In the past few months I had posted a few blogs highlighting extraordinary Polish men and women - from Canada, the United States, Australia, France, Britain, and Brazil. Some of them may already be familiar to you, others not. Unfortunately I had to omit many personalities. The task of mentioning them all is literally impossible for the limitations of the blog.
Nevertheless, these stories are meant to enlighten and entertain readers about the lives and work of great Polish people around the world. Wherever Polish people have chosen to call home - they have contributed their skills and talent, fascinated us with their brilliant intellect, and charmed us with their intrinsic beauty and grace.
Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you is Polish!
Adam Gierek was born in Belgium, and is a Polish politician. He is a member of the European Parliament and sits on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. He is serves as substitute for the Committee on Culture and Education, as well as member to the Delegations of the EU to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees (for relations with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia) and substitute for the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
Gierek holds a Master's in Engineering, and Doctorate. Among his positions, he has been Professor at the Silesian University of Technology; from 1972 to 1982 he was the head of the Metallurgical Sciences and Technology Department and Director of the Institute of Materials Engineering; since 1973 he has been member of the Polish Academy of Sciences; from 1982 to 1989 he was visiting Professor at the Technische Universitat in Dresden; and member of the Polish Nuclear Society (PTN) among many other organizations.
AWARDS AND MEDALS
Order of the Banner of Labour, Second Class
Knight's Cross of the Order of Poland Reborn
Gold Medal for Merit for Defense of the Nation
National Education Medal
LUCIA TOPOLANSKY SAAVEDRA
(The MPP has been linked with the former guerilla movement known as the Tuparnaros. In the 1960s the Tuparnaros had launched a barrage of political kidnappings, armed propaganda and assassinations. However by 1971 the military unleashed violent bloody reprisals and crushed the movement. Jose Mujica was also a member of the MPP in its heyday.
Lucia Topolansky Saavedra became the first female President of Uruguay on November 26, 2010, albeit temporarily. According to a clause of the Uruguayan Constitution, in the event that the President and Vice-President are both absent from the country, the Presidency rests temporarily in the control of the leader of the largest elected group in the Senate, hence Mrs. Saavedra. However, it lasted only two days. On November 28th, the President and Vice-President both returned to Uruguay.
Nadia Lufti was born in Egypt - the daughter of an Egyptian father and Polish mother. Lufti became one of the most celebrated actresses in the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema. In fact she took her stage name from a character (Nadia Lotfy) of a smash hit film called La Anam, starring Omarr Shariff. Thus she made her first screen debut in 1958 when Omar Shariff and his beautiful wife, Faten Hamama, were the reigning couple of Arab cinema.
Lufti performed her first dramatic production entitled, Soultan. In her second film, Cairo Station, she took on a smaller role which brought it's director, Youssef Chahine, international acclaim when it was presented at the Berlin Film Festival.
Following this great success, Lufti performed in melodramas and musicals that were then much in demand by Arab audiences, films such as " Al Khataya" (1962). But she finally achieved distinction in the cinematic world by performing in several great films such as Naser Salah el Dine. In this film, she took the role of a Frankish warrior during the Crusades, wearing full armor in battle against her Christian-Arab lover.)
Also very noteworthy, and controversial was the film Lil-Rigal Faqat (1964) translated as For Men Only. In this film, Lufti and her co-star Su'ad Husni portrayed the roles of women geologists who disguise themselves as men in order to find work, and in the process struggle to suppress their romantic feelings to avoid discovery.
In the 1960s Lutfi's career skyrocketed when she starred in two films based on novels published by Naguib Mahfouz, a Nobel-prize winning author. Unfortunately, his novels, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed`, and "Children of Gebelawi" were both banned by religious authorities.
By the end of the 60s, Nadia performed one of her most sensational roles, that of an exotic dancer who seduces a much younger man, in Abi foq al-Shagara (My Father Atop a Tree)
Due to the increase in public demand for movies from the East and East, and that of home videos, Egypt's "Golden Age" of cinema petered out, and with it Lutfi's career sadly faded. In the first decade of her career she churned out almost 50 films, but in the decade that followed, she made only three, her last being in 1981.
Lutfi made an appearance in the press in 2004 when she came to the defence of her long-time friend, Omar Shariff. He was viciously berated by the Arab press when he confided that he intended to allow his grandchildren to decide on their own religious beliefs when they reached age of maturity. (One of them is Jewish).
