On December 7, Rector of Klaipėda University prof. dr. habil. Eimutis Juzeliūnas signed a cooperation agreement Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Winfried Böttcher, Head of Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute. Under this agreement, the first German research institute in the Baltic States begins to operate at Klaipėda University. On December 8, a scientific discussion Regional Europe took place whose aim was to present the aims and aspirations of the Institute to the KU academic community.
Klaipėda University, a University of the Baltic Sea Region
The Rector of Klaipėda University, who addressed the guests in German, said it was an exceptional event in Klaipėda University. “Today, when regional policy is important both for Europe and the world, we have to understand that Klaipėda University is not merely a university of the Western Lithuanian Region, it is also part of the Baltic Sea Region. I am happy that Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute will carry out its activities and foster German culture in Klaipėda University,” said Juzeliūnas. In his opinion, the agreement signed on December 7 was an important step in seeking to improve the academic cooperation in the region and to foster internationalism at KU, especially as the University intends to expand its activities on the Baltic Seacoast.
Prof. Böttcher, Head of Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute, explained that the Institute stopped its activities at Kaliningrad State Technical University in 2015 due to political circumstances and aggressive Russian foreign policy. During the decade of its activity in Kaliningrad, around 250 students from 20 countries (USA, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Georgia, Poland, and other) graduated from it. From now on, the Institute will organise international studies at Klaipėda University.
W. Böttcher presented the programme of the scientific discussion Regional Europe: “Today, we are receiving outstanding experts of European regions who will share their knowledge and their vision of the future of Europe. Bernd Hemingway, Deputy Director-General of the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, will give a presentation The Significance of the Council of the Baltic Sea States for the Nordic Region, and Karl Heinz Lambertz, Chair of the European Committee of the Regions, European Union in Terms of Cities and Regions: Assessment of the Current Situation.“
The event was attended by representatives of German universities: prof dr. Franz Knipping (University of Wuppertal), dr. Joachim Rogall (University of Heidelberg), and dr. Jan Ulrich Clauss, Scientific Leader for Strategic Development of Gustav Stressemann Institute (Bonn). Klaipėda University was also visited by the alumnae of Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute Joanna Szymanska and Anna Sharapova. The Mayor of the City of Klaipėda Vytautas Grubliauskas and member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Algimantas Kirkutis also took part in the event.
Supported by the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany
Executive Director of Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany dr. Arūnas Baublys read a congratulations letter of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany to Klaipėda University: “I did not want to change the world, I wanted to help people understand it. That was the statement of Klaus Mehnert who founded the Institute in 1981. The aim of the Institute was to help people of different nations to understand one another, to start a dialogue, and to cooperate. The Federal Foreign Office congratulates Klaipėda University on the occasion of its warm hosting of Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute and supports the idea financially.” As the letter stated, the Institute will cooperate with the Thomas Mann Museum, Simon Dach’s House, and other places in Lithuania and the region which foster German culture.
Klaus Mehnert European Studies and Research Institute in Germany was based on the European Academy of Aachen. The Institute actively cooperates with the University of Rostock. On 15 September 2017, Klaipėda University also signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Rostock. In September 2018, a joint European Studies master’s programme of Klaipėda and Rostock Universities will be launched in the Faculty of Social Sciences of KU. The language of instruction will be German. The academic staff will be professors of German universities and prominent scholars and politicians of EU institutions. Klaipėda University will admit students not merely from the EU member states, but also from Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, etc.