This year, a new Baltic Geopolitics Programme is being launched by the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University (UK). Its main aim is to increase understanding of the geopolitics of the Baltic Sea Region, its historical links with the UK, and the geopolitical challenges facing the United Kingdom today, both within and outside the UK academic environment.
The programme was initiated by the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge and Charles Clarke, former Secretary of the Interior for the United Kingdom. As early as at the end of 2020, information about the programme was distributed to the embassies of the Baltic Sea States to the United Kingdom and to the embassies of the United Kingdom to the states in the Baltic Sea region. On 20 January 2021, the public virtual launch event took place, with the keynote introductions given by President of the Republic of Estonia HE Kersti Kaljulaid, Adviser to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson prof. John Bew, Cambridge University professor David Abulafia, and a renowned British writer and journalist, author of the book on the New Cold War and other works, Edward Lucas.
An informal network of 10 institutions, the Baltic Geopolitics Network, has been set up to support the programme and promote studies of the Baltic Sea Region. In the establishment of the network, together with the units of the Universities of Cambridge, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Glasgow, Greifswald, Helsinki, Latvia, Tartu, and Uppsala, Institute of Baltic Regional History and Archeology (KU BRIAI) of Klaipėda University took place. Many of the researchers in the network have been collaborating before, especially in the field of research in history and political sciences. The network is expected to both develop these contacts and also increase interest in the Nordic-Baltic region in the United Kingdom, which recently left the European Union. On 20 January 2021, Vasilijus Safronovas, Director of BRIAI KU, also participated in the first meeting of all the representatives of the network, and possible directions of cooperation and specific activities to be promptly implemented were discussed.
“Joining the Baltic Geopolitics Network initiated by Cambridge University is another confirmation that the research of Klaipėda University historians are respected both in Lithuania and far beyond. The activities of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archeology are one of the strengths of the University. Therefore, we can only enjoy partnership with one of the most authoritative research institutions in the world,” says KU Rector prof. dr. Artūras Razbadauskas.
Having become one of the founders of the network, the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archeology of Klaipėda University expects to contribute to the main goals of the network and the programme. Since its establishment in 1992, the Institute has been focusing its research activities on the cultural heritage of the Eastern Baltic coastal regions between the Vistula and Daugava rivers and the cultures and societies of these regions from a historical perspective. Constantly looking for new ways to integrate into the context of historical and archeological research in the Baltic Sea Region, through its research, the Institute has contributed to the opening up of culturally distinctive regions to the wider European area. The 2nd cycle study programme History of the Baltic States, implemented in the Institute since 1997, also expands knowledge of the most important social and cultural changes that took place in the Baltic Sea Region in the 16th to the 20th centuries.
“We trust that the activities in the international network initiated by Cambridge University will contribute to the most important task of BRIAI: to increase the visibility of the Baltic Sea Region and its topicalities in the world,” says Vasilijus Safronovas, Director of BRIAI KU.
For more details about the programme and the network activities, see: https://www.cfg.polis.cam.ac.uk/programmes/baltic