UCL SSEES: News 2007
Friday 16 November 2007
Professor Jacek Rostowski has been appointed as the Minister of Finance of the new Polish government formed by Donald Tusk. Jacek was a lecturer at SSEES until 1996, when he left to take the Chair at the Economics Department at the Central European University, Budapest. He last came to SSEES exactly one year ago to present a paper at the Centre for Social and Economic Change in Central Europe.
ALENA LEDENEVA AT THE INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, NEW DELHI
On 26 October this year Alena Ledeneva delivered a lecture at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi, chaired by the former Union Home Secretary and the Interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir, Mr N. N. Vohra.
The famous 1993 Vohra (Committee) Report studied the problem of the criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. The report stated that there has been a rapid spread and growth of criminal gangs, armed senas, drug mafias, smuggling gangs and economic lobbies in the country, which have over the years developed an intensive network of contacts with bureaucrats, government functionaries at local level, politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in non-state sector. Some of these syndicates also have international linkages including foreign agencies.
LANGUAGE EVENING CLASSES
Evening classes this year have experienced an unprecedented success in recruiting, with an increase of some 25% from last year.
Russian is still the most popular language but a number of other languages have moved on from beginners to intermediate and advanced levels. The number of languages represented covers the whole of the SSEES region.
There are now more external - non-UCL people - taking the language courses either for business or pleasure. Hard work and promotion had raised awareness of the language courses at SSEES and the prices for evening class courses have remained the same as last year.
Tuesday 30 October 2007
M B GRABOWSKI MEMORIAL LECTURE 2007
The Most Reverend Archbishop Józef Życiński, Dr Robin Aizlewood
and Mgr Tadeusz Kukla
The fifteenth M B Grabowski Memorial Lecture was delivered by Archbishop Józef Życiński, Metropolitan Archbishop of Lublin who spoke on 'The Church's Mission as a Commitment to Values in a Secular Society'. Archbishop Życiński spoke about the role of Christianity in transforming European culture and inspiring new values in a post-modern Europe and asked what would be the role of Christian values in a future society.
In May this year Archbishop Życiński received the prestigious Gazeta Wyborcza Person of the Year 2007 award for "defending the values of the democratic order and pluralism and his Christian witness to humanism and tolerance". The editor of the major Polish daily, Adam Michnik, commented on how he and his colleagues read the Archbishop's Letters to Nicodaemus which provided guidance to them during the difficult times of martial law in Poland.
Dr Robin Aizlewood introducing
The Most Reverend Archbishop Józef Życiński
Text of the Lecture
Friday 19 October 2007
A joint proposal for the project "The role of national and regional governance structures in explaining FDI flows" has been awarded ESRC funding. The proposal was put together by Tomasz Mickiewicz (UCL SSEES), Nigel Driffield (Aston University) and Sarmistha Pal (Brunel). The aim of the project is to examine the relationship between institutional governance arrangements (relating to corruption, business regulations, and protection of property rights, and financial regulation) and their impact on the nature, size and form of FDI flows in relation to the new CEE states and the EU 15 states.
The overall value of the project for the three partners if £156,000 with the ESRC contributing £125,000.
The project assessors commented that the proposal identified an "interesting and important area".
Friday 28 September 2007
DIPLOMA OF THE POLISH MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
On 21 September 2007, George Kolankiewicz * received the Diploma of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs for Outstanding Services to the Promotion of Poland in the World. The ceremony took place at the Belvedere Palace and amongst the 11 recipients there were representatives from China, India, Palestine, Japan and Ukraine as well as from the Palestinian Fryderyk Chopin Association. The group included writers, translators, publishers, pianists and composers as well as academics and religious. After presenting the Diplomas the Minister HE Anna E. Fotyga spoke to all the laureates who then attended a reception in the company of their guests including several ambassadors and then visited the rooms of the Palace.
