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PAHA Presents Its 2016 Awards

At The 74th Annual Meeting In Denver, CO – January 5-7, 2017

Los Angeles, CA – December 8, 2016 – At the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO (January 5-7, 2017), the Polish American Historical Association will announce the winners of its annual awards. The PAHA 74th Annual Meeting will also include many scholarly presentations held in conjunction with the 131st annual meeting of the American Historical Association.

The Oskar Halecki Prize recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States.  Eligibility  is  limited  to  works  of  historical  and/or  cultural  interest,  including  those  in  the  social sciences or humanities, published in the two years prior to the award.  The 2017 Halecki Prize will be presented to Prof. Mieczysław B. Biskupski, for his book The Most Dangerous German Agent in America (NIU Press, 2015).

The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community. It will be presented to Dr. Alvin Mark Fountain II and Brenda Bruce who co-founded the Paderewski Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014 ( Dr. Fountain, the President of the Festival, is a former administrator with the State of North Carolina and for more than 25 years he taught history at North Carolina State University. In 2008, Dr. Fountain was appointed as an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland. The Vice-President and Secretary of the Festival, Brenda Bruce is an accomplished pianist, harpsichordist, acclaimed teacher, and accompanist dedicated to the promotion of classical piano performance of the highest quality.

Dr. Stephen Leahy of Shantou University, China, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.  Dr.  Leahy’s crucial role as the co-founder and moderator of PAHA’s Facebook group is just one of his many achievements as a long-time PAHA Board member, dedicated to the promotion of the association and its research interests world-wide.

The Swastek Prize is awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association. This award, established in 1981, is named in honor of Rev. Joseph V. Swastek (1913-1977), the editor of Polish American Studies for many years, and a past president of PAHA. The Editorial Board of Polish American Studies recommended that the Swastek Prize be presented to Prof. Paweł Ziętara of Warsaw, Poland for “Troubles with ‘Mela’: A Polish American Reporter, the Secret Services of People’s Poland, and the FBI” (PAS 72, No 1, Spring 2015). Ziętara’s article assembles massive, painstaking research and presents a portrait of communist activity in the USA in the postwar period that is not well known. It brings to light a subject both significant and fascinating, and is based almost entirely on original archival sources.

The Creative Arts Award will be bestowed on Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, for her achievements as a poet, especially in her two books dedicated to Polish victims of WWII, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and The Rainy Bread, (Moonrise Press, 2016). Her books of poetry include Rose Always, 2008; Miriam’s Iris, 2008; Into Light, 2016; and two anthologies, Chopin with Cherries, 2010, and Meditations on Divine Names, 2012. Dr. Trochimczyk served as Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles in 2010-2012 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016.

The Skalny Civic Achievement Awards honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish-American community and culture.  The 2016 Skalny Awards will honor the following individuals:

Marta Alicja Swica of Minneapolis, MN, former president of the Polanie Women’s Club, an important cultural association of Polish women, active since the 1920s and distinguished through their vast publishing activities. After the dissolution of the Club, Ms. Swica led the effort to secure all the historical records of the Club and successfully negotiated their placement at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota as well as the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

Tomasz Skotnicki, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Denver, CO,  since 2005, is strongly linked to local Polonia communities, first in Santa Barbara where he organized Polish community events to celebrate national holidays. In Colorado, he co-organizes visits of representatives of Polish government including President Lech Walesa, organizes consular events, cooperates with the Polish Club and the Kosciuszko Foundation. Mr. Skotnicki actively promotes Polish culture and history and helps Poles who are in need.

Katarzyna Zak, President of the Polish Club in Denver, has made numerous contributions to the promotion of Polish culture and activities of local Polish society, including numerous events, support for the Polish library, and more. She is a member of the Polonia Council convened by the Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles.

President of the Polish American Film Society, Elizabeth Kanski and Artistic Director of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, Vladek Juszkiewicz are recognized by the 2016 Skalny Award for their work as organizers of the Film Festival, held in Los Angeles for the past 16 years and promoting Polish cinema and international film collaborations ( through hundreds of screenings, lectures, and panel presentations in Los Angeles and Orange County, in collaboration with CSUN, USC, UCLA and other partners.

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award will be presented to Joanna Kulpińska from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland for her paper “Multigenerational Migration Chains of Families from Babica: An Attempt at Typology.” Established in 2008, the Graduate Student Research Paper Award recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences and consists of a travel grant and presentation at the Annual Meeting.

The newly instituted Graduate Student/ Young Scholar Travel Grant will be presented to Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf from the University of Gdańsk, Poland, for her paper “Creating Identity: Discussion around Kashubian and Polish Identity in Canada and Poland.”

Dr. Iwona Drag Korga, Executive Director of the Pilsudski Institute in New York City, has served as the Chair of the Awards Committee for 2017. The Awards Reception will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2017, starting at 7 p.m., at the Polish Club of Denver (3121 West Alameda Ave. Denver, CO 80219). Award winners are invited to attend free of charge, all other guests and conference participants should register, $50.00 per person.


The Program of PAHA’s 74th Annual Meeting includes eight sessions on diverse aspects of Polonia’s culture, presented from historical, sociological, anthropological, and literary perspectives with a focus on immigration issues. Sessions include: immigrant and Ethnic Identity, Constructing Ethnicity in Polish American Literature, Narrating Migration: Subjectivities and Communities in Poland and the United States; Prominent Poles in America; Between Europe and North America: (Im)migration and Social Justice; East Central Europe: What’s in the Name? The View from Exile. An “Author Meets Critic Session” will explore The Polish Hearst: Ameryka-Echo and the Public Role of the Immigrant Press by Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann. Papers on architect Thomas Lewinski, pianist-composer-statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and writer Anthony Bukoski will study eminent individuals and the meeting will conclude with a Roundtable Discussion on “Progressive: Polish-Americans for Social Progress, Jamestown through the 21st Century.” See the attached full program for further details.


About PAHAThe Polish American Historical Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture as part of the larger Polish diaspora. Founded in 1942 as part of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, PAHA became an autonomous scholarly society in 1948 and is an affiliate of  the American  HistoricalAssociation. PAHA publishes a newsletter and a biannual scholarly peer reviewed  journal, Polish American Studies (University of Illinois Press, ISSN 0032-2806; eISSN 2330-0833;; with past issues on JSTOR). PAHA has over 600 international members, including both individuals and institutions. Membership is open to all individuals interested in the fields of Polish American history and culture, and immigration studies.


Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.
PAHA Secretary and Communications Director
818 384 8944