Current Awardees

Each year at its Annual Meeting, PAHA bestows a series of award honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions to the Polish American cultural, artistic, and social life. The Oskar Halecki Prize honors the best books, the Miecislaus Haiman Award - distinguished scholars, the Amicus Poloniae - individuals not of Polish descent dedicated to the cause of Polonia, the Swastek Prize - articles published in the Polish American Studies, and the Skalny Civic Achievement Awards - contributions to Polonia's community.

PAHA also bestows Creative Arts Prizes, Distinguished Service Award, and Graduate Student Awards. An exceptional achievement and contribution to the organization may be recognized by Honorary Membership. At the 74th Annual Meeting on January 7, 2017, in Denver, Colorado, the following awards were presented. For more information and photos, please visit the PAHA News Blog.

Amicus Poloniae Award
Creative Arts Prize
Distinguished Service Award
Oskar Halecki Prize (Books)
Skalny Civic Achievement Award
Swastek Prize (Best Article)
Student Award and Travel Grant

Amicus Poloniae Award

The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of the Polish and Polish American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish American community. See the full list of past awardees.

At the 74th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, PAHA presented its Amicus Poloniae Award to Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II and Brenda Bruce who co-founded the Paderewski Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014 ( Dr. Fountain, the President of the Festival, is a former administrator with the State of North Carolina and for more than 25 years he taught history at North Carolina State University. In 2008, Dr. Fountain was appointed as an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland. The Vice-President and Secretary of the Festival, Brenda Bruceis an accomplished pianist, harpsichordist, acclaimed teacher, and accompanist dedicated to the promotion of classical piano performance of the highest quality.

Oskar Halecki Prize

This award recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States. Eligibility is limited to works of historical and/or cultural interest, including those from related fields in the social sciences or humanities, published in the prior two years (2015-16). The prize honors Oskar Halecki (1891-1973), an eminent Polish-born historian who was also a co-founder and charter member of PAHA. See the full list of past awardees.

The 2016 Halecki Prize was awarded to Prof. Mieczysław B. Biskupski, for his book The Most Dangerous German Agent in America (NIU Press, 2015).The Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies at the Central Connecticut State University, Prof. Biskupski is the author of nine books, and numerous journal articles. A Past President and a long-time Council member of PAHA, Prof. Biskupski currently serves as the President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. He previously received the Mieczyslaw Haiman Award, and the 2010 Halecki Prize for Hollywood's War With Poland, 1939-1945 (Knoxville: University of Kentucky Press, 2010), among other honors and distinctions.

Creative Arts Prize

This award recognizes contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas. See the full list of past awardees.

The Creative Arts Prize was bestowed on Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, for her achievements as a poet, especially her two books dedicated to Polish victims of WWII, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and The Rainy Bread (Moonrise Press, 2016). Her books of poetry include Rose Always, 2008; Miriam’s Iris, 2008; Into Light, 2016; and two anthologies, Chopin with Cherries, 2010, and Meditations on Divine Names, 2012. Dr. Trochimczyk received many honors for her work, including the Polish government’s medal for the promotion of culture, a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, PAHA’s Distinguished Service Award (2014) and the Swastek Prize (2007).

Distinguished Service Award

This award is given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization. See the full list of past awardees.

Skalny Civic Achievement Award

The Skalny Civic Achievement Awards "honor individuals or groups that advance PAHA's goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or that have made significant contributions to the Polish or Polish-American community and culture. See the full list of past awardees.

In January 2017, PAHA presented the Skalny Civic Achievement Awards for 2016 to the following individuals:

    • Marta Alicja Swica - of Minneapolis, MN, a former Business Manager, Scholarship Program Chair, and member of the Executive Board of the Polanie Club Minneapolis and St. Paul, an important cultural association of Polish women, active since the 1927 and distinguished through their vast publishing activities. After the dissolution of the Club, Ms. Swica led the effort to secure its historical records and successfully negotiated their placement at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, and the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

    • Tomasz Skotnicki - Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Denver, CO, since 2005, is strongly linked to local Polonia communities, first in Santa Barbara where he organized Polish community events to celebrate national holidays. In Colorado, he co-organizes visits of representatives of Polish government including President Lech Walesa, organizes consular events, cooperates with the Polish Club and the Kosciuszko Foundation. Mr. Skotnicki actively promotes Polish culture and history and helps Poles who are in need.

  • Katarzyna Zak - President of the Polish Club in Denver, who has made numerous contributions to the promotion of Polish culture and activities of local Polish society, including numerous events, support for the Polish library, and more. She is a member of the Polonia Council convened by the Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles.

  • Elizabeth Kanski and Vladek Juszkiewicz - President of the Polish American Film Society, Elizabeth Kanski and Artistic Director of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, Vladek Juszkiewicz, recognized by the 2016 Skalny Award for their work as organizers of the Film Festival, held in Los Angeles for the past 16 years and promoting Polish cinema and international film collaborations ( through hundreds of screenings, lectures, and panel presentations in Los Angeles and Orange County, in collaboration with CSUN, USC, UCLA and other partners.

Swastek Prize

The Swastek Prize is awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association. This award is named in honor of Rev. Joseph V. Swastek (1913-1977), editor of Polish American Studies for many years, and past president of the Polish American Historical Association. For more information visit Swastek Prize's and review the See the full list of past awardees.

The Editorial Board of the Polish American Studies recommended that the Swastek Prize be presented to Dr. Paweł Ziętara of Warsaw, Poland for “Troubles with ‘Mela’: A Polish American Reporter, the Secret Services of People’s Poland, and the FBI” (PAS 72, No 1, Spring 2015). Dr. Ziętara’s article assembles massive, painstaking research and presents a portrait of communist activity in the USA in the postwar period that is not well known. It brings to light a subject both significant and fascinating, and is based almost entirely on original archival sources.

Graduate Student Research Paper Award

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences. See the full list of past awardees.

The 2016 Graduate Student Award was presented to Joanna Kulpińska from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland for her paper “Multigenerational Migration Chains of Families from Babica: An Attempt at Typology.”

Graduate Student /Young Scholar Travel Grant

Established in 2016, the first Young Scholar Travel Grant was presented to Alexandra Kurowska-Susdorf from the University of Gdańsk, Poland, for her paper “Creating Identity: Discussion around Kashubian and Polish Identity in Canada and Poland” in recognition of her outstanding research into Polish Kashubian emigre history and culture.