Any minority where there is no elite, including scientific elites, cannot exist – this statement comes from the President of the Association of Polish Academics in Lithuania, Prof. Henry Malewski during a talk he was giving about the work of the association. During the meeting, the 2014 Yearbook was presented, with this being a summary of the work of the organization.
Before the presentation there was a Christmas carol concert to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the organization. “Our Association is an organization that is concerned with all those things that concern every citizen of Vilnius. I am pleased to be at this meeting, together with representatives of culture and tradition as well as the media,” Prof. Henry Malewski said, on greeting the guests.
Young scientists and the elite
The professor pointed out that last year was very successful for the organization. Along with the Polish Society for Political Thought, the association organized a conference on “European Family: European political thought and the challenges of the 21st Century.” Further, changes to the statutes of the organization were introduced to attract young people. “We decided that we must strive to draw young people into academic work. One of these courses is to change the statute, which allows for pulling our supporting members of the Association of Scientists, or those who are not yet scientists are the masters, working at universities, engaged in scientific and research work. Such a person will be able to virtually participate in our business, ” said Prof. Malewski.
The President emphasized that the development of Polish elites in Lithuania is equivalent to the behaviour of Polish in the area. “Comparing the level of education of the Polish community in Lithuania, we see that it is not high. Professor Wołkonowski and other scientists have conducted research that shows that we have problems with our education. When it comes to higher education, it is balanced, but when it comes to doctoral degrees or titles, here we have serious problems. (…) And here we see that every minority that there are no elites, including the academic elite, there can be none,” said Prof. Malewski, adding that the aim of the organization is to promote Science and the search for talented youngsters.
Next year, together with the Associate University of Wroclaw, the organization will begin scientific-research concerned with the Polish minority in Vilnius and the German minority in the Opole region.
The Polish minority in Lithuania
The association has been issuing yearbooks since 2001. “This year we have a combined 2013/2014 volume. The main part of the yearbook consists of articles that have been written on the basis of papers presented at the conference, which was organized by the Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania and the Polish Society of Political Thought. The conference was held in April 2014,” explained Dr. Barbara Dwilewicz to reporters.
In the yearbook you can find articles devoted to Polish minority problems. Dr. Elizabeth Kuzborska wrote the article “The reform of the education of national minorities in Lithuania in 2011, in light of international standards of protection”, while Thomas Snarski contributed the article ”European Union towards multiculturalism and the protection of language rights of Poles in Lithuania”.
Dr. Krystyna Moroz-Lapin and Dr. Miroslaw Szejbak wrote the article “Meanders Lithuanian educational policy in the education of minorities,” which compared Polish and Lithuanian schools. “I do not know if it had an impact on our article, but if you compare the media space now, you have not met – maybe not everything I follow – article in which pisałoby that the Polish school is worse. Statements about the quality of education has improved Polish “- stressed in an interview with reporters Krystyna Moroz-Lapin.
The Scientists Association of Poles in Lithuania unites 60 people and has been in operation since 1989. Through its activities the Association highlights its noble and democratic objectives, which date back to when the Society of Friends of Science was founded in 1907.
Tłumaczenie by Michał Sadowski w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Michał Sadowski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.