Known as just " Danny " his three singles, "Tokyo, "Play it for the Girls" and "Radio" reached the top of Swedish music charts. The band won a Grammis (Swedish version of the Grammy Awards), for "Jennie Let Me Love You" (Song of the Year -2008). His first single released in the UK is "If Only You" also became a number one hit on the music charts in Russia and Poland.
Saucedos' talents are diverse: not only is he an accomplished musician but he has written songs for Alcazar and Pulse. He has also proven himself on the dance floor and was a contestant on Let's Dance 2008 (the Swedish version of Dancing With The Stars). Saucedon and his partner, Jeanette Carlsson (a professional dancer) won 12th place in the final of the Eurovision Dance Contest in Glasgow. He also made an appearance in a music video for "Victorious", by Swedish singers Velvet and Linda Bengtzing. In 2013, he hosted Melodifestivalen with Gina Dirawi, a Swedish-Palestinian celebrity.
Danny was born in Stockholm Sweden to a Polish father and Bolivian mother. He studied music at the prestigious Adolf Frederik's Music School, named after the great Swedish composer.
Discography as solo artist
2007 Heart Beats
2008 Set Your Body Free
2011 In the Club
Oppna din dorr
Play It For the Girls
If Only You (with Therese Grankvist)
Hey (I've Been Feeling Kind of Lonely)
Need to Know
All on You
Emely (with Sasha Strunin)
Just Like That (with Lazee)
In Your Eyes
In The Club
All in My Head
Todo Al Mundo (Dancing in the Streets).
Discography - As part of E.M.D.
2008: A State of Mind
2009: A State of Mind (Deluxe Edition)
2009: Välkommen hem
2007: "All for Love"
2008: "Jennie Let Me Love You"
2009: "Baby Goodbye"
2009: "Välkommen hem"
2010: "Save Tonight"
2010: "What Is Love"
JOSEF ZIELENIEC, Doc.Ing., CSc.
Before the communist invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1989, Zieleniec worked at the Institute of Research in Engineering Technology and Economics Research, and at the Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Science. He labored tirelessly in finding solutions to transform a centrally planned economy to that of market economy. His research was greatly influential after 1989 when discussions finally took place regarding economic reforms.
In 1990 Zieleniec was co-founder and director of The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education at the Charles University in Prague - the first Ph.D program of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, promoting American-style economics. He also became a member of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Sciences.
Though Dr. Zieleniec was born in Moscow, Russia, and his nationality Czech, he is of Polish descent.
University of Economics, Prague (1974)
Postgraduate qualification " Candidate of Sciences:"
Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague (1986)
(Charles University, Prague, 1991)
1973-1989: Research fellow
since 1997: University teacher (1989-1992)
since 1997: Economic advisor
1992-1997: Vice-Chairman of Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
since 2004: Political leader of SNK (Association of Independent Candidates)
1996-2000: Member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic
1992: Minister for Foreign Relations of Czechoslovakia
1993-1997: Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic
1996-1997: Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Born in Russia to Polish parents, the family immigrated to Mexico City in 1982. In a strange new world, young Kristoff struggled to overcome not only language barriers but found his first jobs as an elephant caretaker in a circus, as well as bagging groceries in supermarkets.
His experiences prepared him well. He was enrolled at the CEA, Televisa's school for the performing arts. And by the 1990s, Kristoff had written, produced and acted in the film Matando Cabos (2004). For the next several years, he performed supporting roles in telenovelas (the equivalent of soap operas) such as Vivo Por Elena (1998); Ramona (2000) and many others.
Kristoff enjoyed top ratings for his television shows, No Te Equivoques (2001) which he co-hosted with Tony Dalton on Televisa TV. It was the Mexican version of "Jackass". In 2005, he collaborated with Horacio Villalobos in TV programs, Valvula De Escape and Desde Gayola. A year later Kristoff hosted the program called ID, which stirred up a great deal of controversy which brought him greater success - his program in Telehit. In 2008 he hosted the show called El Show Del Polaco, which was cancelled several months later. Kristoff wrote a short film in 2012, Confesiones de un Teibol (Confessions of a Tabledance) which was featured in the Cannes Film Festival.
