Polish Ambassador HE Witold Sobkow Nominated for Sports and Interfaith Diplomacy

HE  Witold Sobków

HE Witold Sobków

London, UK – April 20, 2016 – His Excellency Witold Sobków, Ambassador for Poland to the Court of St James has been shortlisted from over 100 government nominations this year for the 4th Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Mr Sobków has been nominated for initiatives related to sports diplomacy and interfaith engagement.

The Embassy has been focusing its sports diplomacy on volleyball and football, where Polish teams have demonstrated drive and achieved much success across the UK. As part of the English Volleyball League, team IBB Polonia has topped the English Championships three times so far, recently winning the 2016 National Cup in both male and female divisions. The Polonia London Volleyball Club, established in 1973 and one of the most popular volleyball teams in England, is composed of men and women from various nationalities. The Embassy has been providing financial sponsorship and marketing support to propel its success, as well as actively backing the London Legacy Cup tournament - held in Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park's Copper Box in September 2015, where 8 top European teams played in the biggest invitational volleyball tournament in English history.

The Embassy is also very active in promoting and engaging young people in football. In 2015, alongside the Polish Football Federation, it hosted a group of thirty male and female young football talents of Polish descent who play in English clubs and overseas. Polish coaches and scouts were also in attendance. This was the first time such an event was held in England, and it culminated in a game played against Queens Park Rangers.

For many years the Ambassador has been involved in interfaith dialogue and hosted a myriad of events for Christians, Jews, and Muslims from Poland and the UK. The Ambassador, whilst being a Catholic, has taken Islamic studies at university to gain a better understanding of the religion, and is working on interfaith projects to break stereotypes of Muslim and Jewish communities. He personally visits churches, community centres and synagogues to meet people of different faiths and spread the message of tolerance while fighting and xenophobia and stereotypes. As part of the process, the Embassy has hosted workshops for Jewish and Polish schools to facilitate creating deeper links and commemorate the Righteous Amongst the Nations through its unique educational project “Learning from the Righteous”.

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals in a position of power, who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others like them to follow suit. Grassroot Diplomat winners go beyond their job descriptions and those shortlisted for the award should be proud to be recognised this far.”

Other areas of Embassy’s social diplomacy are also focused on working at the grassroots, by supporting the homeless and people in need through financially assisting various NGOs including Barka, St Mungo’s, Broadway Project, Thames Reach, Olallo Project, Jersey Women’s Refuge, as well as working closely with the Polish organisations to help people battling with psychological or material problems or experiencing legal issues.

Join HE Witold Sobków and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Wednesday 20th April, 2016. For ticket information please visit: http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/book-tickets or call 07511 816689.

Further details about the awards can be found on: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/annual-awards


About Grassroot Diplomat

Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to build trust and strengthen relationships between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We focus on improving public diplomacy activities by engaging government officials on sustainable social campaigns and investment projects that offers a positive rate of return for their people.

Nina Maxwell
Grassroot Diplomat
Voice Message: +44 (0) 207 608 5532

Robert Zapalski
Polish Embassy
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 291 3520