2016 Polonia Forum

From the 1st FORUM offorum logo 03

in Rzeszów, Poland

A personal account shared by David Rydzewski,
the newly elected President of the PAC-Wisconsin Division

July 26, 2016 began 5 days of the 1st Forum of American Polonia (Forum Polonii Amerykańskiej) aiming to showcase and support economic development of the Podkarpacki region located in the far southeast of Poland. The program was sponsored by the government of Podkarpackie Voivodeship and Association “Polish Community(Stowarzyszenie “Wspólnota Polska”).

mapa_polski 05

Among over 100 invited guests were 44 members of the Polish American Congress (PAC) from around the United States, including its President Frank Spula, VP Maria Szonert-Binienda, and VP Dr. Mark Pienkos, as well as dozens of members of World Polonia members from Canada, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Lithuania and Germany. For the PAC members, this was the first gathering ever outside the United States.

Leading the conference was Władysław Ortyl, the marshal of Podkarpackie Voivodeship who spoke     CLICK HERE for PHOTO GALLERY      before members of Polish government, the Podkarpacki Parliament, Polish clergy, Polish military and Polish business leaders. The message was clear: Podkarpacie and entire Poland have achieved much from the hard work of its people as well as from its EU and NATO memberships. They have excellent universities and technical schools, a robustly educated work force and efficient government; but there is still much to do.

The reason for extending invitation to the PAC and other members of World Polonia, was Polonia’s deep love and attachment to the motherland, along with a history of help and support for Poland that started long before there was an EU. With a better understanding of the region’s vast potential, it is believed that business ties and networking skills of the PAC members will be used to promote and aid Poland in its continued growth and development.


The conference spent its first day in the chambers of the Podkarpacki Parliament and the next two days at the impressive, newly built conference and convention center near Rzeszów, the region’s capital. These days of constructive discussions and planning for the future were followed by travels into the region to see its cities, countryside and people. It’s one thing to hear the upbeat message of economic development and progress – but seeing the beautiful towns and witnessing successful efforts to blend old traditions and culture with modern ways of life speaks to what Poland cherishes.

The tours led us to the wooden church at Blizne, the skansen in Sanok, the magnificent Łańcut Palace , the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Savings Jews in World War II in Markowa as well as cities of Krosno, Lubaczów, and Przemyśl. They are all amazing places by themselves but taken together, they gave us a truly unforgettable experience.

For some fellow participants, these travels took them back to their roots. Returning after many years to Przemyśl, PAC member Grażyna Michalski from New York was extremely proud to show the city of her birth to other PAC members.

The forum was also a time of real pride for Dr. Mark Pienkos as his grandfather came to the United States from Rzeszów in the early 1900′s. Now Mark and his American family retain close ties to their Polish family living in Podkarpacie.

My fellow PAC members and I were very glad to have been invited to Polish Podkarpacie, and want to extend our profound thanks to all those who hosted us so graciously.

From my experience, I can say that Polonia loves Poland.

Thursday, August 18th, 2016 Newsletter No Comments

December 12, 2015 Agenda

Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division


Polish Center of Wisconsin

Saturday, December 12, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Christmas Get-Together and Business Meeting

  1.      Call To Order
  2.      Pledge of Allegiance
  3.      Introductions
  4.      Approval of Minutes
  5.      Approval of Treasurer’s Report
  6.      President’s Report
  7. Officer Reports
  8. National Directors’ Reports
  9.       Old Business
    1. Report on “Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day” luncheon
    2. Report on 2015 PAC-WI Division activities
    3. National PAC Council of National Directors Meeting Site Update
  10. New Business
    1. Establish 2016 PAC-WI Division Membership Dues
    2. Setting meeting dates for 2016
    3. PAC-WI Division Annual Meeting/Elections Meeting
    4. Polish Fest 2016
    5. “Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day” luncheon (November 6, 2016)
    6. Reports From Organizations
    7. Any Other Items For “The Good Of The Cause”
    8. Door Prize Drawing – Singing of “STO LAT!”
  11.       Next Meeting Date to be established at the December 12th meeting
  12. Adjourn – Thank You for AttendingSTO LAT!  

In anticipation . . . Merry Christmas and a very Happy & Healthy New Year!

(Please complete your 2016 Membership Form!  Thank You for Renewing!!)

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 Newsletter No Comments



Saturday, December 12, 2015 @ 10:00 a.m. 

Agenda can be found on reverse side.

(Executive Meeting at 9:00 a.m.)


Polish Center of Wisconsin

6941 S. 68th Street, Franklin, WI 53132

December 4, 2015

Dear Polish American Congress Member,

I hope you and your loved ones had a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Our next General Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, December 12th.  We have much to discuss as we have had a wonderful year of activities sponsored by the PAC-WI Division, including the recent very successful November 8th “Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day” luncheon.

Besides a lively discussion, delicious coffee & holiday goodies, and great fellowship, we’ll have some door prizes.  Several people will take home some nice items!  Please plan to attend.  Let’s have a fantastic year-end meeting!  

