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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“No human community can exist without culture.”

This is the wisdom shared by Vaclav Havel.

Vaclav, a former playwright and elected first president of the Czech Republic, shared this bit of insight as part of the Wisdom project.

Wisdom is the work of 34 year old New York based photographer Andrew Zuckerman who completed the project in 2008.

Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts a generation can give to the next is wisdom gained from experience, the project consists of a collection of 50 photographs/interviews that capture the wisdom of legendary leaders and visionaries, over the age of sixty-five, from the worlds of politics, science, sports and the arts.

Wisdom exists in the form of a book of portraits, a film and a travelling exhibition.

The latter (the exhibition’s Canadian premiere) is on display at Toronto’s elegant Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) until August 5th, 2011.

Each copy of the book comes with a download code for a 60-minute film comprised of interviews from the project.

Among the global personalities featured are people such as Actor/Director (and all around Dirty Harry) Clint Eastwood, Diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, first woman to become United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Actor Robert Redford.

There are also two notable characters as far as Poland and Canada are concerned. The first is Zbigniew Brzezinski, Warsaw born, McGill University educated, former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

The second, is world renowned architect Frank Gehry who was born in Toronto and hails from Polish Jewish ancestry.

Wisdom is an inspiring and rewarding exhibition. If you’re in need of a gust of in your sails make sure to check it out. Best of all, it’s free!

And if you’re looking to combine the show with a nice dinner – we recommend either Ki  (Modern Japanese) or the eclectic Marché which are just steps away.

Enjoy your dose of wisdom!

But before you dig in, check out this trailer for the film…

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On July 1, Poland will assume the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.  

This is a VERY big deal for Poland which has come a long way since the gloomy days of life behind the iron curtain. It’s also a great testament to the ambitious nature of the Polish people.

To commemorate the occasion the country commissioned celebrated filmmaker Tomasz Bagiński and the Platige Image company to create a short animated film titled Europe in Dance.

The film which took nine months to complete is based on a waltz metaphor and the transformations to which Poland is inviting Europe. You can view the film here.

But perhaps a more vivid showcase of Poland’s aspirations exist in a video which was shot last week.

On June 21st, the residents of Poznan, released 8,000 Chinese lanterns into the sky to mark Midsummer Night. The event was accompanied by the soundtrack Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. The effort set a national record and organizers are already planning to beat the World Guinness Record next year.

Poland’s future seems to be a bright one. And a sky filled with flickering lanterns seems like the perfect metaphor.

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Ontario Minister of Revenue Sophia Aggelonitis and Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller with members of YouNxt and the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce.

Recently YouNxt along with the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Garden Reception in the beautiful garden of the Polish Consulate in Toronto. The location overlooks the city skyline from across Lake Ontario and is really one of the most magnificent Consular spots in the country. If you’ve never visited the Consulate, we highly recommend it.

Toronto skyline as seen from the garden of the Polish Consulate

With Chopin’s music providing the soundtrack nearly one hundred business leaders, entrepreneurs and young professionals mixed and mingled to make some fruitful connections.

We were also very fortunate to be joined by some very distinguished guests and speakers including Ontario Minister of Revenue, the Honourable Sophia Aggelonitis, Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller, Senior Trade Commissioner of the Republic of Poland Wlodzimierz Leszczynski, the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Toronto Christian Frayssignes and “Canada’s Sales Coach” Tom Stoyan.

On hand was also Vice-Consul Wojciech Dziegiel to pass along greetings from our host the Consul General Marek Ciesielczuk.

Minister Sophia Aggelonitis

Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller

Vice-Consul Wojciech Dziegiel

"Canada's Sales Coach" Tom Stoyan

Director of YouNxt Filip Terlecki

The aim of the Garden Reception is to provide business leaders and young professionals with the opportunity to meet and hear from Government Officials and to network with leaders and entrepreneurs from various industries. The event always attracts a diverse professional crowd including those breaking ground in social media, business and arts & culture.

Many thanks to Peter Calak from the Gravity Bureau for snapping the great photos. And, most importantly, thanks to you for delighting us with your presence.

The Gravity Bureau Inc. crew

Greetings from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

Greeting from Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak

If you didn’t have an opportunity to attend but would like to next year, please drop us an email at younxt@gmail.com in order to find out how you can be part of the event.

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The official greeting ceremony of the President of the U.S. at Poland's Presidential Palace.

As noted recently in the New York Times, the United States might not have the same pizazz in the eyes of young Poles as compared to that of their parents, but when the “Leader of the Free World” pays you a visit you roll out the red carpet.

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama made a 24-hour visit to Poland as part of the final phase of his European tour.

He visited four countries over six days with his flying fortress, Air Force One, touching down in Warsaw on Friday evening.

He met with Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He discussed security and energy issues, met with leaders of Polish democracy, and, along with Poland’s President, co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central and European states.

Obama called Poland a model for the world and praised the country for it’s peaceful and succesful transition to democracy after the fall of Communism in 1989.

