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Catholic University of Lublin sets up the John Paul II Research Centre for Polish Culture in Brazil

by Dignity News
The Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), together with the Brazilian Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), has established the John Paul II Research Centre on Polish Culture in Porto Alegre. The Centre’s tasks are to promote and teach the Polish language, disseminate Polish history, and culture in Brazil, and safeguard the Polish cultural heritage present in many places in the country.

The addressees of the new centre’s activities are people wishing to make an effort to learn the Polish language, history and culture, also in the context of both countries. They are students at the University of Porto Alegre, young people from the Polish community, as well as other students and young people in Brazil who have any links with Poland.

The Centre has already carried out a project entitled “Polish History for the Brazilian Polish Community”, which is a synthesis of Polish history with particular emphasis on Polish culture. It presents the history of Poland from the perspective of Brazilian Polish diaspora.

In mid-March, the National Academic Exchange Agency’s project ‘Promotion of the Polish language and culture in Brazil’ launched classes for PUCRS students. The four-month course includes Polish language classes and three series of academic lectures: linguistics, history, and sociology. Also on display at the Brazilian university is the exhibition ‘John Paul II – Poland’s Gift to the World’.

Porto Alegre is a large centre of the Polish diaspora, which has lost native knowledge of the language with successive generations. Polish as an inherited language is spoken by very few people and at very different levels. Young people often do not speak Polish, although many of them express a desire to learn the language and vividly declare a sense of Polish national identity.

“These ties with our homeland are still alive and strong among the Brazilian Polish community, and they do not go hand in hand with the teaching offer they can receive in their city and region of Rio Grande do Sul”, says Professor Arkadiusz Stasiak, a historian at the Catholic University of Lublin and coordinator of the Centre.

Arkadiusz Słomczyński

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