First international senior housing conference in Krakow

The European Property Institute and City of Krakow announced on May 16, 2013, the first senior housing conference in Poland entitled “Housing for Seniors, Growing Opportunities for Public and Private Sectors.”

Featured conference speakers include experts from the development community, sociologists, gerontologists, economists, city planners, housing professionals and members of the academic and investment communities.

The conference will be held June 27-28, 2013 in Krakow at the City Council Chambers.

It is an important issue for the foreseeable future. Within 20 years one of four citizens of Poland will be over 65 years old. According to the Central Statistics Office, by 2060 the number of people over 80 years old will be four to five times higher. Caring for seniors will increase to 1.1% of GDP, and the total annual costs of health and social protection will amount to $19.5 billion.

During the coming decade, Polish society will confront for the first time a situation where senior citizens will be the majority population. A significant portion of seniors will want to continue to live independently. These are the people upon whom the conference will focus.

Also on the agenda will be discussions regarding social, economic and investment issues and how best to handle or overcome these potential issues. Some of the conference topics include: reverse mortgages, what is currently missing in creating housing policies and changes in housing cooperatives.

The goals of the conference include, but are not limited to:

-Start discussions in Poland on senior housing choices
-Formulation of conclusions for future senior housing development
-Learning about international experiences
-Working out solutions for the public and private sectors
-Facilitating contacts among senior housing stakeholders

For more information about attending and sponsorship opportunities for this event, contact Monika Gawlik at , visit or call 48 12 601 922 996.

Source: Polonia Media Network

PMA obtains grants from Polish Foreign Ministry

Thanks to the recommendation by the Polish Consulate General in Chicago, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to grant the Polish Museum of America (PMA) four grants to the total value of $30,000 for various museum projects, among them digitizing the photo collection, conservation of rare books, purchasing flat file cabinets for archival use and organizing the exhibit of the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

At a meeting on Friday, May 18, 2013 at the Polish Consulate General in Chicago, Consul General Paulina Kapuscinska and Museum Managing Director Jan M. Lorys, signed agreements on the grants to PMA.

In attendance during the meeting were also PMA President Maria Bronny Ciesla, Deputy Consul General Robert Rusiecki, Vice Consul Konrad Zielinski, PMA Head Archivist Halina Misterka, Head Librarian Malgorzata Kot and Photography Collection Curator Julita Siegel.

A PMA spokesman said it appreciates the support granted by the Polish State, specifically the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and acknowledges this assistance, as well as the funds received in the past.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Celebrating 25 years of Free Poland

WARSAW–Polish President Bronisław Komorowski has announced Freedom Year to mark a quarter-century of Poland’s regained independence. The event was kicked off with a nationally televised presidential pep talk extolling Free Poland’s achievements since 1989, and plenty of documentary footage recalling the country’s road to freedom. And in what was called a Solidarity Olympiade, some 3,000 students from 432 schools around the country demonstrated their knowledge of Poland’s recent history.

Rather than starting on January 1, Poland’s Freedom Year is to run until June 4, 2014, marking 25 years to the day when Poles voted to put an end to the Soviet-style communist rule. As part of a round-table deal thrashed out between Poland’s communist rulers and the Solidarity-led opposition, partially democratic elections were held in which Lech Walesa’s Citizens Committees won all they were permitted (35%) in the Sejm (lower house) and 99% of the freely contested Senate.

General euphoria swept the land as thousands of Poles triumphantly marched through the streets in victory parades, waving Polish flags and Solidarity banners. In September 1989, Catholic journalist Tadeusz Mazowiecki became post-war Poland’s first non-communist prime minister. A year later, Solidarity leader Lech Walesa was elected president.

But the general enthusiasm soon began petering out when it became apparent that the anticipated “freedom and prosperity” did not necessarily go hand in hand. Consumer abundance soon emerged, as new supermarkets and discount stores tempted shoppers with modern, glittery goods – a far cry from the empty store shelves and long lines of the communist era. But after a shock-therapy economic reform slashed the Poles’ purchasing power in the early 1990s, most had only enough cash for the bare necessities.

Pol-Ams visiting Poland after a long break have generally been quite impressed by what they see. Polish big cities display an aura of modernity and pizzazz comparable to that of other world cities. There are modern shopping malls with large chain stores and trendy boutiques, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and other well-known establishments. There are gourmet restaurants and fashionable cafés, American-style bowling alleys and even clean public restrooms, the lack of which was once a common tourist complaint. But when Pol-Am visitors sit down and chat with their Old Country cousins, they soon learn things are not quite as rosy as they may seem.

A major problem Poles had never experienced earlier is unemployment. The sell-out of unprofitable state-owned factories to private, mainly foreign business, deprived many of secure, lifelong jobs. The unemployment rate reached 20% in 2002-2003, but even now stands at an alarming 14%. In small towns and rural areas as well as in certain groups such as recent college graduates, it is even higher. And, it would be worse still if the some two million Poles now working in the British Isles and elsewhere were to suddenly return.

An important gain of Free Poland has been the freedom to travel. Under communism, Poles had to apply for permission to travel abroad and the authorities decided whether to give them their passport which was kept at a government office. Now every Pole has the right to keep his passport at home, which isn’t even needed to freely travel to other European Union countries.

Most Poles support Poland’s EU membership for the financial aid that has provided, but many complain the bloc’s Brussels headquarters interferes too much in Poland’s internal affairs. Though a milestone that nearly all Poles are in favor of has been their country’s membership in NATO, which it joined in 1999. There is general agreement that the country has never been so secure in its more than 1,000-year history. Historic foes Germany and Russia no longer pose a threat under the protective Euro-Atlantic umbrella.

The country has had its ups and downs since 1989. Like most everywhere else, there have been violent street protests, scandals and scams. Poland’s political scene has traditionally been a rough and tumble affair, and the 2010 Smolensk air disaster that killed Poland’s First Couple and 94 other mostly prominent political and military leaders has polarized public opinion like no other single issue.

But when all is said and done, a recent opinion poll has shown that 75% of those surveyed were satisfied that Poland was no longer a communist country, down from 83% three years ago. Many observers believe that some of the 25% who now claim things were better under communist rule would not really want to go back if that were possible. Mainly, they are venting their frustration with the economic crisis, unemployment, high prices, a deteriorating healthcare system and other shortcomings of daily life.

Source: Robert Strybel, Warsaw Correspondent

Emergency hotline launched for foreign tourists in Poland

On June 1, 2013, Poland launched an emergency hotline to help foreign tourists obtain required information during their stay in Poland. Two hotline numbers are available between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. every day and serviced by English, German and Russian-speaking operators. The phone numbers are +48 608 599 999 and +48 22 278 77 77.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Member to volunteer in Dominican Republic

Zambrello

Heather Zambrello, an 18-year-old Member from Nest 519 Middletown, Conn., will be spending her summer vacation in a special way. Heather has volunteered with the Dominican Republic Mission Team of Wallingford, Conn. and will be leaving just after graduation from Vinal Technical High School. Heather will be helping to bring vital health care to the town in the Third World country. In June, 100 people will travel to help build a hospital, houses, install water filtration, distribute food, run medical clinics and provide educational, social and recreational programs for children. Heather has participated in National and District Zlots, National Volleyball Tournaments and National Youth Camp. When Heather returns from her trip, she will be attending Central Connecticut State University. Nest 519 and the Falcons are proud to have Zambrello as a Member!