He also confessed to a personal Polish link.

“If you come from Chicago and you haven’t become a little bit Polish, something’s wrong with you,” he joked.

President Obama greets young leaders at The Presidential Palace

President Barack Obama pays his respects while visiting the memorial to the victims of the Smolensk plane crash at Field Cathedral of the Polish Military in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011

President Obama is greeted by Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski at the Presidential Palace.

President Barack Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski review troops during the arrival ceremony in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Pres. Obama meets with Polish politicians, activists & Solidarity leaders to learn about Poland's experiences in a peaceful democratic transition.

Presidents Obama & Komorowski co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central & Eastern European States.


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By Izabela Stabinska

Chopin, accompanied by a companion, arrives at a modern-day prison to perform a concert. This is how the story begins.

A new comic book about Chopin has been produced by Kultura Gniewu (a comic book publisher) for the Polish Embassy in Berlin with support from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Year of Chopin celebrations that officially ended in February.

Chopin: New Romantic  is a 148-page graphic novel which consists of eight stories created by a collaboration of eleven Polish and German artists who wrote variations on Chopin’s life. Some of these stories focus exclusively on Chopin while others use him as a gateway to showcase Poland’s pop culture.

Issued in both Polish and German, this innovative idea of setting romantic and mellow Chopin in contemporary pop-culture was supposed to promote the famous Polish composer among young Germans. However, turmoil erupted when it was discovered that the supposedly innocent book for teenagers included some nasty vulgarities

The author of the controversial segment, Krzysztof Ostrowski, explained that this particular story takes place in prison, hence the inappropriate language, but MSZ (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) ordered all copies of the book to be destroyed.

In protest, Kultura Gniewu and comic book enthusiasts across Europe quickly created a Facebook page titled: “Ochronić nakład “Chopin New Romantic” (Protect the edition of Chopin: New Romantic). Thus far it has over 2,500 fans. And within days, copies of the infamous comic book showed up on Allegro, the Polish eBay.

The latest word is that MSZ decided it will not shred the book; however, the Polish emblem will be removed and the book will be distributed only to Polish and German cultural institutions and not public schools.

Do you agree with their decision?

I’m a book fanatic myself and the idea of burning 2,000 books truly gives me shivers.

Izabela Stabinska

Izabela is Toronto based fashion designer who studied fashion in California. After receiving the Best Graduation Collection award, she traveled all over Europe where she collaborated on art projects, fashion shows and photo shoots. In Toronto, she is freelancing in fashion design and production. Currently, she is working with a local enterpreneur on a specialized sportswear line and is developing her first Canadian collection.

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Do you remember when this…

Massive strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard - birthplace of the Solidarity movement

…led to this…

December 13, 1981 – the Polish government attempts to crush political opposition by declaring Martial Law (dubbed “Stan Wojenny” – “State of War")

…and finally culminated in this…

1989 - The fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of freedom throughout Europe.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Egypt.

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If you’re on top of your world news than you surely know all about WikiLeaks. If you’re busy with the rat race of ordinary life and aren’t really tapped in then let us give you a bit of a primer.

It’s fairly simple.

And in the WikiLeaks tradition here it is straight from the source:

WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists. We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices.

WikiLeaks has been called an information clearinghouse and it has made a lot of powerful people angry.

The editor-in-chief and spokesperson for WikiLeaks is Australian Julian Assange.

Mr. Assange is an award-winning journalist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. Since then the site has been involved in leaking secret materials relating to extrajudicial killings in Kenya, toxic waste dumping in Africa, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay procedures, and illegal banking practices.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published classified information about the United States activities in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Subsequently, more than 251,000 American diplomatic cables have been published including secret and classified documents from the U.S Embassy in Warsaw relating to Poland’s Foreign Policy.

Links to classified American diplomatic documents relating to Poland’s Foreign Policy

Mr. Assange has his supporters and critics.

He has been described as a “high-tech terrorist” by some and a hero by others.

While ‘Veterans for Peace’ president Mike Ferner has said that Wikileaks and its soldiers should get a medal, a number of others, including Tom Flanagan, a University of Calgary professor and former Stephen Harper adviser, have publicly called for his assassination

The Washington Times columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner suggests Julian Assange should be assasinated.

On December 7th, Mr. Assange turned himself in for arrest with the London Metropolitan Police for alleged sexual offenses. He has called the accusations “politically motivated.”

Since his arrest supporters of WikiLeaks have launched hacker attacks against its “enemies”; notably MasterCard which ended its relationship with the organization this week.

Just today Mr. Assange responded with an article in The Australian, here’s an excerpt:

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain’s The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be “taken out” by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden”, a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a “transnational threat” and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister’s office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And so the story continues…

Hopefully, this gives you an insight into what the WikiLeaks madness is all about. But, as they say, there’s nothing better than hearing it from the hourses mouth so, with that, check out this video…

Here Mr. Assange speaks to TED about why the world needs WikiLeaks:

So, what do you think? Terrorist or Revolutionary?

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