"Matando Cabos" (2004)
"Confesiones de un Teibol" (2011)
"Vivo Por Elena" (1998)
"No Te Equivoques" (2000–2003)
"Sexo Con Kristoff" (2007-)
"Cine Con Kristoff"(2007-)
"Gargaras Con Kristoff"(2007-2012)
"El Show Del Polaco" (2008–2009)
Born in Switzerland to a Polish father, Andre earned his engineering degree at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausaunne (1984), among one of the world' s most prestigious universities. He served as R&D Engineer at Kudelski SA as well as in Silicon Valley before he took over the reigns from his father, Stefan, at Kudelski Group, as President and CEO. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Strategy Committee.
Kudelski also sits on the boards of some of the most powerful and prestigious companies in the world, Edipresse Group of Nestle, Swiss International Air Lines, and Dassault Systemes (France) and the list goes on. Moreover he is a member of the Advisory Board of Credit Suisse as well as a member of the management committee of Economie Suisse.
EVA SACHIKO POPIEL
Before relocating to South Korea, she was selected to be the Japanese represenative for L' Oreal (Sept 2003 to August 2005). But it wasn't until 2006 that her popularity soared when she performed in the reality television series, Super Junior Full House.
A year later, Eva was chosen to replace the current English Speed Quiz teacher in the reality show, Star Golden Bell. She has made frequent appearances on Global Talk Show (Korean Broadcasting System) representing the United Kingdom.
Eva also appeared in the television series called Likeable or Not (2007) which reached the highest ratings of any Korean show since 2000 - 43% rating! The show received awards from the KBS network.
Jezierski has acted in theatre and films and television and is best known for the role of Gorka Martinez on the popular television series Fisica o Quimica. It received enormous acclaim as well as controversy for its subject matter, that is, teenage problems struggling to cope with drug abuse, addictions, anorexia, and sexual orientation.
He also acted in the television series Hospital Central, and Cuentame (2007). Among his films were Suenos (2003), Siete (2004), Gordos (2009), Tension sexual no resuelta, and Verbo (2010); Cheers (the Spanish version,2011) and Tormenta (2013.)
JANUSZ LEON WISNIEWSKI
Wisniewski earned his Master Degrees in Physics and in Economics from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. It's the first institution of higher education in Turin, founded in 1568. He also earned a PhD in Information Technology from Warsaw University of Technology and an Habilitation in Chemistry from the Technical University of Lodz. Incidentally, a PhD is not the highest academic qualification - it is actually the Habilitation, which is earned after a scholar has earned a PhD.
Furthermore, Wisniewski is one of the creators of AutoNom, a computer program which serves as a naming tool for organic substances in chemical compounds. He currently resides and works in Frankfurt, Germany.
Official Website (Polish) http://www.wisniewski.net/
Na feisie z moim synem (Wydawinctwo Wielka Litera) ISBN 978-83-63387-01-3
Ukrwienia (WL, Wydawnictwo Literackie) ISBN 978-83-08-04655-5
Łóżko (Świat Książki, Wydawnictwo ) ISBN 978-83-247-2444-4
Zbliżenia (WL, Wydawnictwo Literackie ) ISBN 978-83-08-04456-8
Arytmia uczuć (with Dorota Wellman, Wydawnictwo G +J) ISBN 978-83-60376-99-7
W poszukiwaniu Najważniejszego. Bajka trochę naukowa ( Nasza Księgarnia, Wydawnictwo Sp. z o.o. ) ISBN 978-83-10-11562-1
Czy mężczyźni są światu potrzebni? (Wydawnictwo Literackie) ISBN 978-83-08-04101-7
Molekuły emocji (Wydawnictwo Literackie) ISBN 83-08-03902-2
Opowiadania letnie, a nawet gorące Wydawnictwo Prószyński i S-ka SA ISBN 83-7469-328-2
188 dni i nocy (with Małgorzata Domagalik, Wydawnictwo Santorski & Co) ISBN 83-60207-20-8
Opowieści wigilijne Wydawnictwo Prószyński i S-ka SA ISBN 83-7469-172-7
Intymna teoria względności (Wydawnictwo Literackie) ISBN 83-08-03738-0
10 x miłość Świat Książki ISBN 83-7391-784-5
Los powtórzony Wydawnictwo Prószyński i S-ka SA ISBN 83-7337-756-5
S@motność w Sieci. Tryptyk Wydawnictwa Czarne i Prószyński S-ka) ISBN 83-7337-477-9
Martyna (jako współautor, Wydawnictwo Platforma Mediowa Point Group) ISBN 83-918772-0-5
Zespoły napięć (Wydawnictwo Prószyński i S-ka SA) ISBN 83-7337-887-1
S@motność w Sieci (Wydawnictwa Czarne i Prószyński S-ka) ISBN 83-7255-925-2
Among her many films she appeared in a supporting role in From Paris with Love (2010) starring John Travolta, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers., When the film opened on February 5, 2010, it earned over $8.1 million on the first weekend and ranked #3 among over 2700 movie theatres. But it did not fare well at the box office or with critics. However, The Fourth State, a German film, was praised by Variety for its exceptional musical score and cinematography. Daniel Gottschalk, the cinematographer was nominated for a Deutschen Filmpreis.
