• September 25, 2014
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Norkevičius:” The seriousness of the Polish-Lithuanian relationship begins at the academic level”

Soured in 2010-2011 Polish-Lithuanian relations began to improve in late 2012. Time shows how long this improvement will last – said to zw.lt Mindaugas Norkevičius, a doctoral candidate of political science of Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, the manager of the Adam Mickiewicz’s Club of Polish Language and Culture at the university and the organizer of that conference “Dynamics of Polish-Lithuanian relations”.

How do you assess the last scientific conference “Dynamics of Polish-Lithuanian relations”?

The conference which I organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Czeslaw Milosz is significant in that way that in the course of it scientists and researchers from Poland and Lithuania presented the results of studies on the dynamics of the relations of the two countries, based on history, politic, philology, economic, sociology and many other social and humanities sciences.

The conference was based on a broad concept, which showed the validity of all scientific fields in terms of bilateral relations, from politics and economics to culture and literature. During the conference were referring scientists, but also young researchers from the University of Wroclaw, Maria Sklodowska-Curie University, Jagiellonian University, Lodz and Warsaw Universities and Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. This demonstrates the attention, which academics from both countries pay to the Polish-Lithuanian relations.

Do you think that research studies in some way affect the Polish-Lithuanian relations?

The main purpose of the conference “Dynamics of the Polish-Lithuanian relations” was primarily to promote research studies in which are analyzed the problems of longterm historical relations between Poland and Lithuania. Both Lithuania and Poland should encourage research studies, particularly those concerning important topics like questions of national identity of national minorities, the interests of states in international politics and the mutual strategic cooperation. The analysis of such topics and their evaluation are important factors in showing mutual positions and dissemination of cooperation. The attention from the academic level is an important clue, because bilateral development of relations does not stop, and its discussion and evaluation only contributes to this.

What kind of work does the Club of Polish Language and Culture of the University of Vytautas the Great currently perform? What are the plans for the next academic year?

Currently, we collect papers in ​​Lithuanian, Polish and English languages, which will be prepared for publication. The club provides consultation to assist in the selection of studies and placements among Polish universities, the research centres, political institutions and non-governmental organizations. At present, we are organizing educational and scientific visit to students at the University of Vytautas the Great in Warsaw. Club members are organizing  battles of intellects, film evenings and preparing new international projects.  We are constantly expanding the number of our partners at universities in Poland, who contribute to the development of scientific cooperation between universities of both countries.

Which way would go Polish-Lithuanian relations?

The strategic partnership that connects Lithuania and Poland in the period of European integration  has began to change. Because of several reasons it has been visible since 2010:  there are left no strategic objectives – integrations into the European Union and NATO have been reached, Polish interests in the European Union have moved away from the interests of Lithuania. Thus, the representatives of national minorities – Polish minorities in Lithuania and Lithuanian minorities in Poland – began to measure their position according to the European Union standards, despite the fact that the European institutions do not give a clear answer about how political and cultural life of the small groups of ethnic communities should look like. Spelling of the names, streets’ names and conducted education policy show how the problems that are closely related to the national identity influence the real impact in other areas of bilateral cooperation. The chain of internal and external bilateral relations and its affecting factors that distinguish the problems at the local level, which at first sight is more symbolic but directly related to the coefficient of the national identity of countries is forming.

Soured in 2010-2011 Polish-Lithuanian relations began to improve in late 2012. Time shows how long the improvement will last. However, it is not difficult to forecast that the energy cooperation will continue, because it is a priority for both countries and provides greater independence from Russia. Probably, in the future bilateral cooperation between Poland and Lithuania will take place at the regional level and the level of the European Union and NATO.a

Translated by Katarzyna Ratajek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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