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Jolanta Kwaśniewska

Jolanta Kwaśniewska ([jɔˈlanta kfaɕˈɲɛfska], born Jolanta Konty [jɔˈlanta ˈkɔntɨ], June 3, 1955 in Gdańsk) is a Polish lawyer and charity activist and former First Lady of Poland, wife of the former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and presenter of TVN Style.

Born to the family of Anna and Julian Konty, Jolanta Kwaśniewska grew up in Gdańsk where she also graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Gdańsk.

She met Aleksander Kwaśniewski during her university studies and married him in 1979. Two years later their daughter Aleksandra was born.

She started working in 1984 and in 1991 established her own real estate agency which she kept running until her husband became the President of the Republic of Poland.

She was never active in politics. At the university she participated in student cultural movement. Successful in her own business, she also devoted her time and energy to numerous charity campaigns, many of which she initiated herself.

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Charity

As First Lady she promoted voluntary activities and encouraged others to help the disabled, the ill and the poor. She focused specifically on children and tried to enrich their lives and enlarge their possibilities, and with this aim in mind in 1997 she established the foundation "Communication Without Barriers".

In the Foundation, Kwaśniewska initiated a program called "Let's Open the World for Children," which makes it possible for many Polish orphans and disabled children to visit different countries in Europe and on other continents.

Together with her husband, she established the Young Talent Help Fund, whose objective is to provide support and assistance to financially underprivileged pupils and students.

She is also a member of Comité des Sages, established by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, aimed at the development of a global plan to eliminate illicit production, trafficking and consumption of drugs.

She has received many awards: the Holy Brother Albert - Adam Chmielowski main prize - for achievements in charity activities, in particular for care for the disabled children (1997), Order of the Smile - for providing aid to children (1998) as well as the titles Women of the Year and Warsaw's Lady of the Year - for volunteer activities (1998).

In 1999 Kwaśniewska received the Doctor Henryk Jordan medal for assistance to children and their families, the medal "For Your Children and Ours" granted by the American Centre of Polish Culture in Washington and the Gold "Medal of Merit for the Mining Industry" for the aid provided to orphaned mining families.

In the year 2000 Kwaśniewska was granted the Beauty of the Soul Award by the readers of Beauty Magazine as well as The Golden Heart Award by the Polish Red Cross in recognition of her charity campaigns. She also received the Rose of Providence for special services to the House of the terminally ill, the Big Golden Heart awarded by the St. Stanisław Kostka Foundation of the Help for Handicapped Children and Young People, the Children's Friend Award granted by a Warsaw Children's Hospital Hematology Ward as well as the Hippocrates Award for her contribution to the development of family health care.

The Magazine Home & Market recognized Jolanta Kwaśniewska as its "Most Influential Woman of 2001." In the same year she was awarded an Amber Heart by the Polish Army Commander-in-Chief in recognition of her charity activities and also The International Medal of the Lions Club for exceptional achievements in the work for the Polish society.

In May 2002 the "Optimus Hominum" Annual Award Committee for Humanitarian Activities awarded Kwaśniewska a special prize for all her charity campaigns. In recognition of her services to society, culture and public life, the Association "Kuźnica" granted her with the Honorary Award "Kowadło". In July 2002 she received the award For The Future of Children of Europe given every other year by the Hungarian Future of Europe Association in recognition of activities aimed to promoting tolerance and peace among young people from all over the world. In 2002 Kwaśniewska was also honoured with the "Super Wiktor 2001," the award granted by the Television Academy, for best television personality. The readers of the magazine Pani recognized Jolanta and Aleksander Kwaśniewski as "Couple of the Year 2001" and granted them a special prize, the "Silver Apple".

In September of 2009 Western University of Azerbaijan awarded Jolanta Kwasniewska with Honorary Doctorate and was guest of Honore of Azerbaijan State Economic University.

Controversies

In 2005 she also testified before a Parliamentary Investigation Committee about her ties to PKN Orlen. Kwasniewska never released the list of the donors to her Foundation. While opening the foundation and getting the first donations, she used her husband's political influence. She was also questioned by the committee about her relations with a Polish businessmen living in Chicago, Edward Mazur, who was accused of killing the chief of Polish police General Marek Papala. She was seen with him in a photo while visiting Chicago, but she denied the claim, saying that anyone could have approached and taken the picture of her.

Kwaśniewska campaigned in favor of approval of European Union Poland's membership and successful 2003 referendum on the issue. She was mooted as a possible presidential candidate to succeed her husband when his final term expired in 2005; opinion polls suggested she would have been a popular candidate. However, Kwaśniewska ruled out a run, saying she had no interest in public office.

Work

She currently works with TVN Style television as a presenter of the telecast Lekcja stylu.

Awards

Jolanta Kwaśniewska has been honoured with the following awards /decorations:

  • Poland: Bouncy Baby (Girl) of 1959, Sopot Tourist Council - joint third prize (1959)
  • Belgium: Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (1999)
  • Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (2001)
  • Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2002)
  • Estonia: Grand Cross with the Ribbon of Terra Mariana (2002)
  • Japan: Grand Ribbon of the Order of the Precious Crown (2002)
  • Malta: The Order of Merit of the Republic of Malta: Companion of Honour (2002)
  • Eritrea: Grand Order of the Purple Penguin with Oak Leaves and Swords (2005)







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