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Head of Cambridge Polish Studies: we want to raise the level of knowledge about Poland

28.07.2017 Universities

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Stanley Bill, Lecturer in Polish Studies at the University of Cambridge, said in an interview with PAP that the development of the program would help raise the level of knowledge about Poland in the UK.

Last Friday, Rectors of the University of Warsaw and the University of Cambridge signed a PLN 15 million contract to finance the development of Polish Studies at the University of Cambridge.


Head of the program will be Dr. Stanley Bill, Australian specialising in 20th-century Polish literature, who headed the pilot phase of the project.


Dr. Bill, who prepared the first translation of Czesław Miłosz's unfinished novel "The Mountains of Parnassus" into English last year, previously worked at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.


As he explained in the interview with PAP, the PLN 15 million will be used as a fund that "will ensure that Polish Studies will become a permanent program at Cambridge".


"This ensures a permanent position of Lecturer in Polish Studies and a teacher of Polish language, as well as funds for events within the framework of the public education program" - he noted.


The lecturer emphasised that the program of Polish Studies is addressed primarily to British students who can learn about the history of Polish culture and have Polish language classes.


"We treat language as the basis, it is impossible to understand Poland or Polish history without knowledge of the language, it is the foundation" - emphasised Dr. Bill.


During the three years of its existence, approximately 150 students from the University of Cambridge, considered one of the best universities in the world, participated in the pilot program.


"The vast majority of them were not Polish, out of about 150 students about 10 had Polish roots or ties. For that reason, it is all to them, because they know little about Poland. But they are interested in the country that is of certain importance in Europe today, and many of them know Polish people in the UK" - explained Stanley Bill.


However, as he admitted, "the level of knowledge about Poland in the UK is unfortunately still low." "We want to change it" - he assured.


Dr. Bill noted that for this purpose, the program also included research projects and a series of events for the wider public, devoted to Polish issues: culture, politics and history.


In recent years, Cambridge Polish Studies hosted conferences devoted to Polish political thought and Polish-Ukrainian relations as well as Polish community in the UK.


Further development of Cambridge Polish Studies will be financed by a special grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and carried out in cooperation with the University of Warsaw.


The existence of the program so far has been possible with the support of the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Cambridge, the Foundation for Polish Science, the Mateusz B. Grabowski Foundation and the Zdanowicz Foundation.


From London, Jakub Krupa


PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland


jakr/ mni/ kap/


tr. RL

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