University of Rochester

Polish Diplomat, Scholars Discuss America Through Their Eyes

October 9, 2006

A conference with more than a dozen speakers sharing research on how Poland and its people view the United States will be held Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Interfaith Chapel on the University of Rochester's River Campus. Most of the presenters—who are professors and graduate students from Poland—are associated with the American Studies Center at Warsaw University, a partner with the University of Rochester in researching and writing about cross-cultural themes and contemporary issues.

Henryk Szlajfer, a former Polish ambassador to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and other international organizations, will open the morning session at 9:40 a.m. with a talk on U.S. policies toward Central Europe. He also is visiting professor at the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester this fall.

The "Images of America: Polish Perspectives on the U.S." conference is sponsored by a grant from the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission to Warsaw University's American Studies Center. Divided into two parts, the morning session will concentrate on American politics from a Polish perspective. Afternoon speakers will focus on Americans through the eyes of Poles. The event is free and open to the public.

Speakers will tackle such topics as Polish perceptions of the American South to how Polish Americans are seen by the Polish media. The conference will conclude at 5 p.m. with remarks by John Michael, professor of English at the University of Rochester, who specializes in 19th- and 20th-century American literature, critical theory, and cultural studies.

The symposium also is supported by the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the American Studies Center at Warsaw University, and the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester. For more information on the Oct. 11 schedule, go to