Washington, D.C. Vice-Consul Pawel Bogdziewicz hosted a lecture featuring
Chairman Krzysztof Czyzewski of the Borderland Foundation (BF) here at
the Consulate General of the Embassy of Poland on February 3, 2006. The
BF House is located in the small town of Sejny in the far north-east corner
of Poland. Of consequence to its nearby and once fluid borders with Lithuania
and Belarus, it has a well established mixed population of Poles, Lithuanians
and Russians. The once flourishing Jewish population was exterminated
by the Nazi Germans during World War II. But their Old Yeshiva and White
Synagogue have been preserved and maintained and are now utilized for
concerts, dramas and exhibitions.
The BF was formally established in May 1990. It is an independent non-governmental
organization that does not engage in any political or economic activity.
It is supported by grants from different institutions and organizations,
as well as by personal donations. Its sole people-orientated mission
is to encourage and cultivate friendship, understanding and multiculturism
between different ethnic groups and nationalities. And Sejny is the
perfect laboratory for this grand social and humanistic project. It’s
testing of European co-existence and accord has been met with much success
and international acclaim. The BF has disseminated its philosophy and
programs to Eastern and Western Europe, America, and Inner Asia. In
the future it will no doubt expand globally as its intrinsic value and
philosophy of life become recognized and appreciated in the other parts
of the world.
A multifaceted and wide variety of cultural programs is the vehicle used by the BF to bridge the valleys between peoples of different countries, regions, ethnicities and religions. Music, theatre, literature, art, lectures and a unique, traveling, old-world-style "Café Europa" all work together successfully to connect the different peoples with one another. It also has a very busy publishing program and issues the magazine Krasnogruda, with each issue being devoted to a chosen region of Central and East Europe.
And probably the most poignant and important statement made by Director Czyzewski on this evening was one begging personal introspection: We all must do our utmost to overcome and breach our own xenophobic "internal borders" in order to reach out and live harmoniously and in peace with all our fellow human beings.
Much more information about the Borderland Foundation and its multifaceted programs can be found at its Polish/English web site http://www.pogranicze.sejny.pl/.