* George Kolankiewicz is holder of the Chair in Sociology of Central Europe at SSEES UCL which is partly funded by the M BGrabowski Fund and is also Managing Director of the Centre for Language Based Area Studies (CEELBAS)
Polish report on the ceremony
WELCOME TO SSEES
Welcome to new members of staff. In the Social Sciences department: Eric Gordy, Senior Lecturer in South East European Politics; Svetlana Makarova, Lecturer in Comparative Economics; Allan Sikk, Lecturer in Baltic Politics; Yulia Rodionova, Teaching Fellow in International Economics. In the History department: Bojan Aleksov, Lecturer in South East European History; Kristin Roth-Ey, Lecturer in Modern Russian History. In the Russian department: Sarah Young, Lecturer in Russian. In EELC and the Language Unit: Rigels Halili, Nash Fellow; Titus Hjelm, Lecturer in Finnish Studies; Peter Zusi, Lecturer in Czech with Slovak Literature and Culture; Jurgita Azhar, Teaching Fellow in Lithuanian Language; Djana Čakarić, Croatian Lector; Eszter Tarsoly, Teaching Fellow in Hungarian Language; Riita Valijärvi, Teaching Fellow in Finnish Language. In Administration: Gemma Martin, General Assistant (Director's Office).
The Director is pleased to announce that SSEES has gained ESRC recognition for its PhD programme. In its Feedback Statement, the ESRC said, "We are very impressed with the PhD programme itself in terms of supervision arrangements and research training and the plan in place to enhance this under the rubric of CEELBAS."
BRITISH ACADEMY AWARDS
Congratulations to Polly Jones and Dennis Deletant who have both been awarded grants from the British Academy. Polly has a Small Research Grant of £3,000 for the project, 'Stalin after Stalinism. Images and Narratives of the Stalinist Past in the Khrushchev Era' and Dennis has received £5,098 to investigate the topic 'Britain and anti-Fascist and anti-Communist Resistance in Romania, 1940-1964'.
With great sadness we have learned of the deaths of Christopher Seton-Watson and Harry Hanak. Christopher Seton-Watson, the last surviving son of SSEES founder, Robert W Seton-Watson died on 8 September. A Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he had a distinguished career as a historian working mostly on Italy. Together with his brother, Hugh, he worked on a political biography of their father.
Harry Hanak, Reader Emeritus in International Relations, was a member of SSEES staff from 1964 to 1994. He died after a long illness.
Thursday 13 September 2007
During the summer a number of SSEES staff and research students attended the Fifth International Congress organised by the Society for Romanian Studies and held in Constanta, Romania. The Congress was attended by academics from Romania, Moldova, Western Europe and North America. A broad range of topics were discussed, including the history of the Banat, Moldavian and Wallachian involvement in the Crusades, interwar as well as contemporary politics, society and literature.
The photo shows the SSEES party with colleagues from the conference.
Further information on Romanian and Moldovan Studies at SSEES can be found here: http://www.ssees.ac.uk/romanian-moldovanstudies.htm
Tuesday 19 June 2007
VISIT OF THE SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER
On Tuesday last week, UCL-SSEES hosted a visit by Dr Robert Fico, the Slovak Prime Minister. After a discussion with the Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, Dr Fico held
an informal discussion with SSEES academics that dealt frankly and informatively with his government and Slovak domestic and foreign policy. In response to SSEES academics' questioning of his governing party's (SMER-SD ('Direction'-Social Democracy)) controversial coalition with the Slovak National Party (SNS) and
Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Dr Fico
emphasised the pragmatic rationale that underpinned this coalition.
His party had, he argued, shown itself able in government to pursue a
social-democratic agenda with success and without any undue influence
from his coalition partners. In the context of his decision to
withdraw Slovak troops from Iraq and of the US proposal for a missile
defence shield with forward bases in Central Europe, Dr Fico
underlined his sense of the need for Slovakia's overriding commitment
to the European Union and NATO. Dr Fico also discussed the continuing importance of the Visegrad group within the European Union and the often-sensitive question of Slovak-Hungarian relations.
At the conclusion of the meeting, SSEES Director, Dr Robin Aizlewood, said he hoped that the visit would encourage further scholarly collaboration between UCL and Slovakia.
Dr. Fico was a Masaryk Scholar at SSEES in the early 1990s.
