Bernard O’Connor Award 2021 presented to the Irish Culture Foundation in Poznan
News05 October 2021
Justyna Mazurek-Schramm, Ambassador Emer O'Connell, Krzysztof Schramm
The Irish Ambassador to Poland, Emer O’Connell, travelled to Poznan to present the prestigious Bernard O’Connor Award to the Irish Culture Foundation. The award recognises the organisation’s outstanding work in promoting Irish culture, heritage and language in Poland since it was established in 2003.
The Irish Culture Foundation is the fourth recipient of the Bernard O’Connor Award which celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to friendship, cooperation and understanding between Ireland and Poland. The award was established by the Irish Embassy in 2018 and honours another important figure in the story of Irish-Polish relations, Bernard O’Connor. Once a physician at the court of King Jan Sobieski III, the Irish man also wrote the first history of Poland in English.
Commenting on the decision to give the award to the Irish Culture Foundation, the Ambassador said:
“Ireland and Poland share a love of history and of culture. As our lives and our futures become ever more intertwined, we are deeply indebted to those who help us understand each other better and that is why I am so pleased to present the Bernard O’Connor Award to the Irish Culture Foundation.
For almost two decades, under the dedicated stewardship of Justyna Mazurek-Schramm, the Irish Culture Foundation has been working tirelessly to showcase Ireland’s story across Poland. In particular, its “Irlandia w szkole” programme offers a unique cultural window on Ireland for schoolchildren in the Wielkopolska region and beyond. Its emphasis on bringing Irish music, literature and history to life in Polish schools has been central to its success.”
Congratulating the Irish Culture Foundation on the award, the Honorary Consul of Ireland to Poland, Mr. Artur Sikora said:
“Relations between Poland and Ireland have gone from strength to strength over many years. This has been underpinned by very strong people-to-people ties and a wide range of cultural and business links. The Irish Culture Foundation plays a key role in building and cementing these links.”
Justyna Mazurek-Schramm, head of the Irish Culture Foundation, spoke of her pride in receiving the award. Since her early university days researching the Irish independence movement, Justyna has been passionate about exploring the linkages between Ireland and Poland:
“The Poles and the Irish are kindred spirits. We share a common love for culture, for music and, of course, here in the city of Poznan for soccer! For me, it continues to be a source of joy, exploring these linkages and bringing new projects between Ireland and Poland to life.”
About the Irish Culture Foundation
The Irish Culture Foundation (ICF) is a voluntary organisation which promotes Irish culture in Poland. It is based in Poznan, but organises events throughout the country. In addition to its highly successful Irlandia w szkole programme, the Irish Culture Foundation has organised St. Patrick’s Day festivities in towns and cities across Poland, as well as a wide range of exhibitions and conferences on Irish literature and history for Polish audiences. The Foundation works closely with many cultural and academic partners across the country.
Most recently, the ICF launched a new collection of Irish fairy tales for younger Polish readers – “Baśnie irlandzkie”. In addition to its upcoming literary projects, the Irish Culture Foundation will also host, together with the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, a seminar series on Joyce and Contemporary Ireland over the 2021-2022 autumn winter period.
The ICF is supported by a number of corporate and private sponsors, as well as receiving a grant under the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme.
About the Award
The Bernard O’Connor Award is an annual award presented by the Embassy of Ireland in Poland to individuals or organisations who have played a lead role in developing relations between Ireland and Poland.
The previous recipients of the Bernard O’Connor Award are:
- St. Patrick’s Foundation, for their charity work and fundraising to support Polish medical and front-line organisations (2020).
- Department of Celtic Studies at the Catholic University of Lublin, for the teaching and promotion of the Irish Language in Poland, on the occasion of their 30th anniversary (2019).
- Writer, translator and literary critic Antoni Libera, for his work promoting Samuel Beckett in Poland (2018).