Norman Davies ”Poland in the Rockies hit on exactly the right formula.”
Andrew Nagorski – Newsweek ”If a program like this had been offered at the time when I was a student, I’m sure I would have jumped at the opportunity.”
Stan Oziewicz – Globe & Mail ”I’ve been to many conferences; this is the first that will stay with me forever.”
Katherine – Chicago ”I deepened my understanding of my heritage, forged new and lasting friendships, and was inspired to carry out academic research in Warsaw, Poland.”
Martin – Toronto ”PITR brings together some of the brightest and most talented young Polish-Canadians and engages them in a unique experience of knowledge, interaction and the exquisite surroundings of the majestic Rocky Mountains”
Nina – Washington ”PITR set me on my path for my career… opened up a whole new world to me that sent me to graduate school to study the post communist world and landed me at a job in the international affairs community, focusing on democracy assistance… I have contacts all over the globe ready to support my work. I grew as a person, a thinker and a friend.”
Judith – Cape Town ”I’m a slightly more uncommon PITR attendee – being neither Polish, nor an official student of the language, the country or the people. Call it an exercise in empathy-making and community-building, if you will; PITR connected me to a community of people dotted all around the globe whose common ancestry, language or location continue to intrigue me.”


PitR 2014 Speakers

Bill Johnston

johnstonBill Johnston’s passion is literary translation. When he’s not translating from Polish, he is reading international literature. He’s also deeply involved in ALTA, the American Literary Translators Association. Bill Johnston has translated works from many different periods and genres. This has included recent novels by such authors as Magdalena Tulli and Wiesław Myśliwski; contemporary poetry by Tadeusz Różewicz, Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, and Tomasz Różycki; earlier 20th-century authors such as Witold Gombrowicz; and “classics” by Stefan Żeromski, Jan Kochanowski; and Juliusz Słowacki.


Mieczysław Biskupski

biskupskiMieczysław B. Biskupski is a historian and political scientist currently holding the Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and American Studies at Central Connecticut State University. In 1997 he was a Fellow of the Central European University of Budapest. Professor Biskupski’s main area of research has been in Poland and international relations with a special emphasis on Polish-American relations. He has published extensively, his most recent book being Hollywood’s War on Poland 1939-1945 his numerous scholarly articles include A Very Special Ally? Russia and Poland in American Strategy and Opinion Since 1918. He is President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.


Marek Suszko

SuszkoMarek Suszko is a Polish-American historian. He teaches Polish and European history at the Loyola University Chicago.

Suszko’s research focuses on Polish history, including the history of socialism and modern Poland. He is currently completing his book, tentatively entitled Building a Socialist Nation: Stalinist Poland 1945 – 1956. He has received fellowship and scholarship support from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Council for Polish Culture Scholarship, the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Resistance Foundation, and the Kosciuszko Foundation. Suszko is also an award-winning teacher and has been the recipient of the Master Teacher Award at Loyola University Chicago (2010) and the Outstanding Faculty of the YearAward at Purdue University NorthCentral (2004).

Wojtek Ziemilski


Wojtek Ziemilski is a theatre director and visual artist. He studied theatre in Lisbon, Portugal and upon returning to Poland in 2008, his projects earned him media attention as “the hot new name of Warsaw theater” (Gazeta Wyborcza), and “the rising star of Polish culture” (Duży Format).

His Polish debut “Small Narration” (2009), a personal lecture performance about dealing with his family’s troubled past, has been regularly shown in Poland and abroad and will be performed at this year’s PitR.

He collaborates with the BWA Warszawa art gallery and is part of the collective Centrum w Ruchu. Author of the New Art blog, as a critic, he collaborates with several cultural reviews in Poland and abroad, e.g. Krytyka Polityczna.


Andrew Kureth


Andrew is an American journalist who has been living in Poland since 2001. Though he tends to focus on business and economics, since 2004 he has also covered major political, and social events throughout that time as well. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Warsaw Business Journal from 2007-2013 and has reported for numerous global media, including the Financial Times. He has also reported on Poland’s political and economic ties with other countries, notably from France, Georgia and the United Arab Emirates.



Łukasz Wodzyński 


Łukasz Wodzyński is a senior Ph.D. candidate from the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, where he teaches courses in Polish and Russian languages and cultures (most recently: Polish Culture Today).   His research focuses on the intersection of popular culture and modernism in Polish and Russian literature as well as genre studies and pop-cultural representations of history. He was a recipient of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Scholarship (2010-12) and the Jackman Humanities Research Institute Graduate Fellowship (2011-12).


Special Guests

Leszek Balcerowicz (live online lecture)

BalcerowiczEconomist, Professor of Warsaw School of Economics, Founder and Council Chairman of Civil Development Forum (FOR), former President of the National Bank of Poland; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the first non-communist government of Poland after 1945; doctor honoris causa of several universities, distinguished with prestigious awards and decorations, including the Medal of White Eagle.


Agnes Gruda

GrudaAgnes Gruda was born in Poland and immigrated to Canada in the late sixties. She’s been a journalist at the Montreal daily newspaper La Presse since 1986, covering a variety of topics, from municipal affairs to international politics. Agnes recently returned from a posting in France. She was in Ukraine at the beginning of 2014, writing about the eruption of conflict on the Maidan Square. Agnes will discuss her international reporting experience with PitR students, including her many visits to Poland, and her rich, diverse, heritage.


Paul Kunigis

KunigisPaul Kunigis was born in Poland to a highly decorated and one of the remaining few Jewish officers in the Polish army, and to a Roman Catholic mother. Due to political instabilities and ideological differences, the family moves to Israel. To preserve their Polish heritage, they put their children in a Catholic French school, in Jaffa. Herein lies the foundation of Paul’s unique blend of musical background. Imagine, a small boy, raised in Israel by a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, in a French school in an Arab city! This daily blend of Eastern & Western melodies, of Middle Eastern and northern African rhythms , of country, blues and jazz songs and sounds; This variety of cultures, traditions, religions, languages & food, played an important role in his evolution as a singer/songwriter and pianist.



Bernadette McDonald

BernadetteBernadette McDonald is the author of nine books on mountaineering and mountain culture, including Freedom Climbers (Rocky Mountain Books, 2011), the story of Poland’s golden age of Himalayan climbing.  McDonald has been awarded five literary prizes for Freedom Climbers, including the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize.  She was awarded Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a three-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature (2012, 2009 and 2008). In 2011 the American Alpine Club awarded her their highest literary honour for excellence in mountain literature. Freedom Climbers has been published in eight countries and translated into five languages.

She was the founding Vice President of Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre and director of the Banff Mountain Festivals for 20 years. She has received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010), the Summit of Excellence Award from The Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). Bernadette is an honorary member of both the Polish Mountaineering Association and India’s Himalayan Club.

Bernadette lectures and consults for universities, museums, festivals and cultural institutions around the world. She currently serves on the international advisory committee for National Geographic’s Expedition Council.

Bernadette spends most of her discretionary time in the mountains: climbing, ski touring and hiking.



Click here to see past PitR Speakers

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