State Dinner Hosted by His Excellency Bronislaw Komorowski, President of the Republic of Poland, and Mrs. Anna Komorowska
Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, October 23, 2014
My wife, Sharon, and I, along with the entire Canadian delegation, are grateful to have been welcomed so warmly here in Poland. We have already had discussions with many Polish citizens who have spoken of the wealth of progress and potential there is in the relationship between Poland and Canada.
There are so many opportunities for us to build on our already-strong shared history. Let me briefly mention some of the anniversaries that Poland is marking this year and their Canadian connections:
Canada is proud to be the first country to have ratified Poland’s entrance into NATO 15 years ago.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the battles of Monte Cassino and Normandy, during which Canadian and Polish soldiers fought side by side.
And 2014 also marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, during which many Poles made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for freedom and Canadian pilots, too, lost their lives flying in supplies.
Of course, in recent times, our co-operation on security has been stronger than ever. We will also be taking the opportunity to meet with some of our Canadian soldiers currently deployed in Poland as part of the NATO Reassurance Measures.
These examples are only a few of the ways we have worked together throughout our long and storied history.
Poland itself is a country with a long and rich history. It is no wonder that it has shown itself to be resilient and adaptable in the face of a changing world.
As one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, Poland has much to offer the world. Canada, too, has much to offer, in terms of trade, certainly, but also in terms of education, innovation and knowledge exchange.
This relationship was once again strengthened last month through the signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. This agreement marks the beginning of a new, dynamic chapter in relations between Canada and the EU, and between Canada and Poland.
Of course, Poland and Canada are already collaborating in so many areas, thanks in no small part to our strong people-to-people ties. One million Canadians are of Polish descent, and contribute to every facet of our society.
And our face-to-face interactions do not end there. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with former prime minister Donald Tusk. During that meeting, we expressed our mutual desire to deepen the ties that bind our countries, in a manner that would benefit both our peoples.
I believe that this can be done through what I like to call the diplomacy of knowledge, which I define as the willingness and ability to work across borders and disciplines, from exchanging new ideas and techniques to forming innovative partnerships.
In this vein, I am also pleased that there are seven Canadian studies programs at Polish universities.
It is plain to see that Canada has many friends, not only in this room, but all across this country. I look forward to meeting as many of them as I can while in Poland, to discovering how we are collaborating and to discussing what more we can do together.
I hope to learn more about Poland’s evolution and how it is strengthening its innovation ecosystem to promote further growth and trade. Overall, I hope this trip will allow me to uncover our potential for even more sharing of knowledge.
I look forward to continuing our partnership and building on our long-standing ties.
Once again, thank you for offering us the chance to explore your country.
I would now like to raise my glass to Poland and Canada’s continued friendship.