The Jan Karski Educational Foundation is thrilled to announce that Wanda Urbanska, the Foundation’s former President (2012–2015), is joining our Advisory Board. Before founding the JKEF along with other Karski admirers and former students, she had led the successful Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign, which placed Karski’s name in the nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Karski was awarded this American highest civilian honor posthumously on May 29, 2012, by President Barack Obama.
Wanda Urbanska is a published author, journalist, and passionate advocate of the advancement of Polish history and culture in the United States. She is a graduate of Harvard University, the author or co-author of nine books, and has contributed to publications including The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and American Libraries magazine. She produced and hosted America’s first national TV series advocating sustainable living, Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska, which aired from 2004–2009 on PBS stations nationwide. Since 2019, she has worked for North Carolina State University as a Director of Development, most recently for the College of Engineering.
Ms. Urbanska was born in the U.S. but keeps close ties with the homeland of her father, Edmund S. Urbanski, who was a naturalized American and university professor in Washington, D.C. For her contributions to strengthening Polish American relations, she has been recognized with prestigious honors: the Amicus Poloniae award (2006) and the Knight’s Cross of the Order for Merit of the Republic of Poland (2012). The Polish American Congress, Illinois Division, bestowed its Journalism Award on her in 2012. She is also the recipient of the Skalny Civic Achievement Award (2013) awarded by the Polish American Historical Association for “Contributions to Furthering an Understanding of the Polish Experience in America.” She lives in Raleigh, NC.
When she left JKEF in 2015, Ms. Urbanska continued spreading the word about Karski by giving presentations and talking about our hero at every possible formal or informal occasion. Please see below the photo gallery, which highlights her involvement in promoting the Karski legacy throughout the years.
The Foundation looks forward to putting Ms. Urbanska’s expertise in advancing Polish causes back into action and serving the Foundation in this new capacity as a volunteer leader.