At the Right Moment
Ultimo 3: L'infiltrato (movie for TV)
Ora per Sempre
13dici a tavola
Questa e la mia terra (TV mini series)
La moglie cinese (TV mini-series)
Giuseppe Moscati (TV movie)
Questa e la mia terra vent'anni dopo (TV series)
Nelle tue mani
Rino Gaetano: Ma il cielo e sempre piu blu (TV movie)
Camera: The Walking Mountain
Il commissario De Luca (TV mini series)
Goa! 3: Taking on The World
Barbarossa (English title: Sword of War)
From Paris With Love
Clash of Civilization over Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
The Fourth State
In Treatment (TV series)
SERGEY VLADIMIROVICH YASTRZHEMBSKY
“ President Yeltsin and the Russian leadership are convinced that NATO's plans to expand to the east, if realized, could be the West's biggest strategic mistake since the end of the Cold War. ”
Sergey Vladimirovich Yastrzhembsky (CNN World News)
Despite his Polish background, Sergey Vladimirovich Yastrzhembsky, became a high-ranking Russian official, a diplomat, and political spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. Sergey was groomed for the role at the highly prestigious Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations (the MGIMO). Founded in 1944, it's reputation as an elitist institution quickly became known and prized around the world. The MGIMO has churned out professionals in the field of international relations and diplomacy. However, some are of the opinion that the MGIMO serves also as a fertile recruiting ground for the KGB, but I digress.
He also earned a Ph.D in history at the Soviet Academy of Sciences' Institute of the International Workers' Movement (1979).
Sergey was junior researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (1979-81) He was promoted to senior researcher, editorial adviser, and assistant executive secretary at the Global and Socialist Issues magazine, Prague, Czechoslovakia (1981-89) This was followed by a two-year stint as senior researcher at the Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
From 1990 to 1992 he worked as Deputy editor-in-chief Megapolis magazine, editor-in-chief of the VIP magazine, and served asdeputy general director of the Social and Political Research Fund.
In the period from 1992 to 1998 he served various diplomatic functions, such as director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian representative to Slovakia, Press Attache to President Putin, and Deputy Head of the Presidential Executive Office.
After a brief sojourn as Deputy Prime Minister of Moscow City (1998-2000) he returned to his position as aide to President Putin until 2008 when Dimitry Medvedev was elected to the Presidency.
Sergey served President Putin, as chief spokesperson regarding the Chechnya conflict, and was rewarded by a promotion in 2001 placing him squarely as head of the Kremlin's Information Policy Department, and co-ordinator of Putin's "external communications".
In 2004, Putin appointed Sergey Special Envoy to the European Union in Brussels. By the end of his post in 2008, Sergey warned the EU that the consequences of recognizing Kosovo's independence, would open a "Pandora's box" of separatism in Europe.
At the end of Putin's presidency, Sergey 's position was terminated, though some claim he left the Kremlin of his own accord. Others attest it was the fallout of the power shift.
Sergey has since embarked in the film industry. In 2009 he started his own film company called, Yastreb Film. Only a year later he directed his first film, a documentary called " Sacred Fire of the Himba" which was nominated for the Golden Eagle Award of the Russian National Academy of Motion Picture Arts.
He has also produced numerous documentaries, including a series entitled "Beyond the Passage of Time" which features the lives of traditional African peoples. Since 2011, he has worked as a television host of a Russian programme called Magic of Adventures
In 1995 he was elected to the Council of Vilnius district for Electoral Action and in 1999 was elected President of the AWPL, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. A year later, Vlademar was elected to the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) winning an astounding 51% of the vote in the city of Salcinikai (near Vilnius). Soon after he became Deputy Major of Vilnius district which he served from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 Tomasevski was re-elected to the Seimas again with 63% of the vote and re-elected again in 2008 with 61% of the vote - eight times more than that of his competitors share.