Dr Pamela Davidson - Professor of Russian Literature
Pamela Davidson's recent research on Russian literature has centred on its links with the classical tradition, religion, and music. She is currently completing an annotated edition of an unpublished literary notebook kept by Mariia Grigor'evna Prokofieva, the composer's mother, in 1914-1917. The notebook contains philosophical aphorisms, comments on mysticism, and several poems (some by Prokofiev, others set to music by him); it reveals a surprisingly close relationship between Prokofieva's interests and her son's creative work at the time.
The next project for completion is a book on the image of the writer as a prophet in the Russian literary tradition.
Dr Sergei Bogatyrev - Senior Lecturer in Early Russian History
Dr Bogatyrev has edited and contributed a long essay to a collection of
articles which offers a major reinterpretation of the history of local
identities in Russia. He is currently working on a book on dynastic
and culture in Russia in the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries. Dr Bogatyrev
also acts as an editor for Kritika - Explorations in Russian and Eurasian
Dr Rebecca Haynes - Senior Lecturer in Romanian History
Rebecca Haynes researches on the history of Romania and Moldova, with special reference to the interwar period and the history of the Legionary Movement and
Monday 21 May 2007
UNVEILING OF THE PARES SILVER
On Friday 11 May SSEES welcomed HE Mr Yuri Viktorovich Fedotov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation and members of the family of Sir Bernard Pares at the unveiling of a display of a silver punch-bowl and salver with 18 goblets, a gift from the Third Duma to Sir Bernard. Each of the goblets is engraved with the signature of the members of the Third Duma and was presented to Sir Bernard in appreciation of his work in organising the first foreign visit of the Duma in 1909.
Accompanied by the Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, and Vice-Provost, Professor Michael Worton, the Ambassador was greeted by the Director and, after the unveiling, met SSEES staff and students before attending a lunch with staff and students from the Russian Federation from across UCL, including SSEES.
During his visit the Ambassador and members of the Pares family viewed archive material relating to the Duma visit, from the collections of UCL SSEES Library.
Further details on the background to the silver and photographs of the Ambassador's visit are available.
Monday 14 May 2007
CROSS OF POLONIA RESTITUTA
Congratulations to Tomasz Mickiewicz who received the Cross of Polonia Restituta from the President of Poland in recognition of his involvement with the Movement for the Defence of Human Rights (ROBCiO). Tomasz was the youngest person among those awarded on this occasion. The movement was formed in March 1977. He joined slightly later, when he was still at secondary school in Warsaw.
In 1979 the group published a monthly magazine that had the widest circulation of any independent publication addressed to schools in Poland. It is mostly for this that the award was given. Its motto was "we prefer dangerous freedom to safe slavery" - a quote from a seventeenth century Polish nobleman. Later on, Tomasz was active both in Warsaw and Lublin, including during the first nine months of martial law that he spent in hiding. Of this time Tomasz says "sometimes it was fun, sometimes it wasn't."
Pictured in the photo, Tomasz with Polish President Lech Kaczyński and two other colleagues with whom he published the magazine.
Tuesday 15 May 2007
ALEXANDER NOVE PRIZE 2005
Congratulations to Andrew Wilson who was awarded the Alexander Nove Prize, 2005 at the BASEES Annual Conference for his publications: Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World and Ukraine's Orange Revolution (both Yale University Press, 2005).
In making the award the judges commented, "The publication by a single author of two such different but equally distinguished books in a single year is in itself a major feat of academic productivity, for which Wilson deserves to be warmly commended. Both books, too, combine high scholarly standards with great readability. In all respects, therefore, Andrew Wilson is a very worthy winner of the Nove Prize for 2005."
LAUNCH CONFERENCE FOR CEELBAS
In April the launch conference for the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies (CEELBAS) was opened by Professor Malcolm Grant, Provost and President of UCL who welcomed the collaboration and role of SSEES in the Centre. In his opening address, Rt Hon Charles Clark MP, confirmed his commitment to the Language Based Studies initiative - in which he had played an instrumental part - and its strategic importance for the UK in advancing its expertise in the countries of Eastern Europe. Charles Clark stressed the significance of the kind of critical mass of the universities that comprise CEELBAS.
