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National Bank of Poland Visits U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. // The critical mission was concluded most satisfactorily. Now it was time to decompress, relax and enjoy themselves a bit before returning home. And that's just what happened here at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on March 2, 2009 when Ambassador Robert Kupiecki hosted Slawomir S. Skrzypek (he died in airplane tragedy 4-10-2010, together with Polish president Kaczynski and 95 others), President of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), and his delegation of seven Bank officials.

Ambassador Kupiecki, assisted by DCM Wojciech Flera, arranged an intimate dinner - created by Master Chef Adam Holewa - for the NBP president and entourage. Also invited were 20 guests representing a very interesting and diverse cross section of the local Polonia. Given the present economic crises around the globe, it was good to hear President Skrzypek say that Poland is in relatively good financial shape, especially in comparison to other emerging countries in Eastern Europe. For example: despite having taken its share of hits, Poland's economy grew by a respectable 2.9% in the last quarter of 2008, while many others were tanking world-wide.

Bank Hosted at Polish Embassy. The President of the National Bank of Poland, Slawomir Skrzypek (pictured above in glasses, opposite to standing Amb.Kupiecki), and his delegation were the honored guests at a candlelight dinner party, hosted by the Embassy of Poland in Washington, following their important and successful working visit to the United States.

Skrzypek thanked his dinner partners for their continuing support of Poland and emphasized our very special and enduring mutual friendship. The guests were delighted to be gifted with a small wooden chest. The elegant kuferek contained two coins minted in 2008 by the NBP to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Polish settlers in the U.S., who landed at Jamestown in 1608. In addition to being highly engraved, the totally unique 10 zloty silver coin has a large etched-glass center depicting a Polish glassblower at work.

The NBP delegation arrived in the U.S. on February 27, 2009. Their whirlwind itinerary consisted of many meetings in New York, Chicago and Washington. The focus was on networking with key economic officials and related institutions, as well as with Polonia entrepreneurs, concerning the present world economic crisis and its solutions. But the Bank's main mission here was proactive in nature: To present, project and reaffirm Poland as a steadfast and trustworthy economic partner, now and in the future.

Most symbolically, the NBP's visit began at the New York Stock Exchange. Consultations with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, U.S. Federal Reserve System, U.S. Treasury, and many other major financial institutions followed as the busy days progressed.

Connecting with our Polonia was considered an important component of the NBP agenda. In Chicago, President Skrzypek was the guest of honor during the Polish Festival at Navy Pier. The Polish American Business Club/Kosciuszko Foundation hosted the delegation in New York. Locally, the Bank met with Prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor serving President Carter, and Zofia Korbonska, a recognized activist for Polish freedom and independence from the Soviets. As a member of the Polish resistance Home Army, she participated in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi Germans.

Skrzypek, age 46, is no stranger to the U.S. He worked as an intern for the U.S. Congress and for the Polish Mission at the U.N. in New York. He holds master degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Georgetown University relating to finance and business. His academic accomplishments in Poland include various diplomas and degrees from the Silesian University of Technology, University of Silesia - Faculty of Law and Administration, Warsaw School of Economics and Cracow University of Economics.

Poland has every reason to celebrate the fact that the highly experienced and very steady hands of Slawomir Stanislaw Skrzypek are firmly gripping the helm of the National Bank of Poland, steering it safely on a true course during these stormy economic times.

Richard P. Poremski
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Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau
April 9, 2009

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