audience, Schnepf said “with your help we promoted and developed cultural ties across the U.S.”

“My biggest disappointment was the failure of getting Poland admitted into the Visa Waiver Program – lamented Ambassador Schnepf – despite our coordinated efforts with Polish Americans and intense lobbying on Capitol Hill.  Polish Americans must become even more vocal in attaining those things important to Poland. Young Polish Americans must rise to become Congressmen and Senators – we must become engaged and not remain silent.”

In photo, left: Commanding Military Attache Brigadier General Jaroslaw Strozyk.
In photo on right: DSC_1225aforwebHead Trade & Investment Section Dr. Pawel Pietrasienski with wife Vice-Consul Ewa Pietrasienska.

DSC05534forwebConcluding his remarks, Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf said “I thank you all for the support you gave to our Embassy … and we will see you all in Poland!



Text & Photos
Richard Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau

July 8, 2016