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INTRODUCTION

Mission
Rationale
The network’s history
Goals


 

Mission

Academic Network of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Scholars aims at promotion of a better understanding and tolerance in Eastern Europe and improvement of academic performance of historians in the region through creating the conditions for professional development, collaboration, and informational exchange among the Belarusian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and other scholars working on the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Rationale

Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) existed in the center of Europe on the junction of civilizations in the thirteenth-eighteenth centuries and comprised entire territories of contemporary Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine, partially Poland (Podliasse province), Russia (Smolensk and Briansk provinces), and Latvia. Mentality of the major part of Easter European population was formed mostly in frames of the GDL, being influenced by complex processes that took place there. It is impossible to explain contemporary political, social, economic and cultural situation in these countries without careful study of appropriate issues of the GDL history.

Various issues of the GDL history had been researched by historians, lawyers, linguists and other professionals during the last two hundred years; however, results of their findings were mostly formulated under the influence of ideological and political situation in their countries of origin. This situation even became more difficult in 1990s, when every new independent nation started to formulate its own theory of nation and state genesis. Thus, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is now said to be Lithuanian State in Lithuania, Belarusian - in Belarus, Ukrainian – in Ukraine. Although historians coming from the GDL successor states contributed largely towards study of certain GDL issues in frames of their national histories, it is vitally important to study shared history together to overcome theoretical, methodological and ideological limitations of national historiographies. We also hope that activities of the network would facilitate a better understanding among nations-successors of the Grand Duchy today.

The network’s history

The idea of creation of the international network of GDL Scholars emerged in Spring 2002 during one of the workshops that was conducted in frames of the project School of Young Belarusian Historians of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Consequently, project participants contributed largely towards establishing contacts with their colleagues abroad and a result, there was formed a core group of network coordinators from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Ukrainian. Immediately after that cooperation was started by means of electronic communication and resulted in first joint face-to-face activities: study visits, guest lecturing, research projects. Starting from the spring 2003 activities of the GDL Network are supported by CEP Academic Network Initiative Program. 

Goals

Networking
to involve CEP fellows and alumni, local researchers, professors, young scholars from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, other countries for exchange of experience and collaboration in field of academic issues of the GDL studies,

Informational exchange
to facilitate informational exchange on issues related to GDL studies internationally, including but not limited to the Internet,

Research
to initiate and conduct cross-border research projects on mutually important GDL issues and publish their results,

Professional development
to organize professional development events for scholars from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other countries that conduct research and/or lecture on the issues of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,

Promotion
to publicize results of the GDL studies internationally, especially in GDL successor states, including, but not limited to the scholarly community, and

Sustainability development
to establish steady professional links between the GDL scholars and facilitate the establishment of the Professional Association of the GDL Scholars.

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