General overview of the activities of the Institute

The origins of its inception.
The East-Central European Institute was founded in Lublin at the turn of 1991-1992 at the initiative of a group of Lublin academics (KUL, UMCS), who had the idea of forming a centre co-ordinating interdisciplinary collaboration between historians, sociologists, lawyers, experts in cultural studies and philosophers from the east-central part of the European continent.

The driving force behind the idea of the Institute and its director is Professor Jerzy Kloczkowski, historian, professor at the Catholic University of Lublin, founding-member of the Polish Committee for the European Movement, chairman of the Polish UNESCO Committee and member of the UNESCO Executive Committee.

Today the Institute has about 120 members in Poland and abroad.

The Institute is a non-government organization, and its official legal status is that of a Society. It not only supports but also initiates many academic-research projects, which aim at promoting the history and culture of Central Europe.

The year 1989 marked a turning for East-Central Europe and has prompted the necessity for urgently reinterpreting the image of its history and contemporary situation. This reinterpretation is aimed, above all, at:

  • shedding light on the specific historical and cultural aspects of the region, and on its ethnic and religious diversity,
  • indicating common European values and,
  • underlining the significance of the role of tolerance and democracy in the development of contemporary society.

The Institute works closely with the International Federation of East-Central European Institutes, founded in 1993 and integrating 7 national Institutes. It also collaborates with academic institutions from East-Central Europe, France, Italy, Germany and the United States as well as non-government organizations interested in European issues (The Foundation for Democracy in East-Central Europe, The "Poland in Europe" Foundation, The "Borderland" Centre, The Robert Schuman Foundation of Poland, to mention just a few).

Academic Research.
The Institute's research work is concentrated in the following areas:

  • History. The main idea of the historical research work done at the Institute is to create a new synthesis of the history of East-Central European countries which would facilitate understanding not only their history, but also the present political, social and cultural problems of the various countries in our region of Europe]
  • Historical Studies. Research in historical studies at the Institute aims to study and evaluate historical studies which have been carried out so far, and the various traditions of historical studies within our region]
  • Cultural Studies. Cultural Studies research at the Institute aims at deepening understanding of traditions, the interchange of East-Central European Cultures and their identity; one of the most important research issues involves the historical and present-day situation of cultural minorities]
  • Psychosociology. Psychosociological research carried out with the Institutes' support is concentrated mainly on analysing the chances European nations have for integration as well as the threats to it].

Making the results of the above research work available and publishing it, aims above all, to facilitate a receprical knowledge amongst nations and overcome negative stereotypes.

The East-Central European Encyclopedia.
One of the most important enterprises at the Institute is a editorial-research project entitled: The East-Central European Encyclopedia. This project is being carried out by the UNESCO national committees and Institutes associated within the Federation. It was begun in 1993 and its fundamental aim is to promote reliable knowledge about the history and present-day situation in East-Central Europe and to make this knowledge generally available. The culture, history and contemporary situation of 18 countries in our region has been explored: Albania, Belorus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldavia, Poland, Rumania, Serbia and Czarnogora, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary. The Encyclopedia contains 4 types of entries: synthesised entries which analyze particular problems on a European scale, entries concerning specific countries, entries concerning historical-geographic regions and entries concerning people. The editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia is Dr Hubert Laszkiewicz.

Publishing House.
The Institute's publishing house specializes, above all, in presenting the latest achievements in the field of East-Central European history and historical-studies. It also publishes works of political-science, social studies and cultural studies. Post-conference materials are published regularly from conferences and academic meetings organized by the Institute. Mateusz Pienkowski and Maria Kolasinska are responsible for the work of the Publishing House.

EuroDialog Internet Service.
Since 1997 the Institute has begun working on an entirely new project, the aim of which is to support and develop inter-cultural dialogue between East and West Europe. This dialogue takes place on the EuroDialog pages of the Internet.

Academic Conferences.
One of the main activities of the Institute is organizing academic meetings, including international conferences, seminars, workshops, and lectures open to the general public [link: the most recent conferences have included:

  • International Conference entitled: Identity, Diversity, Tolerance and the Ethos of Peace, Lublin 5-7 December 1995
  • The Congress of the International Commission of Comparative History (CIHEC) entitled Christianity in East-Central Europe and Its Links With East and West, Lublin 2-6 September 1996
  • Polish-Ukrainian Conference entitled Ukraine — Poland. Yesterday — Today — Tomorrow, Lublin 22-24 June 1997 (organized under the auspices of the Chairman of the Polish Republic's Council of Ministers)
  • International Conference entitled Germans and East-Central Europe in Historical Studies Post 1945, Kazimierz Dolny upon Wisla 13-14 September 1997 (organized in conjunction with the Herder Institute in Marburg)
  • International Conference entitled Borders and Transformations in "National Areas" in the History of East-Central Europe. The Case of Belorus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, Dabrowica near Lublin 3-25 October 1998 (organized in conjunction with the Joint Committee of UNESCO and CISH)
  • International Conference entitled France — Germany — Poland — Ukraine and the European Challenge, Poznan 1998 (organized in conjunction with the Western Institute).]

The Institute's Office.
The Institute's work is financed mainly by the Academic Research Committee, The Stefan Batory Foundation and the Lublin City Council.

The overall activity of the Institute is directed by Professor Henryk Gapski, the academic secretary of the Institute and the Institute's Office:

  • Grzegorz Gluch, director of the Office
  • Malgorzata Goleman, assistant to the director
  • Iwona Goral, in charge of international collaboration
  • Mateusz Pienkowski, head of the Publishing House
  • Maria Kolasinsoa, secretary of the Publishing House
  • Michal Durakiewicz, in charge of Publishing Sales and Marketing
  • Hubert Laszkiewicz, secretary of the Editing Board of the East-Central European Encyclopedia
  • Slawomir Lukasiewicz, secretary of the Editing Board of the East-Central European Encyclopedia
  • Anna K. Stanislawska, secretary of the Editing Board of the EuroDialog IS
  • Tomasz Baran, technical editor of the EuroDialog IS.

Address of the Institutes Head Office:
Plac Litewski 2
PL- 20-080 Lublin
tel./fax: (+48 81) 532. 29.07
email: europasw@golem.umcs.lublin.pl

Address of the Institutes Publishing House,
The Editing Board of the East-Central European Encyclopedia,
The Editing Board of EuroDialog Internet Service:

ul. Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej 58/1
PL- 20-029 Lublin
tel./fax: (+48 81) 533.85.88
email: europasw@platon.man.lublin.pl
email: office@eurodialog.org.pl

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   © Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej 1998
   Tomasz Baran tbaran@helios.man.lublin.pl