Polish Institutes are centers subordinate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose main task is to promulgate throughout the world Polish culture and knowledge of Polish history and national heritage, and also to promote cooperation in culture, education, science and social life. In many places, Polish Institutes fulfil the role of the cultural and scientific affairs departments of Polish Embassies.
Polish Institutes fulfill the functions of centers for the promotion of knowledge about Poland through carrying out information and educational activities as well as ensuring a Polish presence in the cultural life of certain countries. The main tasks of the institutions is to introduce Polish culture to the most important centers in the countries in which they operate as well as to ensure a significant Polish presence in international events and to establish long term contacts between Polish and foreign partners who are active in international cultural exchange. The most beneficial form of organising events is a joint venture with a local, well-renowned cultural institution, which on one hand lowers the cost of the presentation for the Polish side and on the other hand guarantees delivery to the local audience.
The mission of cultural diplomacy is to effectively influence the local artistic and opinion-forming scene. Building good, close contacts with the media is a priority for Polish Institutes.
Polish Institutes aim to build a group of future allies in order to popularise Polish culture; employees and students of Polish studies, Slavonic studies and Central European. They also work on behalf of Polish academic staff in the educational process of the given country.
Support for the activities of Polish Institutes is provided, in addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by domestic cultural institutes which are also involved in international cooperation, including the Polish Film Institute, the Book Institute, the Theatre Institute and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
The programmes of Polish Institutes are carried out by teams of six to eight people, including: a director and usually one employee delegated from Poland, two or three local experts who have an excellent knowledge of the local language and conditions of the given country as well as contacts with local cultural groups, and also two support employees. This composition may ne modified due to local conditions