20 students from Poland and Lithuania met in Vilnius for the seventh time for Polish-Lithuanian Academy. They will be discussing particular aspects of Polish-Lithuanian cooperation and about the possibility of the new opening. As they explain, it is their duty to maintain and build good relations.
From 2009 Polish-Lithuanian Academy is organised by Students’ Association “RePublica” Institute of International Relations and Political Science on Vilnius University and students’ organization “Klub Jagielloński” of Vilnius University. The active partner is for example Polish Institute in Vilnius. 20 students take part in Academy this year: 10 from Lithuania and 10 from Poland. The main topics to be covered are: cooperation between Lithuania and Poland in power industry and in defence. They will also discuss revision in Poland and Lithuania based on the international law. The meetings will also have the type of journey: the young people will spend two days in Sejny and Puńsk in order to look deeper at the situation of Lithuanian minority in Poland.
“We are launching 7th meeting of Polish-Lithuanian Academy so saying every time something completely different is becoming more and more challenging. I am glad that this forum became a custom and is continuous. Your participation gives the proof that the customs and traditions are important and is needed. We hope that owing to this Academy you will learn new things, make new friendships and understand more about living in our countries” – said Ramūnas Vilpišauskas,the director of Institute of International Relations and Political Science in VU.
As a replacement for the director of Polish Institute, Małgorzata Kaser, came the deputy of Polish ambassador in Vilnius, Maria Ślebioda.
“This forum discuss various and important aspects of the current regional politics and two-sided relations. The participants are vital here – there are young, intelligent ambitious. Another important thing is that you come here with fresh opinions and – said the deputy.
Maria Ślebioda reminded about the Polish-Lithuanian project on electric engineering in gas interconnector and electro-energetic link LitPol Link and about another aspects: Rail Baltica project, Via Bialtica and investments in both countries.
“It is only a small part of big cooperation between these two countries. We are partners in science, culture, especially in defence. However, minorities are also important, for example obeying the law. I hope that the lessons and exercises will help you to see things from different perspective at the same time learning new things” – said Ślebioda.
As Žilvinas Švedkauskas,the director of RePublica, said, it is important that the participants follow the path to understand the whole picture of relations between two countries – starting from the history and ending on the current events.
“Last year we visited the representatives of Polish local community in Vilnius. This year we will explore different territories – Lithuanian minority leaving in Poland. It will be another chance to understand people who set up there and at the same time to see the whole structure, the context of relations. We think that neighbours should help each other” – said Švedkauskas.
Bartosz Światłowski, a doctoral student of Jagielloński University, said that during journey the participants will be discussing uneasy heritage of Poland and Lithuania.
“We believe that it is our duty to build good relations between Poland and Lithuania. Of course, it is not so easy. I think that some people involved in this topic share my point of view that is to make a new start. It is not about looking back, antagonising. It is about aiming at joint venture, especially when we take into consideration the fact of common enemy – Russia and her aggressive politics towards Ukraine. It would demand making concessions. I feel that it is up to our generation to end the slump in relations between these two countries” – emphasised Światłowski.
Tłumaczenie by Anna Sulima w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Anna Sulima within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.