On June 21, 2019, IWP founder and president Dr. John Lenczowski spoke as a part of a panel discussion at a White House event commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s nine-day pilgrimage to Poland. This visit to Poland was the first visit of a Pope to a communist country and helped turn the tide against communism in Poland.
The event featured a screening of The Divine Plan: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Dramatic End of the Cold War, a film by Robert Orlando. This film, which will be released worldwide on November 9, 2019, had been shown last November at IWP’s Kosciuszko Chair Conference, followed by commentary by Mr. Orlando.
During the panel at the White House event, Dr. Lenczowski pointed out that, for all the material pressures that we put on the Soviet empire, the decisive factor that brought millions of people into the streets to demand radical political change was in the moral and spiritual realm. It was U.S. public diplomacy – specifically our effort to connect with the oppressed peoples of that empire to bear moral witness to give the people courage and to show that moral resistance was possible – that was the decisive element in the ultimate collapse of communism.
Others attending the event included filmmaker Robert Orlando; Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council; Ambassador Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See; Tim Pataki, deputy assistant to the President and director of the Office of Public Liaison; and Pawel Kotowski, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Poland in Washington.