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Meet the Young Poles who Received the "Outstanding Pole" Award

Updated: Jun 2

The "Outstanding Pole" award ceremony was held at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. Young Poles were also among the winners. The "Outstanding Pole" award is the most prestigious non-governmental award granted to Poles living outside Poland. The competition is organized by the "Teraz Polska" Foundation. Who are the young Poles who received the award?

Daniel Kurzyna Chief of Staff of the New York City Council

Daniel Kurzyna is an administration and communication specialist. He is the first-ever Polish-speaking Chief of Staff in the New York City government, where he holds the position for New York City Councilman Robert Holden. As chief of staff, he is responsible for all day-to-day activities of the councilman's office, including drafting legislation and advising on communication and management matters. He previously served as a member of the staff of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress.

During his tenure on the New York City Council, he led the charge of passing several pieces of legislation in favor of New York's Polish community. He was also instrumental in organizing the first Polish Heritage Night in history at the historic New York City Hall.

Daniel holds an MA in International Relations with a specialization in Russian and Slavic Studies from New York University (NYU). At NYU, Daniel was an editor and contributor to the Journals Economics-Review Journal and the Journal of Political Inquiry. He also served as the professional chairman of the NYU International Relations and Politics Association.

Absent from the ceremony due to illness, he issued the following communiqué:

"It is a great honor to receive the "Outstanding Pole" award from the "Teraz Polska" Foundation. As the first-ever Polish-speaking chief of staff in the government of New York and a Polish-American deeply committed to Polonia, I am proud of my heritage. I would like to thank the "Teraz Polska" Foundation, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York, Adrian Kubicki, the chairman of the New York Chapter of the award, Grzegorz Fryc, and all those involved in this initiative."​​​​​​

Paweł Wierzbicki
Attorney, member of the board of the Pulaski Association of Business & Professional Men

Paweł P. Wierzbicki is a trial attorney associated with Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP. Paweł is the first lawyer of Polish descent to join this prestigious New York law firm.

Paweł is a US citizen born in Chicago and raised in Poland, where he received his PhD in Law from the University of Warsaw in 2014. He then enrolled at the University of Florida's Fredric G. Levin College of Law, where he earned additional academic degrees in law. While studying at Levin College of Law, Paweł received a Book Award from the Dean for getting the highest grade in the Tort Examination (Personal Injury Law). He also received the Pulaski Scholarship for Advanced Studies (from the American Council for Polish Culture) in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements and support for the Polish American community. He is proud of his Polish origin.

Receiving the award, Paweł emphasized that the award is a great honor for him, which motivates him to work even harder for the benefit of the Polish community abroad. He sees this award not only as a recognition of current and past achievements, but above all as a huge responsibility. He emphasized that the generational bridge between the younger and older generations of professionals and businessmen of Polish descent leads to closer ties in the Polish-American community.

Bartek Szymański
Vice-president of the Polish Youth Association, Polish community activist, actor

Bartek Szymański is a Polish-American actor and young Polish community activist, born and raised in Connecticut, USA. He began his Polish education at the age of 6 at the Polish Saturday School in Stamford, CT, where he attended for 9 years. There, thanks to the commitment and help of teachers, he discovered his acting talent, willingly giving monologues and reciting poems. In high school, Bartek discovered leadership qualities in himself. He very quickly acquired knowledge useful for exercising power, which resulted in winning the school elections to the student government for four consecutive years. In 2017, Bartek became a member of the Pulaski Parade Committee, where he was elected the correspondence secretary. Accepting the position, Bartek committed himself to actively involve young people in work for the Pulaski Parade.

In 2019, he was appointed Vice-President for Administrative Affairs at the Polish Youth Association. As part of his duties, he provides support in the field of formal, administrative and organizational activities to the president of the management board. He coordinates effective cooperation with Polish youth and ensures the effective flow of information within the structure. As the first Polish actor, Bartek appeared in the well-known American series "Chicago PD" broadcast on NBC.


Source: Polish Youth Association, Pulaski Association of Business & Professional Men, Radio Rampa, Private Archives of Daniel Kurzyna

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