“The time has come for the narrative regarding Polish-American relations to shift; it should not focus exclusively on security, but also encompass economic cooperation, which is where both of our countries have a lot to offer”  – said the Polish Investment and Development Minister Jerzy Kwieciński during an opening ceremony of the first annual Polish-American Leadership Summit (#PALS), co-organized by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation. The conference was attended by Polish and American government officials, representatives of business, and non-governmental organizations. The conference was dedicated to promoting economic cooperation in the fields of defence, energy and industry.

The Forum, which took place between February 9th and 11th in Miami Florida, was one of the most important initiatives in Polish-American relations, and the very first event of this scale linking political affairs and economic cooperation between the two states. The program of the conference emphasized the significance of issues relating to energy, technology and knowledge transfer, as well as military cooperation and security. Delivering the opening speech was the  Polish Minister of Investment and Development, Mr Jerzy Kwieciński. In his speech Mr Kwieciński underscored the significant, yet currently unfulfilled potential for economic cooperation between two states. He further indicated, that “the time has come for the narrative regarding Polish-American relations to shift; it should not focus exclusively on security, but also encompass economic cooperation, which is where both our countries have a lot to offer “. Among the speakers invited to the conference were: the Polish vice-minister for Investment and Development Mr Adam Hamyrszczak, president of the Polish Investment Fund Mr Paweł Borys, government plenipotentiary for the Central Communications Hub, and the Secretary of the State in the Ministry of Infrastructure Mr Mikołaj Wild, and Secretary of the State in Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Senator Maria Anders. From the United States, present in the conference were Mr Daniel Kaniewski, Acting Deputy Administrator for the Federal Emergency Agency, and Mr Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and a close advisor to the US President.

President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda has delivered a special pre-recorded message to those in attendance, in which he emphasized the importance of the initiative itself, and noted, that the “Summit takes place in the year 2018, which marks a centennial anniversary of Poland regaining its Independence. The correlation of these two dates is of great symbolic value”. In his address Duda has also noted, that in recent years the relations between Poland and the United States became particularly amiable and close, especially as far as their military dimension is concerned, which is attested by the presence of the US troops in Poland”. “Economic links are becoming an ever stronger pillar of our cooperation” observed the Polish President. Duda further indicated that Polish companies involved in IT, biotechnologies, and space industries are beginning to engage in a successful co-operation and competition in the American market. It is worth noting, that the event itself took place under the honorary patronage of President Duda. Throughout the forum, the amiable relations between the US and Poland have been accentuated numerous times – “President Trump told me how great he felt in Warsaw, and how warmly he was welcomed by the Poles” said Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.

Investment, innovativeness, economic cooperation – the potential for Polish-American Alliance.

The overarching theme of the Summit was to create an opening for the representatives of the public administration and private sector to formulate and develop means of facilitating shared business opportunities, in particular those related to emerging technologies, an intent stressed by Minister Kwieciński. “Innovation is the key word in the Morawiecki Plan, and we would like to pursue it with the Americans” – noted the head of the Investment and Development Ministry. Minister Wild, Secretary of the State in the Ministry of Infrastructure stated, that Poland intents to construct the most innovative and modern transport hub in Europe. “We want to build it from scratch, and this is what makes it possible” – said Wild. At the present time Poland needs the most modern, cutting edge solutions in terms of engineering, and the US can help us acquire and apply the necessary know-how. There is a great potential for cooperation in the defence industry, and energy sector, particularly in the context of emerging technologies, such as energy storage, blockchain technology and electromobility.

Zbigniew Pisarski, Founder and President of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, the co-organizer of the Conference, underscored that developing robust economic ties between the two states is mutually beneficial. “Poland has a great potential, especially because of the Polish diaspora living here in the US. We saw this behind the scenes, during unofficial conversations we had throughout the conference – Polish Americans were clearly captivated by the idea of cooperating – and co-running – Polish enterprises” – said Pisarski. George Friedman, founder and CEO of a geopolitical forecasting company GeopoliticalFutures was of the opinion, that in order to foster and strengthen the Polish-American relations, Poles must focus not only on the current administration in DC, but perhaps even more importantly, on the Congress. “If you want to build a strong alliance with the US, you have to strengthen your relations with the Congress, and strive to gain support coming from particular states – this is what the Chinese, and other major nations are doing”, noted Friedman.

The Polish-American Leadership Summit culminated in the 46th Annual Polonaise Ball, held in the Eden Roc hotel, with this year’s edition being focused on celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence – the theme of the Ball was “100 years of Poland’s Independence and Centuries of Polish-American Relations”. A special VIP session then took place in Mar-a-Lago complex (sometimes referred to as the “winter White House”), owned by the President Donald Trump.

The strategic partners of the Polish-American Leadership Summit were: The Polish Investment Zone, LOTOS Group, and KGHM Polska Miedź. Other partners included TAURON, ENEA, PHN and Supra Brokers. Casimir Pulaski foundation, Warsaw Security Forum and PFR Group were the content partners, providing expertise throughout the Summit.  Telewizja Polska (Polish state TV), TV Polonia, “Wprost” and Do Rzeczy” weeklies, “Historia do Rzeczy” monthly, internet TV station Inwestorzy.tv, Wprost.pl and DoRzeczy.pl were the media partners of the event. Conference was organized by PMPG Polskie Media and the Casimir Pulaski Foundation.

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