PAC-WI is already planning for 2015.  Ideas will be discussed at our December 12th meeting.  These include:

  1. Our recent Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day luncheon on November 8, 2015.
  2. A brief report on all of the PAC-WI sponsored activities held during 2015 will take place.  Our organization has been very active this year and we need to celebrate our accomplishments!
  3. An update on the National PAC Council of National Directors Meeting
  4. Planning for 2016:

a)     Establish membership dues for 2016

b)     Setting the dates for our 2016 meetings

c)     Discuss our upcoming PAC-WI Division Annual Meeting/Elections Meeting

d)     2016 Polish Fest

e)     Next PAC-WI Division “Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day” luncheon: November 6, 2016

f)      Other ideas/events, etc.

Members need to be thinking of the PAC-WI Division Annual Meeting/Elections Meeting when we have important offices to fill with candidates interested in moving our state division forward.  Think how you might share your energy and talents on behalf of PAC-WI Division members.  Our organization is vibrant and we have much to celebrate!  Your involvement is crucial to our organization’s success. Ask yourself: Where would PAC-WI be without my involvement?”  That’s why your attendance at the upcoming Saturday, December 12th General Membership Meeting is so important.  When we are together, we are strong.  Let’s celebrate: our Polish heritage, our traditions, and our friendships!

As always, I am proud to serve you!  Bardzo Dziekuje!

Mark Pienkos, President

Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division

markpienkos2012@gmail.com   or   262-325-8039


Plan to attend our next General Membership Meeting: Saturday, December 12!

We will have some delicious holiday treats and great door prizes.  Let’s Celebrate!!

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 Newsletter No Comments

Dr. Mark Pienkos received Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland


On November 8, 2015, Dr. Mark Pienkos received special honors from the President of the Republic of Poland (signed officially by former President Bronisław Komorowski).   The Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland was presented during the annual Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day luncheon sponsored by the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division and held at the Polish Center of Wisconsin located in Franklin.  Pienkos is superintendent for the Washington-Caldwell School District. 

The Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is bestowed on foreigners and Polish citizens permanently living abroad who have made outstanding contributions to international cooperation and to bonds between the Republic of Poland and other nations and countries.

The award was presented to Pienkos on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland by the Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, Robert Rusiecki.

In presenting the award, Rusiecki stated:  

“The Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is bestowed on foreigners and Polish citizens permanently living abroad who have made outstanding contributions to international cooperation and to bonds between the Republic of Poland and other nations and countries.  Specifically, Dr. Mark Pienkos has provided special services and extraordinary support to the Republic of Poland.  His record of service includes not only his leadership in Polish American organizations, but also his many recent efforts to find various sites to display the Jan Karski Exhibit throughout the state of Wisconsin beginning with the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison in 2013.  Karski was a humanitarian and member of the Polish Underground during World War II who brought the first eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the West.  The efforts of Dr. Pienkos helped many people throughout Wisconsin learn more about this Polish and international hero.  This effort, as well as for many other reasons, are why the President of Poland awarded Dr. Mark Pienkos with the Cavalier’s Cross of Merit.” 

Pienkos currently serves as President of the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division and also is the elected Vice President for Public Relations for the national Polish American Congress which was founded in 1944.

Attached Photos:

(6885): Deputy Consul General Robert Rusiecki and Mark Pienkos

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 Newsletter No Comments

October is Polish American Heritage Month

Stephen Pienkos, Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division Vice President for Membership, worked with the Wisconsin state legislature to successfully pass a joint resolution recognizing the efforts of Polish Americans in Wisconsin.  This was done as part of our overall state division’s efforts during October which is designated as “Polish American Heritage Month” throughout the U.S.

Stephen works in the office of State Senator Robert Wirch (D-Kenosha), who co-authored the resolution along with State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and State Representative Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin).  The 33 senators and 99 assemblymen all voted in favor of the resolution. The resolution reads:



Proclaiming October as Polish American Heritage Month

Whereas, many people in Wisconsin proudly trace their roots to Poland, a land whose rich and colorful past is rivaled only by the bright promise of its future; and

Whereas, in October, as we celebrate the many contributions that Americans of Polish heritage have made to our nation’s history and culture, we also reaffirm the strong and friendly ties between the United States and Poland; and

Whereas, before America became a nation, Poles came to these shores in search of liberty and opportunity, and their descendants have remained at the forefront of efforts to keep America free, strong, and prosperous; and

Whereas, we celebrate the great Polish heroes Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski, who helped secure the independence of our fledgling republic during the Revolutionary War; and

Whereas, since that time, millions of other men and women of Polish descent have invested their hopes in America’s bold experiment in self-government and, inspired by faith in God and a devotion to democratic ideals, have worked hard to ensure its success; and

Whereas, many of these Poles have chosen Wisconsin as their state of residence; and

Whereas, the deep cultural and familial ties between the peoples of Wisconsin and Poland have been strengthened by our shared values and aspirations; and

Whereas, for generations, Poles have demonstrated the same reverence for individual rights and dignity that infuses our own system of government; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring: That as we observe Polish American Heritage Month, we join all Wisconsinites in thanking our fellow citizens of Polish descent for their countless contributions to the strength and quality of our national life. Best wishes to all for a memorable celebration.


Saturday, December 12th, 2015 Newsletter No Comments