The students and staff of the International History Olympiad were excited and awed to welcome Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha of Poland, International Peace Ambassador, who gave a speech on ridding the world of landmines. She founded the One Mine One Life organization, inspired by Princess Diana’s work with landmines. 

Before beginning the speech, she congratulated the students of the International History Olympiad on their astonishing accomplishment of qualifying for such a prestigious event. She proclaimed that although she could make a speech about the importance of that qualification, she thought that the audience was mature enough to understand a cause bigger than themselves: the devastating effects of landmines. 

Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha introduced the broad array of nations she has visited, particularly throughout Africa and southern Asia. Not only has she seen devastating poverty and struggling communities, but also adults and especially children dying or being seriously maimed by landmines. She explained the horror she felt that instead of these children having the opportunity to learn and build themselves better lives, they were essentially trapped in destitute communities because they could not leave these areas to learn. Many of them, for example, had lost limbs or had serious injuries from landmines that prevented them from the extensive travel necessary for them to get to school. Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha proclaimed that she had made dealing with landmines a central goal of her peace activism, and requested that the students of the International History Olympiad take pictures with her for the United Nations and One Mine One Life campaign to help deactivate landmines and end their use in warfare. 

Pictures: Sam Wolf

Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha returned the next day to give a speech about Polish culture in relation to the sabre. She described the Polish sabre as the link between the past and the present that has been passed from father to son for generations. Crossed sabres had been utilized to baptize children for centuries and were present at weddings. Sabres are a vital, precious aspect of Polish culture, and were also reported as the source of the Polish soul. 

Pictures: Sam Wolf

Before concluding her speech, Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha expounded upon how the Polish state had come and gone over hundreds of years, but the Polish spirit always remained. While Poland became independent after World War I for the first time in one hundred twenty-three years, this lasted only a short time until Poland was reconquered by the Nazis after putting up a fierce resistance. She recounted the story of General Stanislaw Sosabowski burying his sabre during World War II in order to protect it, because it was his most valuable possession. 

The speeches of Princess Angelika Ewa Jarosławski Sapieha have been incredibly detailed, informative, and inspiring. She has made herself available for questions, listened to the students, and encouraged students to embrace the Polish soul, spirit, and culture.

Katherine Spusta

Varsity, Alabama