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Symposium on East Europe slated for April 8-9

RELEASED: March 28, 2011

Paul Goble
Keynote speaker Paul Goble, specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia.

EAU CLAIRE — The 12th annual Symposium on East Europe will be held April 8-9 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The topic of this year's symposium is "Twenty Years After: What We Have Learned and What We Have Failed to Learn." The two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the economic, political and social changes that have occurred have been replete with opportunities realized and lessons missed.

During the two-day event, the visiting dignitaries — all of whom are shapers of policy and academic specialists in East Europe — will give members of the campus and greater Eau Claire communities expert analyses of the resurgence of Russia, the policies of the U.S. and the economic and political uncertainties ahead.

Maciej Kozlowski
Maciej Kozlowski, Polish ambassador to Israel, returns to Eau Claire with "Recipe for a Bloodless Revolution."

The symposium is free and open to the public.

It has been two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, yet the 50-year Soviet domination still casts a shadow (the occupation of the mind) over the people. According to Dr. Paulis Lazda, UW-Eau Claire professor of history, the topic of a people overthrowing oppressive authority to reclaim their freedom and to deal with the complexities of reestablishing democratic traditions has special relevance today as the world witnesses the struggle for democracy and the overthrow of dictators in the Middle East.

The symposium will begin at 1 p.m. April 8 with remarks and welcomes by Lazda, chair of the symposium, and Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich, UW-Eau Claire chancellor.

The speaker schedule is as follows:

April 8:

  • 1:15 p.m. — Maciej Kozlowski will give the opening presentation, "Recipe for a Bloodless Revolution." Kozlowski will share his perspective as a journalist for the influential Polish dissident newspaper, Tygodnik Powszechny; as a top member of Solidarity; and since independence, Chargé d'affaires to Washington, ambassador to Israel and special ambassador for Polish and Jewish affairs.

  • 2 p.m. — Žygimantas Pavilionis will reflect on "Twenty-One Years after March 11, 1990: Achievements, Failure, Future Missions." Pavilionis is Lithuania's ambassador to the U.S. and negotiated Lithuania's accession to the European Union and NATO after its own bloody revolution.

    3 p.m. — Dr. Nancy Wingfield will present "Antipodes? Twenty Years of Postcommunism: the Czech Republic and Ukraine." Wingfield is a professor of history at Northern Illinois University, co-author of "Return to Diversity" and an authority on the Ukraine and Czech Republic.

  • 3:45 p.m. — Andrejs Pildegovics will consider Latvia as a "Paradigm of Change: 20 Years Ago and 20 Ahead." Pildegovics is a Latvian ambassador to the U.S. and served as a senior adviser to Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

  • 4:30-7 p.m. — Dinner break.

  • 7 p.m. — Paul Goble will give the keynote address, "Twenty Years of Baltic Independence — a Little or a Lot?" Goble is a former State Department Baltic desk officer, director of Radio Free Europe and an author, journalist and blogger for "Window on Eurasia." He also is an adviser to former President Meri of Estonia, professor at the Azerbaijani Diplomatic Academy and back by popular demand.

  • 8-10 p.m. — Reception for speakers and attending audience.

April 9:

  • 10 a.m. — Guntars Krasts will focus on the important question of security, economics and political culture in shaping the nation in "Gain, Disillusion and Pain, or the Sweet Burden of Independence." A leading participant in Latvia's independence movement, Krasts is former prime minister of Latvia, a member of the European Parliament and an envoy for the European Union to Moldova.

  • 11 a.m. — Margus Kolga, Estonia's ambassador to the United Nations, was a prominent leader in the independence movement in Estonia. He will analyze the special Estonian perspective and experience in "From Soviet Serfdom to Self-Confident Statehood."

The program will conclude with a panel discussion from 2-4 p.m., a lively exchange of views among participants and another opportunity for members of the audience to take part with questions and comments.

All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

For more information about the symposium or to arrange for interviews with the visiting professors and diplomats, contact Dr. Paulis Lazda at 715-836-4735 or



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