Senator Anna Maria Anders
Secretary of State, and
Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister of the
Republic of Poland for International Dialogue

Poland has become a focus of Nevada’s global economic development efforts, and the attraction is mutual, said John Petkus, Las Vegas’ honorary consul for the Republic of Poland.
“After the past five years, Nevada, in certain circles in Poland, is the ‘go-to’ U.S. state,” Petkus said.

The Forum was pleased to welcome Senator Anna Maria Anders, who serves as both Secretary of State and  as a representative of the Prime Minister of Poland for international affairs.  Senator Anders provided insightful commentary from her role as a Senator in Poland, and as a citizen of both the United States as well as Poland.  Senator Anders is the daughter of famed WWII hero, General Wladyslaw Anders, and shared some of her past, and that of her father, with the group.  General Anders, in the prelude to WWII, and during the conflict, led Polish resistance forces who fought bravely against, first, the Nazis, and later the Soviet Communists.

Senator Anders stressed that cooperation within NATO is vital due to the insecurity of the region.  Russia is viewed as a threat, and as fueling tensions in the region.   At the present, the government in Poland believes that Moscow has made very aggressive moves in the region, first against the Baltic NATO-member nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and by bringing nuclear capable missiles into the Russian-owned Kalingrad area.  Relations between Poland and Russia have deteriorated and the current (right-leaning) government in Warsaw views the actions of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, with deep suspicion.

The refugee problem in Europe is also of grave concern.  Poland and Germany have differences regarding the refugee issue.   Warsaw is not as receptive to welcoming refugees from the Middle Eastern conflict and believes that Germany under Chancellor Merkel has been too liberal in the refugees they have allowed in.

Poland is also focused on repatriation of Polish refugees displaced during the communist era that ended 27 years ago.

On terrorism, Senator Anders stressed that countries must provide good prospects for young people to counter the allure of terrorist groups.  She believes that NATO is the best tool for countering terrorism, as well as providing stability in the region.  Poland considers itself a staunch ally in the fight against terrorism, and is working closely with the United States and the European Union to combat terrorism.

Poland supports President Trump’s call to have all NATO countries carry their share of the defense burden, and is one of only five countries in the alliance meeting the goal of 2% of GNP allocated to defense.

The economy of Poland is doing relatively well.  In fact,  increasing numbers of Polish citizens are returning to their country as economic conditions improve.  American companies are investing in Poland and many Polish firms are looking to invest in the United States, and particularly in Nevada.  In 2015, Poland set up a trade office at the University of Nevada, Reno’s, Innovation Center, and Governor Sandoval signed an agreement to enhance access to Nevada and US markets for Polish companies. Polish investors are producing goods for the US market and stimulating trade and innovation.  Poland’s education system is ranked 10th in the world and the talent in emerging technologies continues to grow.

In addition to Senator Anders, Beata Drzazga, the Nevada Business Ambassador from Poland was also in attendance.  Ms. Drzaga is a Polish business owner specializing in healthcare with over 3,000 employees in Poland.  State officials Kristopher Sanchez, the Director of International Trade, Jarad Van Wagoner, the Deputy Director, International Division, and John Petkus, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland, were also in attendance.   The Polish delegation was in Northern Nevada furthering the economic development partnership that has been formed between Poland and Nevada.