• July 10, 2014
  • 260

Humanists to solve Polish-Lithuanian problems

‘It is not award only for me but for the whole team of our agency’,underlined in the conversation with zw.lt the chairman of the Centre of Polish Studies in Vilnius University (pl. Centrum Polonistyczny Uniwersytetu Wileńskiego), prof. Dr. Hab. Algis Kalėda, laureate of the award Polonicum 2014, given by the University of Warsaw (pl. Uniwersytet Warszawski) for great achievements in promoting Polish culture and language abroad.

The choice of winner of the award Polonicum is made by a commission that consists of representatives of authority of the University of Warsaw, a few ministries, foundation and other organizations. In 2007 the award went to the Centre of Polish Studies in Vilnius University. This year the leader of the center prof. Dr. Hab. Algis Kalėda was singled out personally. However, he treats the award as appreciation of achievements and work of the whole team of Polish Studies in UW.

The aim of the award is promoting Polish culture by spreading Polish language, literature, culture, history and art abroad.

‘We have been working assiduously for more than 20 years. During this time we have brought up about 10 Doctors of Philosophy, our alumni work now in our university in Vilnius and also in the Polish Academy of Sciences, they are authors of monographs, carrying out different research projects, participate in international conferences’, said prof. Algis Kalėda.

Last conference of such type, named ‘Functioning of languages ​​and literatures in Lithuania. Polish-Lithuanian scientific and cultural associations’ was organized in November 2013 in Vilnius. At the conference problems related to Polish-Lithuanian associations were discussed in cultural-literary, linguistic and educational terms. The meeting was an opportunity to summarize twenty years of activity of the Centre of Polish Studies in Vilnius University.

There are much more lovers of Polish culture and literature in Lithuania than in China.

Polonicum Award is given once a year. It goes to foreign researchers for great achievements in promoting Polish language and the knowledge of Polish culture and history in the world. The aim of the award is promoting Polish culture by spreading Polish language, literature, culture, history and art abroad.

Prof. Algis Kalėda believes that Polish language is really popular in Lithuania also among Lithuanian people. ‘The interest is huge; a proof of this is, for instance, lots of translated literature. The summary prepared by the Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators (pl. Litewski Związek Tłumaczy) at the Writers’ Union (pl. Związek Pisarzy) shows that most translations are made from Polish language. And these are very valuable items’, emphasized the head of the Centre of Polish Studies.

An interesting fact: I found out that together with me a prize was also given to the professor of Polish studies in China. For sure, China is incomparably bigger than Lithuania, but it seems to me that there are proportionally much more lovers of Polish culture and literature – and I am not talking about Poles living in Lithuania, put about Lithuanian people- in Lithuania than in China’, says half-jokingly literary scholar.

Polish Studies in Vilnius University are studing not only graduates from Polish schools, but also alumni from Klaipėda, Palanga, Pakruojis and other remote regions of Lithuania. What is true, however, is the fact that philological studies are experiencing difficult times now, admitted prof. Kalėda.

‘When we started we had two groups which consist of 16 students each. Overall we taught about 300 alumni. But every year there are less and less of them. It can be explained by the fact that humanistic studies are less popular nowadays. The same say both my colleagues from Poland and from Lithuania’, claimed Algis Kalėda.

‘It is a pity. In my opinion, students who like humanistic studies should try and enjoy studying in the Vilnius University. We offer not only philological studies, but also lots of related disciplines- translation and editing. I have recently spoken with representatives of Polish companies and found out that there is a lack of Polish-Lithuanian and Lithuanian-Polish translators. We have a lot of opportunities for graduates of Lithuanian and Polish schools’, comments professor.

Prof. Dr. Hab. Algis Kalėda believes that scientists, writers, artists can have an impact on the conditions of Polish-Lithuanian relations. According to him, this is good illustrated by the activity of different institutions and organizations: the Jerzy Giedroyc Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (pl. Forum Współpracy i Dialogu im. Jerzego Giedroycia), the Adam Mickiewicz Polish-Lithuanian Cooperation Promotion Foundation (pl. Fundacja Wspierania Współpracy Polsko-Litewskiej im. Adama Mickiewicza), the Polish Institute in Vilnius (pl. Instytut Polski w Wilnie).

‘When neighbors have problems the most considerable impact have humanists, people of culture. Their work is really necessary in our strict times, when we are aware of the danger from our maliciously orientated neighboring countries’, summarizes Algis Kalėda.

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