At the time I was working as a broadcaster, and I came to research programme ideas. One of these ideas ended up as the documentary, Return of a Soldier, which followed a Polish war veteran returning to Poland for the first time in 50 years.
On that first visit, I spent New Year’s Eve at the Pod Jaszczurami Student Club. I particularly remember the so-called English bacon I was served at the beginning of the evening to line my stomach!
Over the next few years I kept coming back, until in 1995 my wife, my then 2-year son and I moved here. We didn’t come for work, we came because of the people we had met, who have become lifelong friends.
Over the intervening 30 years Kraków has transformed. It is now a modern European city and hub for the global technology and business services sector, attracting companies and people from across the world who come for work and quality of life.
I am proud to have played some part in this. In 2007, I was one of the founding members of ASPIRE, an organisation set up to drive the development of a sector at the time just emerging in Kraków.
This sector has helped to transform the city, creating good and ever better jobs for over 100,000 young people. The real heroes, of course, are the young people working in the centres, who through their energy, ambition and aspiration have not only put Kraków on the global business map, but are also helping to transform the way global businesses operate.
Although I did not come here for work, today many foreigners do. In fact, almost 20% of those working in Kraków centres come from abroad, which adds colour and diversity to Kraków’s rich tapestry.
I think Kraków is lucky that global businesses have located here, but equally global businesses are lucky to have Kraków.
I thank my lucky stars that I came here in 1988.
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