Brussels hosted the already eleventh gala show of the “Pole of the Year in Belgium” competition. Winners received awards in four categories, with one of them - Award of the Polish community - presented by Dominika Szulc, head of the Brussels-based Polish Tourism Organisation International Office. POT regularly supports the discussed event.
Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna - POT) actively supports the “Pole of the Year” competition, recognised as one of the largest promotional events of the Polish community in Belgium. Its underlying idea is to distinguish Poles dedicated to building our country’s positive image in the Kingdom of Belgium. The Embassy of the Republic of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Council of the Polish Community of Belgium, official organisers of the eleventh edition of the competition, were backed by institutions such as Polish Expat Network Belgium, Emigration Project, Polish Tourism Organisation and Polish Institute.
The mission of the undertaking is to present the successes of Poles and the acclaim they enjoy in Belgium both in work and daily life. Crowned by an evening gala event, the contest is meant as a way of acknowledging the work of Poles who blend into the new reality and Belgian society but simultaneously do not forget to nurture their roots.
The concept of this unprecedented initiative won such approval that it eventually inspired many similar projects currently staged all over the world.
This year’s gala show was staged in Brussels-set Wolubilis performance art theatre and attracted 400 participants. Opening speeches were given by Artur Orzechowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium, and Joseph Ptaszyński, President of the Council of the Polish Community of Belgium. A high point of the event involved a concert of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal.
Winners received awards in four categories: special award of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland and the President of the Council of the Polish Community, the award of the Polish community, the Internet users award, and the main “Pole of the Year” award.
Dominika Szulc, Head of Polish Tourism Organisation International Office in Brussels, and Iwona Koperska, Chairperson of the Sejmik assembly of the Łódzkie Voivodeship, presented the Award of the Polish community to Dirk Verbeke, President of the veteran association of General Stanisław Maczek’s 1st Armoured Division, which in September acted as a partner of the Liberation Ride bicycle rally organised to commemorate the Division liberating Flanders. Verbeke is also a curator of the “Armoured Wings” exhibition centred on the Division and displayed throughout 2019 in many Belgian cities. The Pole of the Year award went to Katarzyna Radomska, President of the Leuven-based Centre for Polish Culture and Language.