Adrian Alsop, Director of Training at the Economic and Social Research Council, emphasised the importance of training located in expert excellence. Dr Robin Aizlewood welcomed speakers and delegates to the two-day conference.
For more details see: http://www.ceelbas.ac.uk/research/launchconference
BULGARIAN EU ACCESSION AT UCL
The accession of Bulgaria to the European Union was celebrated at UCL with an exhibition of posters in two alphabets: Latin and Cyrillic, entitled From A to Z& Я.
The authors of the Latin Alphabet collection were world-famous graphic artists from the renowned Pentagram design studio in New York. The Bulgarian artists created a Bulgarian alphabet poster collection which tackled the controversial issue of the "advantages" and "disadvantages" of the use of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Jointly sponsored by the Bulgarian Embassy and UCL SSEES with the support of Vice-Provost, Professor Michael Worton, the exhibition was inaugurated by HE Dr Lachezar Matev, Bulgarian Ambassador to the UK with Bojidar Ikonomov, President of the Organizational Committee of the International Triennial of the Stage Poster.
SSEES Director Dr Robin Aizlewood, with HE Dr Lachezar Matev, Bulgarian Ambassador to the UK,
and artist Bojidar Ikonomov
Wednesday 28 February 2007
OUTSTANDING WOMEN STUDENTS' AWARD
Congratulations to Olivia Noble who has been awarded £1,467.00 toward a research trip to Ukraine under the "Gay Clifford Bursaries for Outstanding Women Students" scheme.
Olivia, whose research topic is Multidimensional Poverty and Subjective Well-being in Ukraine, this week met members of Victor Swoboda's family to receive a scholarship from the Victor and Rita Swoboda Memorial Fund for Ukrainian Studies. The Fund was established in 1992 by Rita Swoboda, in memory of her husband, Victor, who for many years taught Ukrainian at SSEES.
Friday 16 February 2007
GOMBROWICZ AT UCL BLOOMSBURY THEATRE
A production of "Ferdydurke" performed by the Teatr Provisorium theatre company opened at the Bloomsbury Theatre this week to a full house. Based on Witold Gombrowicz's satirical novel of 1937, the production has enjoyed four years international touring winning awards and accolades along the way.
Theatre Coordinator, Frank Penter, commented that the run had been one of the most successful drama productions at the Bloomsbury.
Following the opening night a reception was held which was addressed by the Director of SSEES and the Director of the Polish Cultural Institute, Paweł Potorocyn and attended by Rita Gombrowicz, the author's wife.
Former director George Kolankiewicz, who was involved in setting up the visit, said he hoped the event heralded a period of cooperation between SSEES, the Polish Cultural Institute and the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre for future such activities.
To accompany the production three film screenings on Gombrowicz's works and his life in exile were held at SSEES.
Friday 9 February 2007
On Wednesday this week the Director successfully presented the case for two new posts in Baltic Studies to the Provost for support from his Strategic Fund. In approving the bid the Provost wrote that the project is intellectually imaginative and exciting and builds not only upon the great strengths of SSEES but also on the broader strengths of UCL.
The bid was developed by the Director, the Deputy Director, Wendy Bracewell and the Assistant Director, Maria Widdowson in collaboration with Mary Hilson of the Scandinavian Studies Department and Richard Bellamy of the Department of Political Science.
The Second International Conference of CULPOLANG, a project devoted to the development of multi-media solutions to the learning of Polish language and culture, was held in the UCL Council Room last Friday. Teachers of Polish from British universities, UCL and CETL staff and Polish educational institutions in the UK listened to speakers Nigel Gotteri (Sheffield University), Waldemar Martyniuk (Council of Europe), Paweł Poszytek (Fundacja Rozwoju Systemu Edukacji) and Małgorzata Litwinowicz (Institute of Polish Culture, Warsaw University).
The opening address was delivered by HE Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecińska, the Polish Ambassador to the UK following a welcome from the Director. The conference was held in collaboration with Warsaw University, the Warsaw Centre for Student Research and Education and Vilnius University.
