The Polish Philology has been an important centre of shaping the Polish intelligentsia in Lithuania, said Henryka Sokołowska, the Head of the Polish Language, Culture Study and Didactics Centre at the University of Educational Sciences, at a celebratory ceremony on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Polish Philology in Lithuania.
Among those who arrived at the ceremony were Polish activists and politicians in Lithuania, representatives of the Polish diplomatic corps and Lithuanian state institutions, as well as meritorious Polonists. Many of them are graduates of this educational institution, for example Mayor of the Šalčininkai region Zdzislav Palevič, Member of Parliament Michał Mackiewicz, the polonist Ludmiła Siekacka, and poet Aleksander Sokołowski.
Gaižutis: It’s great that this field of study has been included here
“It’s great that this field of study has been included here. We can be glad that over these years the department of Polish has developed so much,” said the University Rector Algirdas Gaižutis, adding that already in times of “Soviet occupation” it was the only higher education institution in the whole USSR that offered the possibility of studying Polish Philology. Gaižutis stressed that in the era of globalization it is worth to learn not only English but also other languages of the European Union, including Polish, which is the language of one of the closest neighbours of Lithuania.
On the occasion of the beautiful jubilee, the rector gave certificates of appreciation to the employees of the Polish Language, Culture Study and Didactics Centre at the University of Educational Sciences: Halina Turkiewicz, Irena Masojć, Henryka Sokołowska, and Romuald Naruńc.
Sokołowska: Beginnings reach back to 1961
“The beginnings reach back to 1961, when the whole department of the Teachers’ Institute in Naujoji Vilnia moved to the Vilnius State Pedagogical Institute. The first group of that school’s Polonists left its confines in 1964. Since then the degree in Polish philology has been obtained there by almost 2,000 people. The university has come through a lot of restructuring transformations. Names of the department and university were changing,” Henryka Sokołowska, the current head of the Polish Language, Culture Study and Didactics Centre, presented the history of the department of Polish to the people gathered.
Montvydaitė: It deserves great recognition
“The story of the department that has been told, perhaps somewhat briefly, is impressive. It deserves great recognition, as in several decades you’ve been shaping the elite and intellectual Polish society in Lithuania,” Vida Montvydaitė, the Director of the Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, highlighted in a short speech.
“I wish you fruitful and satisfying work. For the benefit of Poland and Lithuania. Uniting the Polish minority in Lithuania, which is a significant part of the Lithuanian society,” Director of the Polish Institute Marcin Łapczyński read the congratulatory letter from Ambassador of Poland Jarosław Czubiński.
In Naujoji Vilnia, in 1951, the Teachers’ Institute was established, which prepared the teaching staff for Polish schools in Lithuania. It was then that the history of Polish Philology in post-war Vilnius began. In 1961 the department of Polish was founded at the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. In 1969 it was named Department of Lithuanian Language and Literature and incorporated in the Faculty of Philology.
Today the Polish Philology at the University of Educational Sciences offers the BA and MA course.
The article has been written within the Intercultural Dialogue project, which is co-funded by the Fund for the Support of the Press, Radio and Television.
Tłumaczenie by Karolina Katarzyńska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Katarzyńska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.