The American Institute of Polish Culture
Blanka A. Rosenstiel founded The American Institute of Polish Culture (AIPC) in 1972 as a non-profit, tax-exempt Florida Corporation. Our aim is twofold. First, to share with Americans the rich heritage of Poland which has contributed in so many ways to the history of the U.S., and second, to promote the scientific, scholarly, and artistic contributions of Polish-Americans. For almost fifty years our programs have received support from our members and friends, and the enthusiastic participation of other ethnic groups in the community which has helped to strengthen our leading role in the cultural life of Polonia. We remain strongly committed to educating our fellow citizens about Poland and her people whenever and wherever we can.
Ongoing programs include:
The Harriet Irsay Scholarship was established in 1992 and every year it awards ten to fifteen scholarships to talented students. All majors and areas of study are considered and most applicants are of Polish descent. Over the years, AIPC has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to more than 300 worthy students. In 2020, the Lennox Family Award of Excellence was launched to award $1,500 to an exemplary student every year who is matriculating in the field of education.
In 1998, the Institute spearheaded the establishment of the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at the University of Virginia for research, education, and sponsorship of visiting scholars. In 2008, the Chair was moved to the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. where lectures and conferences continue to be presented on a regular basis. AIPC also established the lecture series at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Virginia in 2005.
AIPC has sponsored hundreds of lectures at educational facilities throughout the years. As a result of four and half decades of collaboration with Florida International University (FIU), the Lady Blanka Rosenstiel Lecture Series on Poland was officially established in 2010. Topics focus on current affairs such as globalization, art, music, politics and economics. In addition, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) in Washington, D.C. has benefitted from scholarship funding from the Institute since 1999. Every summer, TFAS sends scholarship recipients to a 3-month international program in Prague, Czech Republic that explores dozens of world issues led by renowned historians, leaders, and scientists.
The first International Polonaise Ball was held in Miami 49 years ago and serves as the main fundraiser for the Institute. Every year a different theme explores the cultural ties between Poland and other countries, such as Spain, India, Greece, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Argentina, Brazil, and China. Guests attend from all over the world. The Institute’s Gold Medal has been awarded to many worthy recipients during the Ball, including Nobel Laureates President Lech Walesa and Dr. Andrew Schally; Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki; James Michener, author; Senator Barbara Mikulski; David Ensor, war correspondent and journalist; Professor Norman Davies, historian; Alexander Wolszczan, astrophysicist; His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida; Dr. Scott Parazynski, astronaut; sculptor Jerzy Kedzior; and many more.
In 1978, Lady Blanka Rosenstiel established an International Film Festival in Miami and presided over it for two years. By 1980, the name was changed to For the Love of Film Festival and AIPC presented Polish films and brought contemporary Polish film-makers and stars to Miami. Many of the films won major awards and some were screened for the first time in the U.S. The Institute continues to collaborate with the Miami Film Festival and the Polish Film Festival Miami in showcasing thought-provoking works from Poland.
AIPC has long been a champion of fine and modern Polish and Polish-American art and has sponsored and organized several solo and group shows. We also designed a visual history exhibit, Perspektywa Polska, which had its inauguration at Duke University, NC and in 1974 traveled nationwide to museums and universities for over 25 years. It was donated to the Orchard Lake Schools, MI.
Lady Blanka oversaw the publication and translation of 20 books about Polish culture and history, including the five volume history of Poland, Saga of a Nation written by Pawel Jasienica and translated by Alexander Jordan, and the rare Accomplished Senator by Wawrzyniec Grzymala Goslicki (1530-1607). Our annual magazine, Good News, is distributed to members and friends, and the Institute houses a library with books in both Polish and English.