- April 10, 2014
“In the City of Dialoge it is worth to debate about common Europe”. The Conference of the scientists from Lithuania and Poland
Throughout the next two days, several dozen of scientists from Lithuania and Poland will be debating in Vilnius about the processes occuring in the European political thought, about the issues of ethnic minorities in the Central and Western Europe as well as about the political, economic and social issues concerned this region. Yesterday started the conference “Familial Europe. The European political thought and challenges of 21st century”, organised in the cooperation with the Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania and Polish Society of Political Thought.
When co-chairman of commission professor Henryk Malewski from Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania, while starting the meeting in Polish Cultural Centre in Vilnius, he reminded that the idea of organisation this kind of forum was born two years ago at one of the scientific conferences in Poland.
“We hope that this conference will serve well not only for better understanding of those existing problems of Vilnius-Warsaw line, not only for the issues connected with Polish minority in Lithuania, but also in much broader field concerned with the Central and Western Europe issues and also with the crucial issues of ethnic minorities in our region states. We see that those issues of ethnic minorities became very important nowadays”, Henryk Malewski said.
As he added, organisers wanted to connect the theme of the conference with not only a political science subject area, but also with its perception through a prism of a philosopher, a historian, a physician and an educationalist.
“Referneces to the Miłosz works and his “Familial Europe” have to subserve it. Although the title of conference was agreed during the summer last year, at some point after the first element of the title, where we put a dot, we wanted to put a question mark because the order which we had in Europe suddenly broke”, H. Malewski continued.
He emphasised that the issues of the conference connect the aspects concerned with the Eastern Partnership, Polish-Lithuanian problems, and Ukrainian ones in particular.
History, problems and challenges for the future
The co-chairman of the conference doctor Maciej Marszał from the Polish Society of Political Thought said:
“As an organiser I hope that this conference will contribute to a better understanding of processes occuring in the European political thought. Arguably, it is not a misuse to choose Czesław Miłosz term “familial Europe” as some indicator of the European thinking about problems, which stand in front of Europe in 21st century. Right here, in Vilnius – the city of dialogue, where there have lived side by side and there will live Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Jews, Russians and members of many other nationalities, it is worth to talk about common Europe”.
Participants of conference were welcomed i.a. by Edita Tamošiūnaitė, the under-secretary of education and science of Lithuania.
“The intensity and variety of changes and processes accompanying globalisation influence the necessity to consider once again the role and function, which would have to be satisfied by the modern states.
The modern world and Europe, while undergoing a process of globalisation, convert increasingly into a multicultural reality, where national communities are also looking for their own place. The sense of a personal national identity amongst the contemporarily functioning large and small societies in Europe demands a deeper reflection.” – emphasised under-secretary.
Does a common European identity exist?
The ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Lithuania, Jarosław Czubiński, who took patronage over the conference, referred in his speech to words of the president of the USA John Kennedy, which were said in 1963 during his stay in Federal republic of Germany: “Ich bin ein Berliner” – “I am Berliner”.
“As the ambassador of the Republic of Poland, I am in Lithuania for nine months representing here Polishreason of state, national interest and fostering progress of cooperation between our states. Taking into consideration a context of President Kennedy Berlin speech, in the light of the issues which can so strongly involve our societies and states both in historical and present dimension, with full awareness of my words, I am claiming – prisirišimu prie miesto jau esu vilnietis – by devotion to the city I am a Vilnius man already”, Jarosław Czubiński said.
“Does truly objectively and throughout centuries exist some common Europe identity, which was named the Centre Europe? Yes, Miłosz thought. It is consisted, in his opinion, of some distance towards the great history – I think that this might be some form of determinism instead – but simultaneously strong dependence on it, and also some unique, impossible to find nowhere else states of awareness of inhabitants of this region. Did master Miłosz was right? I do not know, I am not the right person to judge, I am too young Vilnius man yet. There are others appointed to do so, whose elite gathered in this room. I am waiting for the results of the conference eagerly”, Polish ambassador added.
Political thought in Lithuania does not exist
The signatory of the Act of Independence, lawyer Czesław Okińczyc regretted in his speech that so few Lithuanian scientists took part in the conference.
“In the face of threats, which lurk, we have to once again look at ourselves, at history, at political relations and draw far-reaching conclusions. A discourse between Poles is needed, but a discourse between Poles and Lithuanians on the intellectual level could be even more effective”, Cz. Okińczyc expressed his opinion.
He said that a keynote of the conference is especially up-to-date for Lithuania, where political thought as such does not exist.
“Complete chaos, it is impossible to say who is who. There are no classical Blimps, no liberals, no social-democrats”, Cz. Okińczyc said.
How “to make” familial Europe?
About validity of the conference said also mayor of Šalčininkai district Zdzisław Palewicz.
“I represent multicultural society. According to the latest census, Šalčininkai district is inhabited by 17 nationalities. I relate the topic of the conference to this specific region. How “to make” this familial Europe? How to implement European political thought, stated on the European bills and acts, which is so up-to-date for inhabitants of this region? Today, unfortunately, I have to claim that the biggest difficulty lies right in the realisation of those declarations and proper acts. Why is it like that? Why some things cannot be respected? Someone answered that there is everything except of goodwill. I think that goodwill can be found through dialogue. I believe that this conference will contribute to find this goodwill and solve problems of inhabitants of our region”, Z. Palewicz added.
25 years of the activity of the Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania
A date of the conference intentionally coincided with the jubilee of the Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania, which on 14th April will be celebrating its silver jubilee. The chairman of the association, professor Bogusław Grużewski, while welcoming participants he presented the history of the organisation, which currently consists of 62 members – scientists in such fields as science, history, sociology, pedagogy and many others.
“For relatively short length of activity the association became a significant element of scientific, educational and cultural life of Poles in Lithuania”, B. Grużewski said.
During the ceremony, he handed some diplomas of acknowledgement to those who throughout the years were connected with the activity ofthe Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania and contributed to its progress. Diplomas received: the first chairman of the association, professor Romuald Brazis, the general consul of the Republic of Poland in Lithuania, Stanisław Cygnarowski, the assistant professor, Henryka Ilgiewicz, and professor Jarosław Wołkonowski, dean of the Vilnius affiliate of the University in Białystok.
Tłumaczenie by Beata Kanadys w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Beata Kanadys within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.