More photos here
Thursday 8 February 2007
GOMBROWICZ ON SCREEN
To coincide with the Teatr Provisorium production of 'Ferdydurke' at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, SSEES and the Polish Cultural Institute will be holding a series of film screenings based on Gombrowicz's novels and biographical details. All screenings will be held at 4.00pm in Room 347, on the 14, 15 and 16 February, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Further details of the UCL Bloomsbury production can be found here.
Monday 5 February 2007
ROMANIA IN THE EU: THE WAY FORWARD
On 1 February UCL-SSEES hosted a panel discussion on "Romanian in the EU; the way forward", organised by the Masaryk Society. HE Adrian Vieriţa, Romanian Deputy Foreign Minister and Secretary of State for European Affairs, gave the opening address and participated in the lively question and answer session following presentations by Mark Field MP, Professor Tom Gallagher (Bradford University), Dr David Phinnemore (Queen's University, Belfast).
The panel was chaired by Dennis Deletant, Professor of Romanian Studies at UCL-SSEES. Before the event HE Adrian Vieriţa met with the Director and Professor Deletant to discuss the promotion of Romanian Studies at UCL.
Friday 26 January 2007
THE LWW-CETL LANGUAGE SPACE
On Tuesday 23 January Professor Malcolm Grant formally opened the LWW-CETL Language Space in UCL. The Language Space has been designed to foster innovation and good practice in language teaching; in particular, it aims to support the use of blended and interactive learning environments and new learning technologies. It offers an experimental environment where teachers are able to realise their ideas with pedagogical and technical support. The presentation of CETL work at the Opening included the innovative use of interactive whiteboards and other projects involving a number of SSEES staff, including Lydia Buravova, Dorota Hołowiak and Aniela Grundy.
A reception to mark the de jure recognition of Latvia by Britain on 26 January 1921 was held at the Latvian Embassy this week. In a short talk, Richard Butterwick sought to unravel the complex events of 1915-1921 in the Baltic, and to assess the British contribution to Latvian independence. Britain was the first nation to recognise Latvian independence.
SPEAKER TO THE POLISH PARLIAMENT
Friday 19 January 2007
On Thursday 18 January the Director hosted a visit by HE Marek Jurek, Speaker to the Polish Parliament (Sejm), who was on an official visit to meet British parliamentarians. Mr Jurek was accompanied by HE Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecińska and a delegation from the Foreign Relations Bureau of the Polish Parliament, as well as members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Following a presentation by the Director on the School, its history and activities, including CEELBAS and IMESS, the Speaker responded with a short speech. In this he praised the work of UCL-SSEES, particularly in its mission of providing an understanding of the countries of the region and their integral role in Europe.
Other members of SSEES, both staff and students also spoke, as well as the President of the newly-formed UCLU Polish Society.
SSEES PHOTOGRAPH COMPETITION
The winner of the SSEES Photograph Competition, Elizaveta Litvinova, receives a £100 cheque from Dr Robin Aizlewood. The second year EBEES student took the winning photograph of the Charles Bridge in Prague during a visit in Spring 2005. It will now appear on the front cover of the SSEES Undergraduate departmental booklet for 2008 entry.
A selection of the competition entries may now be viewed online.
Thursday 18 January 2007
APPOINTMENT OF FIRST CEELBAS POSTDOC
SSEES has appointed its first CEELBAS postdoctoral research fellow, Meike Wulf, who will be working on the Cities and Urban Experience CEELBAS theme. A programme of seminars and workshops associated with this Fellowship will soon be publicised. The CEELBAS consortium members at Oxford and Birmingham are also in the process of appointing their postdoctoral fellows and SSEES will soon be in a position to appoint its second Fellow in the area of health studies.
CEELBAS will also be holding a start-up conference on 19-20 April 2007 where it will seek to address the emerging research agenda in the key areas covered by the initiative and which coincide with the fields of the postdoctoral appointments.
More information will be published as soon as the new CEELBAS web page is up and running.
The second round of CEELBAS, MRes and PhD scholarship applications is getting underway, with a deadline for receipt of applications in SSEES of 16 March 2007. Potential applicants should be encouraged to apply and alerted to the deadline.
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