Логотип ZDES

International Workshop “German and European Studies in Central and Eastern Europe”

April 14-17, 2013

Place / Time: Vilnius, Lithuania

Moderators: Dr Felix Ackermann (DAAD Lector at the European Humanitarian University in Vilnius), Dr Elena Belokurova, Dr Denis Gruber (CGES)

Organizing and financial partners: DAAD, CGES, Centre for German Studies at the European Humanitarian University (Vilnius, Lithuania), Willy-Brandt-Zentrum at the University of Wroclaw (Poland)

Participants: German studies scholars from Central and Eastern Europe

The Workshop on German and European Studies in Central and Eastern Europe was initiated and organized in order to reflect and discuss the state of the arts, problems and perspectives of German studies in such countries as Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Belorussia, Ukraine, Russia. Most of the problems are connected with the language and subjects of German studies, demand and supply of educational and research programmes in this field. Therefore, the experiences exchange and networking were the most important goals of the Workshop.

In total, 22 representatives of the university teaching and management staff of 13 universities from 9 countries participated in the Workshop. The work was organized to make the exchange of experiences as effective as possible. . Thus, firstly a couple of presentations were discussed all together, to define the general context and problematic, which is interesting for all the participants. First of all, two major strategies of the development of German studies were discussed. On the one hand, Krzysztof Ruchniewicz Willy-Brand-Centre in Wrozlaw spoke about the teaching of German studies in German, which is more natural, but nowadays more a difficult strategy. On the other hand, Dr. Elena Belokurova from the CGES St. Petersburg presented the strategy selected in St. Petersburg as one less problematic now, but which comes to German studies through European studies in English language.

After the common plenary sessions, the work was continued in three small groups, which were dedicated to such issues as “New Teaching Formats and Methods” (moderated by Dr. Elena Belokurova), “Transcultural Learning” (moderated by Dr. Denis Gruber), and “Digitalization and Knowledge” (moderated by Dr. Felix Ackermann). These, the relevant questions were very actively and lively discussed by the groups, in order to understand similarities and differences, to exchange experiences, get new ideas about solving problems in different contexts and about the organization of further cooperation between participants of the Workshop and their universities, centres and programmes. During the second day of the Workshop, these ideas were discussed additionally in the specially built groups for these purposes. Thus, the ideas of student exchange, cooperation between PhD students from different countries, common summer schools, conferences etc. were discussed. More concretely, at least two things were decided: establishment of common informational space on the Internet and social networks (facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/127583177433646), as well as common organization of a special panel on German and European studies during the German Studies Congress in Wroclaw on November 21-23, 2013. Both agreements were implemented later during 2013, some other ideas are discussed and elaborated further.

As part of the Workshop in Vilnius, one public panel discussion was also organized at the University of Vilnius, dedicated to the “Changing Role of the German Language in the Cultural and Academic Life in Central and Eastern Europe”. The representatives of University of Vilnius, Goethe-Institut Lithuania, European Humanitarian University, CGES and Willy-Brandt-Centre in Wrocław expressed their opinions in reply to questions from a moderator and the audience. As a result, very interesting ideas and visions were exchanged.

The discussion started in Vilnius was continued in St. Petersburg during the Conference panel on 10 Years CGES Anniversary on Octeber 26, 2013, and in Wroclaw during the German Studies Congress in November 2013. As result, new ideas and experiences were exchanged between the members of this strengthening network on German and European studies in Central and Eastern Europe.