Speeches & Lectures

Remarks by Lady Blanka Rosenstiel at 2021 Commencement

The Institute of World Politics honored Lady Blanka Rosenstiel with a Doctorate of Laws Honoris Causa at its Commencement Ceremony for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on September 11, 2021. After an introduction by IWP Founder, President Emeritus, and Chancellor Dr. John Lenczowski, Lady Blanka delivered the following remarks. 

Dear Graduates, Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is true what former IWP President, and now Chancellor, Professor John Lenczowski told you. My father, who was involved with the Polish underground, was taken hostage and died in a German camp; my maternal aunt was arrested and dispatched to Auschwitz, where she perished.

The rest of my immediate family had plenty of near misses; God spared us.

My mother, my two brothers, and I survived the Warsaw Rising of 1944. Afterwards, the Germans took us to a slave labor camp in the Reich.

I lost my old country, Poland, first to the Nazis and then, after 1945, to the Communists.

All that is true, and then some.

But I’m not here to depress you. My message to you is: Never Surrender! No matter what.

Instead, fight the Good Fight always.

Thus, I am here bearing Good News.

And the Good News is that you are graduating from America’s prime institution of higher learning: The Institute of World Politics. You should be proud of yourselves, of your achievement, and of your school.

I love this school. I completely identify with IWP’s mission to educate young leaders who will be anchored firmly in Western moral tradition; who will defend decent civilization; who will speak truth to power; and who, finally, will serve a cause greater than any single one of us.

To prepare you for your mission, IWP fosters hard work and dedication. Your school teaches you not what to think but how to think. This makes it unique in contemporary America which has changed enormously from the country of a handshake I first arrived in and fell in love with.

I came to the United States from western Europe in 1956. I made my life here.

Right away I knew that I could achieve anything I wanted if I only invested my heart in it. Only in America!

I excelled in arts, crafts, music, entertainment, and fashion design, skills I acquired back on the Old Continent. But I also learned business; I figured out how to put deals together. That would serve me well throughout my life.

I also became involved in a number of pro bono and charitable causes. Your success obligates you to share with others; and to lead. The more I am blessed, the more I have a duty to share with others. And to inspire others.

I have been fortunate to seed many an initiative, including the American Institute of Polish Culture, where I still serve as president; and the Chopin Foundation, which I continue to supervise after decades of operation.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I have also supported IWP for about 30 years now.

I was thrilled that I was able to bring the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies to The Institute of World Politics. IWP competed against a dozen or so universities for the Chair. It won the competition.

IWP stands apart from other institutions of higher learning in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

IWP has not succumbed to wokeness; it has not betrayed its mission. Thus, you are a fitting home for a Chair that studies and propagates a knowledge about the Polish nation that remains true no matter what.

Throughout history, Poland struggled; it was overrun and defeated plenty of times. But Poland never surrendered.

You will be challenged in your life to stand up for America and for what you believe in. Remember about Poland: Never Surrender!

And the Good News is that I am absolutely positive that your family home and your graduate school here in the nation’s capital have both prepared you for the Good Fight so that you may Never Surrender.

Go forth and make your families, your school, and me proud.

God bless you.

Read more about IWP Commencement

Read more about the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies