The Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions database

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05.04.2017

The Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions database the organisational and institutional aspects of the presence and activities of the Polish diaspora and Poles abroad, particularly including social, cultural and religious activities. It is a systematised, practical and easily accessible tool offering comprehensive and structured data. At present, it is mainly used to quickly find an entity or a given group of entities on the basis of specific geographical, chronological and item characteristics. It is worth mentioning, however, that the list cannot be treated as an up-to-date and comprehensive register of Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions. The dynamic nature and the scope of the surveyed material make it impossible to yield the results fully reflecting the  number of Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions actually functioning at a given moment or period.

The data base compiled within the framework of a regular survey Poles and Polish Community Abroad,   was originally published in 2014. Due to the extensive  survey scope and methodological limitations determining a long data preparation period, it was decided that the initial version of the repository, i.e. intended to be gradually updated with more data and thus more useful to the users,  will be disseminated. The presented data file was prepared according to these guidelines and extended – as compared to the original version – with updated and more complete information on the previously surveyed organisations and institutions; moreover, further entities were added to the repository, (including the newly founded units), its objective range was also expanded.

There are plans to update the database annually, i.e. to replace the repository with a new, updated version at least once a year.

In respect to the publication of data the following classification and ordinal rules were applied:

– the list includes Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions of social, cultural or religious nature, founded and operating outside Poland;

– the list contains Polish organisations and institutions with management based in Poland  providing that they engage in activities abroad on a permanent basis and have their seat there (for instance the School Consultation Centres at Polish embassies, Polish pastoral centres abroad and Polish religious orders, especially those catering for the pastoral needs of Poles and Polish communities);

– the list includes Polish organisations and institutions founded in Poland before 1 September 1939 which later moved their activities abroad but are important for the social, cultural and religious life of the Polish diaspora and Polish national heritage in general (e.g. the Association of the Guards of the Polish Heroes Graves in Lviv, the Lychakiv Cemetery, the Rasos Cemetery, etc.);

– the list also includes other various forms of presence and activities undertaken by the Polish diaspora, organised within the structures of native institutions of their countries of residence (e.g. the Polish Collection at the Hoover Institute in Palo Alto, Adam Mickiewicz Museum – a branch of the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul, the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris);

– due to the scale and nearly a 200-year history of Polish emigration, the area of interest was expanded to a certain degree by including organisations and institutions that officially and actually terminated their activity but are still important and their legacies continue to greatly influence the material and spiritual culture of the Polish diaspora and Polish national heritage (e.g. the Polish History Institute in Sweden, the Polish Ex-Combatants’ Association in Great Britain, or the monthly magazine Culture of the Polish Literary Institute in Maison-Laffitte);

– the list does not include Polish diplomatic posts (embassies, consular posts and other such posts) and Polish Institutes, which are listed on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website;

– the list does not include periodical or one-off events – patriotic or religious ceremonies, special events, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, sports competitions, etc. organised by Poles or Polish communities regardless of their status, nature, history or number of participants. Such events are a manifestation of the Polish diaspora activities, and constitute an important element of its cultural identity, they belong to the area of activity of the entities covered by the Poles and Polish Community Abroad survey. From this perspective, the mentioned events could serve as a description of their activities rather than separate category for the survey.

– if an organisation or institution terminates its activity, it does not lead to its removal from the database; information on the termination of an entity’s activity  is a crucial element of the description of the surveyed entity and it is always included during updates.

The vast survey scope, difficult to depict in a synthetic and standardised way, and the adopted method of the secondary data analysis are the main determinants of the order and schedule of the actions planned and undertaken within the framework of the survey on activities. The presented list, even as a subsequent, extended and updated version of the initial one, still does not have the intended informative value. The least represented groups in the survey (in comparison to the total number) and thus necessitating greater supplementation of data, are the Polish language media (mainly the Internet media) and Polish pastoral centres abroad.

The objective range of the repository was expanded in comparison to its original version (variables - 6, 8, 9 and 12) and currently includes:

1. Organisation/institution name in Polish (in some cases supplemented or left in the original wording).

2. Commencement of activities year, by which we understand the foundation or registration date of the organisation/institution (branch or other affiliated entity) in a foreign country.

3. Organisation/institution type – a general classification for the repository purposes facilitating the search, filtering and grouping of the surveyed units (the classification should never be treated as the one giving an exact description of the scope and type of activities carried out by the surveyed entity); the classification includes seven ordering categories, pertaining to the type and field of activity of an entity (categorising scheme is presented in the document sheet).

