This week, Poland honored three Americans – including friend Yale Richmond – for their years of public diplomacy work expanding the Fulbright program into Poland. The “state distinctions” were awarded on 8th February 2010 in Washington, DC, by the Head of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Władysław Stasiak. This was noted on the official blog of the President of the Republic of Poland.
Yale W. Richmond received the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Yale W. Richmond has been employed as a diplomat by the State Department for thirty years, working on issues connected with cultural and academic exchanges with other countries, including Poland. As a cultural attaché of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Poland, in 1959, he initiated an academic exchange programme which developed into the Polish Fulbright Programme. Thanks to his efforts and dedicated work, the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic consented to American lecturers visiting the country and Polish scholars going to America as part of the Fulbright Programme scholarship exchange. Later on in his life, Yale W. Richmond worked for the National Endowment for Democracy, personally contributing to the NED supporting the NSZZ Solidarity movement financially and materially, both during the period of martial law in Poland and afterwards.
Muriel Joffe and Scott R. Righetti both received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Muriel Joffe has been a member of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, an institution coordinating Fulbright programmes for PhD scholars from former Soviet countries, since 1988. She was the co-founder of the Fulbright office in Poland and contributed to its first successes. Her help in and close cooperation with others on the development of criteria for scholarship programmes of the Fulbright Commission are a model for many institutions offering scholarships, both domestically and abroad. Muriel Joffe still helps the Commission in preparing new scholarship programmes and initiating them.
Scott Righetti is an Academic Exchange Specialist employed by the State Department. He has been working with the Polish Fulbright Commission since 1992. In the period when the Fulbright Programme struggled with the greatest financial difficulties in its history, Scott Righetti persuaded the American Congress to reduce funding for it as little as possible. He has always been an active supporter of all initiatives of the Polish Fulbright Commission and his help in preparing new programmes of academic exchange was invaluable in strengthening and developing bilateral relations between Poland and the USA.