Kaunas played host to the Third International Congress of Belarusian Studies on 11-13 October

The forum brought together over 300 delegates from more than 20 countries. Scientists, analysts and public figures professionally working on Belarus analyzed a variety of topics — from security and religious traditions in Belarus to the outlook for modernization and gender issues in education. The concept of the Third International Congress of Belarusian Studies was “Belarus: the Northern Dimension”.

“Our main objective is to promote an expansion of collaboration between Belarusian scholars and their counterparts from the Baltic and Scandinavian states in various areas. This calls for the engagement of representatives of the academic community of these countries in the work of the congress. Second of all, we focus on the deepening of the regional and comparative studies of Belarus and the Baltic Sea region in a broad sense. In this context, the study of the Baltic and Scandinavian space via historical ties is of particular interest, and so is the analysis of contemporary economic and political connections,” Andrei Kazakevich, the director of the Institute for Policy Studies Palіtychnaya Sfera (Political Sphere), said at the opening of the congress.

The congress featured a ceremony to award prizes for the best scientific publications. The prizes were awarded for the papers published in 2011 and 2012 in three categories — History, Social and Political Studies and The Humanities. Dzianis Lisejčykaŭ won the History prize for his book “The Everyday Life of a Uniate Parochial Priest in Belarusian-Lithuanian Lands in 1720-1839”. Ihar Zaprucki’s “On the Way to Parnassus: Attributive Research and Reception of Belarusian Literature of the 19th Century” was named the best research paper in The Humanities category. The Social and Political Studies prize was awarded to Iryna Lašuk and Aksana Šeliest for their work “Symbolic and Communicative Dimensions of the Language Practices of the Belarusian Poles”.

The prizes were awarded based on conclusions of a panel comprising representatives of the academic community of Belarus and other countries (about ten experts per category). The prize includes a certificate, statuette, and, as the founders put it, a “quite big amount of money that is rather substantial for a Belarusian scholar”.