2015 School of Dialogue Gala in Poland

Nearly 1 300 students and teachers from all over Poland, Forum educators, representatives of state authorities and the diplomatic corps, local governments as well as scientific and cultural leaders - gathered at the 2015 School of Dialogue Gala, held in Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera in Warsaw, Poland, on March 8. Forum for Dialogue organized the annual Gala to celebrate the achievements of students who took part in the School of Dialogue program, discovering the Jewish history of their towns.

"You overcome stereotypes. (...) It is so very important that you, young people, restore the memory also for your parents who do not remember that time, for your teachers who you inspire to commemorate, to gather information", underlined in his speech Boguslaw Borusewicz, Deputy Speaker of the Polish Senate.

In 2015, the School of Dialogue program was implemented in 46 junior high and high schools in towns where the Jewish communities were present before the war. All schools that completed the project received the "School of Dialogue" title. The 1st prize in the competition on projects commemorating the pre-war Jewish communities was awarded to Janusz Korczak High School No 2 in Wielun. The students from Wielun not only organized a walking tour "Following the Footsteps of Jews of Wielun", but also created a self-guiding app on smartphones, produced a theater performance, and designed scenarios of classes on Jewish Wielun in Polish, English and German. All the projects created in 2015 demonstrated the impressive efforts of students and very interesting approach to the Polish/Jewish history.

"I am sure that because of this project you will grow into wise adults who are sensitive to other cultures and religions", said Anna Azari, the Ambassador of Israel to Poland.

This year's Gala also commemorated the events of March 1968, when anti-Semitic campaign in Poland led to the exile of many Polish Jews. Henryk Wujec, Chairman of the Forum's Board of Trustees, referred to these events in his speech: "This memory must be kept alive. Such situation cannot happen again in Poland and you are the hope that Poland will never live it again."

The ceremony was also honored by the presence of distinguished guests, such as: Ombudsman for Children Marek Michalak, Canadian Ambassador to Poland Stephen de Boer, Australian Ambassador to Poland Paul Wojciechowski, Sylwia Spurek, Deputy Ombudsman of Poland, Wlodzimierz Paszynski, Vice-president of Warsaw, Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, Stas Wojciechowicz, Rabbi at the Center for Progressive Judaism and Synagogue Ec Chaim, as well as the representatives of the Polish Society of the Righteous Among the Nations - Anna Stupnicka-Bando, Alicja Schnepf and Józef Walaszczyk.

- Here you can watch a short film from the 2015 School of Dialogue Gala.

- List of winners, finalist and honorable mentions in the 2015 edition of the School of Dialogue Program

Editorial remarks

Source: Forum For Dialogue Among Nations, Poland.