4. Organisation/institution type details – a similar classification, created for the same purposes but containing more details than the general classification; the two classifications together form a fixed, hierarchical structure, including 33 categories of entities (categorising scheme is presented in the document sheet).

5. Organisation’s/institution’s seat: country – the name of the country in which the entity carries out the activities and/or has its headquarters, office or other relatively fixed work space/ contact address (i.e. its management meeting place or the meeting place of affiliated persons/organisations, sometimes, especially in   case of smaller entities falling under the category of association, it is also the place of residence of the organisation leader). In cases where geographical location could not be unambiguously stated or was changeable, a comment was made in the additional information section. Names of the countries (in Polish) were given according to the guidelines of the Commission on Standardisation of Geographical Names Outside of  the Republic of Poland.

6. Organisation/institution seat: country administrative division unit  the name of the main administrative division unit in which the seat of the organisation/institution is located; due to vast terminological and structural differences, it was decided to include (excluding Germany and the UK) both the name and type of the unit, e.g. Province of Misiones, State of Illinois, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Île-de-France Region, Lazio Region, etc.

7. Organisation/institution seat: place – the name of the city (town) in which the entity carries out the activities and/or has its headquarters, office or other relatively fixed work space/ contact address (i.e. its management meeting place or the meeting place of affiliated persons/organisations, sometimes, especially in case of smaller entities falling under the category of association, it is also the place of residence of the organisation leader); in  case of insufficient information or lack of credible information, the field was left empty.

8. Reference year – available information on the basis of which the data on the surveyed unit is updated might not always reflect the current state, i.e. at the moment of data verification, therefore, a reference year  was provided for each entity, understood as  the period from which information comprising the base of the last verification come from (it may be, for example, a year of the last update of the website of the surveyed unit).

9. Activity status – this variable allows the selection (filtering) of the surveyed units depending on whether they conduct their activity (symbol 1 – organisation/ institution runs its activity, symbol 2 – organisation/ institution has terminated or suspended its activities); in  case of insufficient information or lack of credible information, and in the situation when the unit formally exists but it has not been active for a long period of time, the unit is marked with code 3 – no information on the activity of the organisation/ institution.

10. Related persons – a variable of a purely informative nature (in the current form, it is not expected to assume a filtering or sorting function); it includes names and surnames of the unit’s founders, members of management, directors, representatives, and in some cases the surnames of its eminent representatives (sometimes even when the individuals no longer perform their role or function, or died). In order to retain the list’s  functionality, the surnames were given without specifying the function, degree, military rank, etc. (with the exception of clergymen, including members of monastic orders).

11. Website of the organisation/institution – URL of the website run by the unit; if the unit does not have its own website, a URL of the website run by e.g. the federation/ superior organisation which the unit belongs to (if the information concerning the unit is provided). The online media are a special case (an information portal, a domain, a forum, a blog, Internet television, Internet radio, etc.), as they constitute a surveyed unit.

12. E-mail address of the organisation/institution – electronic mail address of the unit or a person holding the function of  a manager, director, or a representative; if the unit does not have an electronic mail address or it has not been possible to establish it, it is possible to provide the e-mail address of a federation/ superior/ managing organisation/ institution.

13. Supplementary information – a space provided for additional information, substantial for the identification of the unit, establishing its formal status, determining the nature of its activity, including former names of the unit, branches (local offices, subsidiaries, etc.), as well as organisation/ institutions operating under the unit’s auspices, superior organisations/ institutions, the fact of terminating the activity, etc.

The usability of the List of Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions mostly depends on the possibility to collect relatively current information, verifiable in at least two data sources. Hence, ensuring a wide spectrum of data sources, comparative analysis of the content and selection are the most important factors in determining the quality of the output. The, Being aware of the extensiveness and formal and substantive complexity of the surveyed area and limited accessibility to information, which in consequence increases the risk of mistakes, the authors of the work appeal to all the persons who have the knowledge in this respect, especially to authorities, and the members and employees of Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions with a kind request to complete the missing information and correct outdated or inaccurate information.

In order to facilitate the verification and completion of information included in the database, a short one-page form was made available: Polonia_inorg_form_01. The form may be used for correcting wrong information or completing the missing data.

All the information provided is of great help to the research authors, for which they are thankful and would like to express their gratitude!

The completed forms and all correspondence concerning the Polish organisations and institutions abroad and Polish diaspora organisations and institutions database can be sent to the following e-mail address: 

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