Amicus Poloniae


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.

Therese Clarke with PAHA President, Anna Mazurkiewicz, January 2018

2017 - Therese Clarke

Therese Clarke was born in Buffalo NY to an Irish Father and French Mother. Therese graduated from D’Youville College with Honors in Buffalo NY and Majored in French Education. She was a career French Teacher in the Williamsville NY School District. A founding member, (the only original member actively involved since 1990) of the 1990 creation of Pomost International, a local organization which has been sending volunteers annually to Rzeszów, Poland, Buffalo's Sister City. Therese went to Rzeszów alone (not knowing any Polish) to make the arrangements. She returned 15 times as leader of the program. Since 1991 more than 125 Americans (many non-Poles) have gone to Poland to facilitate a two-week Intensive English Language and American Culture. Therese regularly attends the Chopin Singing Society Concerts, UB Polish Student’s Association, Polish American Congress of WNY & Polish Arts Club of Buffalo Wigilias and Swieconkas. Dyngus Day, Paczki Day, Dożynki, Kosciusko Foundation of Buffalo, Orchard Lake Seminary Fundraising, Polish Businesswomen's Association, Casimir Pulaski Association, Polish Genealogy Associations.

Maja Trochimczyk, Grazyna Kozaczka (PAHA President) with Amicus Poloniae winners, Brenda Bruce and Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II, Denver, CO, 2017.

2016 - Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II and Brenda Bruce

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.

Jim Pula, Silvia Dapia and Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann with Dapia's Award, Atlanta, GA.

2015 - Dr. Silvia Dapia

Dr. Silvia Dapia has provided significant service to Polonia and PAHA through her work on the Polish experience in Latin America. She guest edited a special edition of Polish American Studies on this topic and also guest edited a special issue of the Polish Review on the work of Witold Gombrowicz. Beyond this she has presented papers on Polish-related topics at PAHA and PIASA conferences as well as at the conference organized by Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz at the University of Gdansk. Further, she organized two complete sessions on Gomrbowicz for the Fifth World Congress on Polish Studies in Warsaw in 2014. (Papers from this conference formed the basis for her guest-edited issue of The Polish Review.) In her position on the organizing committee for a 2014 conference on Gombrowicz held at the National Library in Buenos Aires she was able to obtain invitations for three prominent Polish scholars to participate, and she solicited papers for the completion of The Polish Review issue on Gombrowicz.

Terry Tegnazian with Anna Mazurkiewicz, Washington D.C., 2014

2014 - Terry Tegnazian

Ms. Tegnazian was recognized for her devotion to printing books about Poland in World War II which nurture interest in and have an impact on the perception of Poland and Poles among the American audiences. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II as a result of research for a book she was working on about a Polish airman in the Battle of Britain. Reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders, she was moved by the stories of the Poles' incredible courage during World War II - an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. Terry co-founded Aquila Polonica Publishing because she felt it was important that such lost stories be restored to history and the wider public.

2013 - Peter Hetherington

Peter Hetherington is a geologist by profession and author of Unvanquished - already a widely-acclaimed book that through a dynamic narrative chronicles Josef Pilsudski's life with a "stunning detail and impressive depth" - as one reviewer put it. Published in 2012 this 752-pages-long book brings Pilsudski to life and with him the history of Poland and the region. The book had two editions in one year! It has been favorably reviewed and endorsed (among others) by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz and has already received a number of recognitions. Hetherington's description of the book reads: "Although not of Polish ancestry, I have come to appreciate Pilsudski and the Polish people with zeal of a convert, and hope that in some small measure this book will increase awareness of Poland's rich cultural heritage and her important contributions to Western civilization." His interest, effort, input and efficacy with no support in the Slavic profession make him a perfect candidate for the award recognizing friends of Poland.

2012 - Harlan J. Berk

Harlan J. Berk, founder and president of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., Chicago, IL, was the person who noticed that items brought to his business for sale had come from the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. He did the right thing and notified authorities, thereby setting in motion the recovery of some $5 million worth of irreplaceable artifacts missing from the Polish Museum collections.

2011 - Dr. Pien Versteegh

Former Director for Strategic Projects at Tilburg University, Holland (currently at Avans University), Dr. Pien Versteegh has published works on the Polish migrant workers in western Europe and in the United States in the last decade of the 19th century, and first decades of the 20th century. As Executive Director of PAHA (since 2007), Dr. Pien Versteegh has effectively performed all of the administrative functions of the organization.

2010 - Ieva Zake

Dr. Ieva Zake of Rowan University (New Jersey) published research work in a field that is central to the mission of PAHA. That is, her work deals with the place of organized American ethnic groups, particularly those from east and central Europe, in the making of U.S. foreign policy.

2008 - Stephen Leahy

Dr. Leahy has held several important positions within PAHA. Most notably, he has served as editor of the PAHA newsletter, our organisation's most important direct communication tool with its members and provided notable service on the PAHA Awards committee.

2007 - Sean Martin

Dr. Martin's academic interests lie in Polish- Jewish relations. He is Associate Curator for Jewish History at the Western Reserve Historical Society, and teaches at the University of Phoenix. His recent book, Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918-1939 (London: 2004) received acclaim and he is currently working on a history of Jewish child welfare in interwar Poland.

2006 - Joel Wurl

A Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C., Joel Wurl is recognized for his longtime service at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota. While at IHRC he filled various positions, including Head of Research Collections and Associate Director. Due to his initiatives, many priceless manuscript collections produced by Polish American organizations were acquired by IHRC and made available to researchers. His nominator states that anybody who has ever done research at the IHRC can attest to Joel Wurl's invaluable assistance.

2005 - Gillian Berchowitz

Ms, Berchowitz is senior editor and assistant director of Ohio University Press, having worked with the firm more than 20 years. She is a native of Capetown, South Africa, of Latvian/Jewish background. She helped develop and has been essential to the success of OUP's Polish and Polish-American Studies Series, which has produced numerous award winning volumes.

2004 - Catholic University of America Press.

2003 - Rudolph Vecoli

Prof. Dr. Vecoli is a longtime director, scholar, caretaker, listener, and activist at the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota. At the achive, Prof. Dr. Vecoli has provided international leadership in documenting, preserving and promoting United States immigration history, including Polish American history. Further he has been instrumental in promoting The Polish American Studies Fund to support the Polish American Collection. The IHRC holds the nation's most extensive resource for the study of Polish American history including more than 4,000 monographs written by, for, and about Polish immigrants and their descendants pertaining to virtually all facets of the Polish American experience. The Collection also contains more than 500 newspaper and serial titles published by Polish organizations and institutions throughout the country, dating back to the late 1800s as well as unpublished records and documents from Polish American organizations and individuals. As director of the Immigration History and Research Center, Dr. Vecoli has graciously hosted two of PAHA's midyear meetings, supported numerous researchers from the US, Poland and other countries of the Polish diaspora undertaking research on Polonia, and sponsored many publications as well as presentations on Polonia's archival materials. 

2002 - Laurie Winters

Laurie Winters made a major contribution to the promotion of Polish history and art in the U.S. by organizing an exhibition, "Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland," and editing a book-length catalog for this traveling exhibition. Ms. Winters is a Curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum.