On October 2-4 Lithuania hosts an important event for scientists: the V International Congress of Belarusian Studies, which gathers representatives from US, Italy, Germany, Britain, and other states.
There is little time left before the 5th International Congress of Belarusian Studies in Kaunas opens.
The Vytautas Magnus University will gather Belarus’ researchers from all corners of the world. Traditionally, not only Belarus, but also the whole region of Central and Eastern Europe will be in the center of attention. Wide problematics – from economy, policy, and international relations to history, linguistics, and culture – will be discussed during three days within the framework of a number of scientific panels.
The reward for productive work will be the Award of the Congress for the best scientific publication in three nominations: history, social and political sciences, and humanitarian sciences. Short-lists of nominees are already announced.
What interesting things are awaiting us within the frames of the Congress, how it will be different from the former one, what international problems will be discussed there, what countries will be represented? “EuroBelarus” Information Service talked about it with one of the organizers of the Congress, Andrei Kazakevich, the director of the Institute for Policy Studies Palіtychnaya Sphera (Political Sphere).
- What is so specific and interesting about the 5th International Congress of Belarusian Studies in Kaunas? Will it somehow differ from the previous one?
- Naturally, there will be certain changes. First, this year in relation to the anniversary of the World War II this topic will get bigger attention at the plenary session. There are going to be two presentations: one is given by the Belarusian speaker and the second one – by the American speaker. Both of the presentations are dedicated to the consequences of the World War II for Belarus and will try to reinterpret these events.
The Congress will dedicate much attention to safety issues. Perhaps, it is related to the tendencies in our region – Ukrainian events and increased tension between Russia and the West in general. And, accordingly, several panels will be dedicated to this problem. We will also examine the problems related to the European integration and migration in Belarus and in our region.
There will also be a special section dedicated to the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The priorities of this section are also changing in comparison with the former years.
Linguistics will have sound representation. Just as earlier, a section dedicated to development of religion and churches with a bias towards wars, conflicts, and churches’ role in that will be working at the Congress. All in all, a lot of interesting things are awaiting us.
- The former Congress gathered more than 450 scientists from 20 countries of the world. Where do scientists come from this time and will we see new faces among them?
- Yes, judging from the Congress of the previous year, we can say that about one third of participants is always new. And, naturally, there will be a lot of new faces!
This year we are expecting more than 20 countries to take part in the Congress. The geography is quite broad: the United States, Kazakhstan, Germany, Britain, and all countries neighboring with Belarus.
- Short-lists for the Congress Award on humanitarian sciences and history have already been announced. In your opinion, have the unconditional leaders already revealed themselves?
- As a member of the Organizing Committee that arranges evaluation of works on social and political sciences, I don’t want to answer this question. Leaders are already indicated in these short-lists. Initially, the nominees for the Award were many more numerous – several dozens of them. Now this number is reduced to 4-6 positions in all of these nominations, and it is these nominees who can be called leaders. I would prefer to not place some accents inside this list.
We don’t know the results because the final count of the vote of the jury will be known just before the Congress, about an hour before the Award ceremony.
- What topics among those on the new Congress’ agenda you as a political scientist find most important?
- These are geopolitics and international relations. I have already mentioned safety issues, which I find to be of great importance now. There will also be a panel related to the mass demonstrations in the history of Belarus and the neighboring countries.
The International Congress of Belarusian Studies was founded at the meeting of Belarusian and Lithuanian scholars and experts on October 6, 2010 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
The Congress was initiated as an annual meeting of Belarusian and foreign scholars, experts, analysts and representatives of civil society and government institutions, which are involved in studying Belarus.
The International Congress of Belarusian Studies is the most representative annual academic and expert event of Belarus. It gathers all main intellectual centres, which study Belarusian politics, society and culture. Besides, the congress presents a fine opportunity to develop new viable research and civil projects, exchange opinions and ideas, establish informal contacts with experts and academics from Belarus and other countries.