28 May 2011

‘What you do is very important. Keep it up!’ – said Barack Obama to a representative of the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Barack Obama with Polish group including Rafal Pankowski

On 28 May 2011, the US President met with the leaders of Polish democracy: the President, the Speakers of both parliamentary chambers, the Foreign Minister, leaders of political parties, activists of the pre-1989 democratic opposition as well as several civil society figures. A representative of the anti-racist 'NEVER AGAIN' Association was also invited to the special meeting.

Once the official part of the meeting ended, Barack Obama approached the group of civic leaders and greeted them individually. Dr Rafal Pankowski, a co-founder of the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association and coordinator of its East Europe Monitoring Centre was one of them. When the US President learned a member of a Polish anti-racist organization was present, he reacted warmly, shook his hand and said ‘What you do is very important. Keep it up!’

‘I am honoured and moved. It was a very special experience' - said Rafal Pankowski after the meeting at the Presidential Palace.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. Since 2009, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has coordinated the FARE East European Development Project supported by UEFA in the lead up to EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has set up the East Europe Monitoring Centre documenting racism and xenophobia across the region.

A video glimpse of the meeting: