Consulate of the Republic of Poland makes donation to ASU

By

Roxane Barwick

In celebration of the 94th anniversary of Polish independence, Honorary Consul Bogumil Mikolaj Horchem of the Consular Corps of Arizona presented School of International Letters and Cultures Director Robert Joe Cutter with a check for $2,000 in support of Polish language and cultural studies at ASU.

The funds were raised at a benefit concert by the renowned Polish musical group “Duo Klavitarre” on Nov. 3, in Katzin Concert Hall on the ASU Tempe campus.  

The Consular Corps of Arizona is the state's leading international organization. It supports the accredited Consuls in Arizona in their respective diplomatic outreach goals to build relationships with governments and community, and to foster business, educational and cultural endeavors.

Representing Poland in the Consular Corps of Arizona, Consul Horchem and his wife Elizabeth Matej-Horchem, who is a teacher at John Paul II Polish Language School, are very active in Polish organizations in Arizona. As President of the Polish American Congress, Arizona Division, during 2005-09, he supported the successful passage of Arizona’s Visa Waiver Resolution in support of Poland being admitted to the Visa Waiver Program of the United States Department of State.

In 1964, Horchem graduated from Teacher College in Poland, and a year later immigrated to the United States. In 1976, he moved to Phoenix, and in 1985 graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering. After graduation, he worked for Garrett (presently Honeywell Aerospace).

Consul Horchem and his colleagues in the Polish American Congress, represent the 10 million people who declare Polish origin across the United States, several thousand of whom reside in Arizona. 

The School of International Letters and Cultures offered the first Polish language and culture course in 2004 in cooperation with the Polish American Congress. Soon after, Polish courses were regularized with a catalog prefix PLC (Polish Language Culture), and became available for students to take during the regular academic year. The School now offers a full minor program in Slavic Studies with a concentration in Polish. Polish language courses in the program are offered at four levels: introductory, intermediate, advanced, and Polish for heritage speakers. Polish language and culture courses at ASU are for anyone interested in enhancing their career prospects, connecting with their heritage, or becoming one of the 40 million Polish speakers worldwide.

According to professor of Slavic languages Danko Sipka, “Poland is an economic tiger of Central and Eastern Europe. It is a place of plentiful business opportunities.”

A tribute to Poland’s economic strength is the fact that the country avoided the type of recession that impacted much of the rest of Europe in recent years. According to Reuters,” Poland is now the 55th best place to do business, up from 62nd place last year. The country has been a rare bright spot in Europe over the past few years, managing to sustain robust growth even while its neighbors slumped.”

Students with Polish language and cultural awareness skills are uniquely situated to take advantage of job opportunities in Eastern Europe’s largest economy after graduation.

“The donation by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in support of Polish language and culture study is a welcome gift that will benefit our students of Polish," says Director Joe Cutter.  "In our modern world, those who have studied other languages and cultures are not only well prepared for career success, they also possess the knowledge that can help them make informed decisions as citizens.”

The School of International Letters and Cultures is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.