University of Rochester

Skalny Center Director Honored for Advancing Polish Culture in U.S.

June 28, 2005

Ewa K. Hauser, director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester, will receive Poland’s Cavalier Cross of Merit for her achievements in promoting Polish culture in America. Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, consul general of the Republic of Poland in New York, will present the medal on July 15 in Rochester.

The first director of the Skalny Center, Hauser began teaching at Rochester in political science and in anthropology in 1992. A native of Poland, she wrote the proposal that established the Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University in 1994; later, the center was renamed for the Louis Skalny Foundation.

A graduate of Warsaw University and Yale University, Hauser earned her doctorate in anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. She is adjunct associate professor of political science at Rochester and teaches courses on many aspects of Poland and its culture, nationalism, political films, and the political culture of Eastern Europe.

The Cavalier Cross of Merit is considered one of Poland’s most prestigious awards and is designated by the president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski. Four members of the Skalny family of Rochester—Joseph Skalny, Frederic Skalny, the late Stasia Skalny, and Anna Skalny—also have been honored with the Cavalier Cross.

Hauser, who has been a consultant to the World Bank, is senior editor of an academic series of books on studies in Central Europe. She also was selected as a senior Fulbright Fellow at the American Studies Center of Warsaw University for 2001-2002. In 2004, she received a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Initiative Award to build a broader institutional arrangement from her Fulbright experience.

This latest Fulbright award enabled the start of a collaboration between the University of Rochester and Warsaw University. Since then, Warsaw professors have lectured at Rochester, a delegation of Rochester professors visited Warsaw last spring for a conference, and four Warsaw students will attend classes at Rochester this fall.

The Skalny Center supports research and teaching about the historical legacy and political and economic changes within Central Europe. The center’s public lecture series, film festival, and other activities offer the Rochester community opportunities to learn about Poland, its neighbors, and its people.