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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Symposium on East Europe Set for April 2 and 3
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MAILED: March 17, 1998

EAU CLAIRE -- The fourth annual Symposium on East Europe will be held April 2 and 3 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The title of this year's symposium is "Democracy and Demography in the Baltic States and Ukraine in the Wake of the Soviet Empire."
The democratic process in the newly independent East European countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine are burdened by the demographic realities of population losses and the equally dramatic movement of Soviet Russians into these territories, said Dr. Paulis Lazda, a history professor at UW-Eau Claire and co-chair of the symposium.
The two populations, indigenous and Soviet, diverge in their self-perception and collective memories, Lazda said. Moscow's policy toward the new independent governments, which ranges from ambivalent to hostile, discourages the formation of an essential national consensus, he said. And without a broad consensus and a shared view of the future, these societies face a dilemma, he said.
"The symposium will bring together seven distinguished experts to explore the past, present and future of this part of Europe," Lazda said.
The symposium, which will take place in room 100 of Hibbard Humanities Hall, will begin at 2 p.m. April 2 with introductory remarks by Lazda and welcoming remarks by Dr. Carl Haywood, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
S. Frederick Starr, founder and chair of the Central Asia Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., will give the opening address at 2:15 p.m. The title of his address is "Who, or What, Shapes the Fate of the New States of East Europe?" Starr is past president of Oberlin College. He has advised three presidents on Russian affairs and served as a consultant to several post-Soviet governments.
At 3:15 p.m. Rasma Karklins, professor of political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago and past president of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, will give a presentation titled "Language, Demography and Political Community in Latvia."
Lubomyr Hajda, associate director of the Ukrainian Institute at Harvard University, will give a lecture titled "Democratization and Nation-Building in Independent Ukraine" at 4:15 p.m. He has written widely on population and culture issues in Ukraine and the Soviet Union.
Thursday's activities will conclude with a 7 p.m. keynote address by Paul Goble, assistant director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. His address is titled "Demography, Democracy and the Destiny of the Baltic States." Goble was a special adviser on Soviet nationality problems to the assistant secretary for European Affairs and desk officer for the Baltic States at the U.S. Department of State. He has written numerous articles on Soviet nationality programs and is a frequent commentator on post-Soviet affairs for the national news media.
A presentation by Toivo Raun, professor of history and chair of the Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, is slated for 10 a.m. April 3. His address is titled "Democracy and Ethnicity in Estonia." Raun has been a visiting professor at the University of Tartu, and he has written extensively about post-Soviet Estonia and Baltic history.
Alfred Senn, professor of history at UW-Madison, will give a presentation titled "Lithuanian Statehood: The Problem of Minorities' Loyalties" at 11 a.m. Friday. Senn witnessed the independence movement in Lithuania in 1990. In 1997, he participated in a conference in Lithuania on relations between Jews and non-Jews in East Europe.
Mark Beissinger, professor of political science and chair of the Russian and East European Studies Program at UW-Madison, will give the closing address, titled "Does Demography Matter? Citizenship and Identity in the Former Soviet Union," at 1 p.m. Beissinger has published on the topic of Soviet politics and society and served as a consultant on Soviet policy for national organizations.
A panel discussion featuring Beissinger, Goble, Hajda, Karklins, Raun, Senn and Starr will get under way at 2 p.m. Dr. Stephen Gosch, chair of UW-Eau Claire's history department and co-chair of the symposium, will moderate.
A reception for speakers and participants is slated for 4 p.m. Friday.
The symposium is funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support came from the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; UW-Eau Claire departments of history, political science and foreign language; the Center for International Education; Arts and Sciences Outreach/UW-Extension; and Karl Andresen, UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus.


UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: March 16, 1998