The American Polish Advisory Council (APAC) was incorporated as a not-for-proﬁt organization in the District of Columbia on January 21, 2003. One of the most important early projects undertaken by APAC was the Polish American Platform, a consensus-based agenda of community issues, signed by over 300 Polish American organizations. The 2004 Platform was discussed with both Democratic and Republican representatives and received a formal response from both presidential candidates. The Platform had an impact on increased military support and increased interest involving bi-lateral research and development. Discussions of the Platform pointed to inequities in support for allied militaries [FMS/FMA] and in part contributed to the so-called Solidarity Fund in the second term of the Bush administration.
In 2012, the Polish American Platform was presented to the senior-ranking Polish-American campaign surrogates of both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns. Key planks of the Platform, especially relating to immigration reform, became central to subsequent conversationand meetings between APAC, the White House, the DNC’s Ethnic Coordinating Council and various Congressional offices.
In addition to the Platform, APAC has worked on building an easy access database, including a mailing list with about 20,000 email addresses, update-able lists of Polish American elected officials, Polish American media, political action committees and other useful community resources. APAC has organized several public forums, beginning with the organizational meeting at the Polish Museum in Chicago, and trade forums at Northeastern University in Boston and at the Connecticut State House. It has also issued several position letters involving Ukraine, Belarus, the Visa Waiver Program, and the missile defense shield.
In 2008, APAC lapsed into inactivity, largely because of the untimely passing of two of its leaders, Ambassador Nicholas Rey and Zbig Cymerman, but it was reconstituted in 2011 by its current president, LTG Edward L. Rowny (USA ret). Ambassador Rowny reorganized APAC, creating a new board of directors that included a new generation of young Polish Americans.
In May 2012, the organization opened an office in Washington, DC, to centralize its community organization and advocacy efforts.In September 2012, APAC hosted the ﬁrst annual Polish American Conference, which brought over 200 Polish-American community leaders from across the nation to Washington, DC, for a series of meetings with top political strategists from across the political spectrum. In addition to the 2012 Platform’s presentation, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke on grassroots campaigning, and Bill Burton, head of the pro-Obama Super-PAC Priorities USA, gave a talk on his own Polish heritage and his work reaching ethnic communities through political advertising.
Since the beginning of 2013, the newly energized APAC has worked with senior officials in the Obama administration on immigration reform. APAC took a special interest in the issue of Poland’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program, meeting with Sens. Kirk and Mikulski to help the cause of their Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (2013), which would provide for Poland’s inclusion in the visa-free tourism program. APAC has worked with many political leaders to demonstrate bipartisan support for the legislation, most recently former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security. In its efforts to engage the entire Polish-American community in the democratic process, and encourage the community’s participation in public service, APAC launched Polish Americans in Politics, a nationwide series of workshops to encourage public service in communities with signiﬁcant Polish-American populations. APAC held the ﬁrst Midwest installment of the series at the University of Chicago International House. Later editions are planned in Connecticut and New York (February 2014).
Involve Polish Americans in the Political process; Increase the number, visibility and influence of Polish Americans in public affairs, and Improve communications among Polish Americans holding appointed and elective office or involved in public service campaigns, and public policy
The mission of APAC is defined as follows:
(1) To operate exclusively for the purpose of promoting the social welfare of citizens of the United States of America;
(2) To develop a stronger and clearer voice for Polish Americans in public affairs;
(3) To conduct nonpartisan analysis, study and research and to distribute/publish the results thereof, including a database of Polish Americans in prominent government, civic, social, commercial, artistic, leadership, or other positions;
(4) To conduct or support forums, lectures and public discussions on matters involving politics, economics, civil society, and other subjects beneficial to the communities served;
(5) To foster, support, promote, direct, and conduct research into ways to raise the national and international profile of Polish Americans;
(6) To educate Polish Americans on the American Federal, State, and local system of government, and to encourage Polish Americans to actively contribute to the democratic process government through voting, participation in public policy, running for public office, and other activities; and
(7) To engage in any lawful act or activity as may be necessary or appropriate to effect the foregoing objectives and purposes, except as specifically restricted therein.