Polish Award Ceremony 2013
On 24 June 2013, the Polish prize-giving ceremony took place in the Grand Chamber of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The topic of the 17th competition round was: "Poles and Their Neighbours After World War II: Against Each Other, Side by Side, Together." From the very first round, this competition has been organised by the KARTA Centre Foundation.
The competition was aimed at secondary school pupils throughout Poland, and also – for the first time – at young Polish people living outside Poland, as well as partner groups (bi-national or multi-national): Polish school children and their foreign colleagues from (historically) neighbouring countries.
There were 100 projects written by 228 pupils. The most frequent theme (as many as 41 projects) concerned Polish-German relations – particularly in Śląsk (Silesia), but also Polish-Ukrainian and Polish-Lemkos (16 projects). A smaller number concerned the no less problematical Polish-Czech, Polish-Lithuanian, Polish-Slovak, Polish-Jewish relations and even Polish-Chechen or Polish-Armenian relations. The latter are a result of the presence of ‘new neighbours’ of other nationalities in Poland – immigrants, or refugees from wars who have found their new home here in Poland. Some of the projects described relations with a variety of nations.
The projects showed the wide range of emotions arising out of such neighbourly contacts: from hatred, dislike, lack of understanding, through to interest, confidence, friendliness, desire for reconciliation, friendship, sometimes even love or, quite simply… tolerance and acceptance of co-existence without conflict and on equal terms.
The picture painted in the projects of these relations, is – nonetheless – far from ideal: there is still stereo-typing in neighbourly contacts: dislike, sometimes resentment, past hurt or groundless fears and these attitudes pose a threat to the future. A great deal remains to be done to reach mutual understanding and acceptance of our differences. The projects which have been awarded prizes and have received commendations from the Jury reveal the young people’s surprisingly mature judgements, their critical appraisals and their ability to distance themselves from history which often separated neighbours more effectively than changed national borders.
All projects submitted to the competition have been thoroughly analysed and assessed by a two-stage Jury.
The Jury awarded 24 financial prizes (I, II, III, IV degree), 13 commendations with books as prizes and 4 special awards – for teams taking part in the international section of the competition (2 Polish-German, 1 Polish-Lithuanian and 1 Belarussian).