In the May 2009 presidential elections, Vlademar Tomasevski was the first AWPL candidate entering the presidential race, but he came in fourth with 4.7% of the national vote, while the Dalia Grybauskatie, the Lithuanian Steel Magnolia, won with a landslide.
In June of the same year, Vlademar ran for election to the European Parliament and win 8.4 % of the vote, up from 5.7% in 2004. He was the first candidate of the AWPL to top the list and win election. Tomasevski was appointed to the bureau of the European Conservatives and Reformists, the fifth largest political party of the European Parliament.
For his outstanding accomplishments and commitment to Polish issues, Vlademar Tomasevski with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Among Gimzewski`s accomplishments, he succeeded in manipulating molecules through the use of STM; discovered molecular abacus using buckyballs; and single molecule rotors; developed nanomechanical sensors, and synthesized carbon nanotubes.
Gimzewski`s interest is in nanoarchitectronics of molecular systems and molecular and biomolecular machines, particularly those with quantum mechanical possibilities for information processing.
He has also conducted research into biophysics, or rather sonocytology (a term which he has coined.) James Gimzewski, and Andrew Pelling (a UCLA grad student) were the first to publish an article on this research in a 2004 issue of Science Magazine.
It was discovered, that by using a modified atomic force microscope (Bioscope AFM), it was possible to detect vibrations of the cell wall of a living cell. And that these vibrations, amplified through the use of specialized computer software, created audible sounds. Even more fascinating was the fact that cancerous cells emitted a sound slightly different from those of healthy cells. Gimzewski and Pelling expect that sonocytology will one day develop practical applications to aid in earlier detection and diagnosis of cancer in patients.
Gimzewski earned his PhD in 1977 from University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He was group leader at IMB Zurich Research Laboratory where he researched nanoscale science. (1983-2001) He is currently a Professor at UCLA,'s departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and concurrently leads research in his PicoLab. He also serves as faculty director of the Nano Pico Characterization core lab at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. He has published over 168 research papers, which appear in numerous journals such as Science, Nature, and has been featured in Discover Magazine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
Fellow of the Royal Society (May 2009)
Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (1997)
The Discover Award for Emerging Fields (1997)
Wires 25 Award (1998) (from Wired Magazine)
Duddell (2001) (from the Institute of Physics, prize for work in nanoscale science)
Two "Outstanding Innovation Awards" from IBM
Fellow of the Institute of Physics
Elected Member to the Royal Academy of Engineering
Scientific Board of Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc
Scientific Board of Veeco Instruments
Albert Einstein once said, "I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
James Gimzewski is an artist also.
THE POLISH DIASPORA
ABOUT THE POLISH DIASPORA
Polish people have ventured throughout the world as early as the 17th century, when Polish missionaries arrived in Japan for the first time. Polish men crossed the treacherous Atlantic to join the fight for American Independence, and took part in establishing settlements on American soil. (read about Polish-American Hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko)
Throughout Polish history Polish men, women and children emigrated in vast numbers to escape the treachery of invaders from Russia, Prussia and Austria. With the onset of World War II, Poland had been partitioned a fourth time.
Statistics indicate that during the Cold War in Poland (1946 to 1982) there were 1,877,000 Polish people who emigrated. (However, the same data indicates that 1.3 million of them were Aussiedler, settlers in Poland who were of German origin.) Therefore the actual Polish emigration was exceedingly lower. For the most part, Polish emigration was due to either expulsion or the need to escape political terrorism.
While the population of the Republic of Poland is about 60 million people, there are approximately 20 million people of Polish heritage living and working in nations around the world. This make the Polish Diaspora one of the largest in the world.
After Warsaw, the second largest "Polish city" is Chicago, with 1.8 million Polish-Americans. There are 10.6 million Polish people living and working in the United States, 2 million in Germany, and 1.2 million in Brazil.
Whether their reasons, Polish people have emigrated to virtually every country in the world: Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, Brazil, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Argentina, Czech Republic, Latvia, Italy, South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, Denmark, Romania, Norway, Uruguay, New Zealand, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Moldavia,Venezuela, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Mexico, Estonia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Bulgaria, Georgia,Chile, Peru, Ireland and Turkey. While the Polish population is much smaller in many of these countries, they also live albeit in minute numbers in countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, Malaysia, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Jordan, Iceland and Oceania.
There is no region in the world where Polish people have not ventured forth and prospered.
VIVA IL MONDO! VIVA LA POLONIA!
If you missed any part of this special series, please click the link below for a complete index.