Anna Fotyga, Poland's New Foreign Minister visits Washington DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Poland swore in its new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Fotyga, on May 9, 2006. She recently visited Washington on official business and met here with Polonia at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on June 18, 2006. Also in official attendance with her was Witold Waszczykowski, Undersecretary of State, and Andrzej Jaroszynski, Deputy Director of the Americas Department, United States/Canada Affairs.

Minister Fotyga Visits Washington. Anna Fotyga, Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs, is shown above being introduced to Polonia at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, D.C. She is the first woman ever to serve in this critical cabinet position. (click inside the image to magnify it)

After being introduced by Ambassador Janusz Reiter, Minister Fotyga addressed the audience by touching on a variety of subjects that included:
  • The evolution of the present ruling coalition government in Poland;
  • The importance of maintaining good trans-Atlantic relations; Improvement of relations between the United States and the European Union;
  • The "Strategic Coalition/ Dialog" between Poland and the United States concerning their bilateral and various international issues, and the importance and appreciation of Polonia in Poland to it's people and government.

    After Fotyga's address, she graciously mingled and chatted with the assembled Polonia at length, leaving them with a feeling of true admiration and great respect for her.
    The Foreign Minister, and entourage, had a very active schedule of meetings in Washington. They met with White House officials Vice-President Richard Chaney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. On Capitol Hill they met with Senator Richard Lugar (Foreign Relations Chair), Representative Henry Hyde (International Relations Chair), Senator Barbara Mikulski and other legislators. The topics visited and discussed extensively with all the parties included those previously mentioned above, and the future of Poland's Iraq operations with her American partners. Minister Fotyga also met with representatives of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    Anna Fotyga is eminently qualified to hold her ministerial post with a wealth of practical and political experience to her credit. She was active in the Solidarity trade union movement, later served in its Foreign Affairs Department, and eventually rose to Head of its National Committee (1981-1991). She was Advisor on Foreign Affairs for Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek (2000); was a Alderman and the Vice-Mayor of Gdansk (2002-2004); and an elected Member of the European Parliament since 2004. She had previously assumed the office of Deputy Foreign Minister (November, 2005). In addition to this, Fotyga has played an important, official guiding role in the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Bank, and International Social Security Association (ISSA). She also actively participated in Poland's European Integration process, and various business and social/health movements in Poland.

    Mrs. Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, born in Lebork on January 12,1957, is married and the attractive mother of a daughter and son, both students. Her academic credentials are very impressive with degrees from prestigious universities and schools in Poland, Denmark and the United States. In addition to her native Polish, she is fluent in English and Russian. Interestingly, there presently exists over 25,400 references to Fotyga on the internet Google search engine. When the sum total of Fotyga's life to date is taken into account, it is very obvious and most rewarding that a true "Renaissance Woman" is now at the helm of Poland's Foreign Ministry in Warsaw, steadily steering Poland into the future using her abundant expertise and much acclaimed professionalism.

    Baltimore, Md., June 27, 2006
    text and photographs by Richard P. Poremski, contact the author by e-mail
    This article was published originally in Polish American Journal, Buffalo, NY.

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