Whenever I arrive to a hotel, I normally watch the news on CNN. A few weeks back they were running a special on Poland called "Eye on Poland". I happened to be running the DB2 on Campus tour in this country from Oct 11 - 17, almost at the same time the special was showing. The CNN special was right, Poland is growing very fast. Many changes are happening for the good, and other than traffic, I see a lot of optimism from the people I talked to. On the academic side as well, I see a lot of activity. The IBM Academic Initiative (AI) team in Poland is very active and energetic. The team is supported by the IBM Krakow Lab, as well as the offices in IBM Warsaw, and they are doing a lot of good things. My schedule in Poland was hectic visiting 7 universities in 5 days for a total of 14 presentations. The DB2 on Campus tour started in Krakow, then Gliwice, Wroklaw, Poznan, and Lodz. I was accompanied by nice IBM Poland colleagues like Marcin, Kasha, Jarek, and Mariusz to the student presentations as well as faculty meetings. Overall, we reached about 350 students and 30 faculty members!. Moreover, the International DB2 User Group (IDUG) was running its European conference that week. Though I couldn't attend, a colleague of mine from IBM USA (Paawan) did present on Academic Initiative topics. She also accompanied me on some university visits. Overall, it was a successful tour with a lot of presentations, lots of driving, lots of hotels and very tiring!. Warning: In Poland people drive FAST. The "minimum" speed is 120km =). I also had the chance to pre-announce the "Search for the XML Superstar" contest in the universities I visited in Poland. The official announcement for the contest in Poland was on October 19th.
P.S: The picture is from the Politechnika Poznanska in Poznan, Poland