As a closure to this wonderful summer, alongside an enthusiastic international group, our Association had the privilege to hold its Conference on Historical and Cultural Understanding in Central-Eastern Europe in cooperation with ISHA Budapest and our mentor, Tihany Centre for Political Analysis. The event started on the 25th August, in Budapest, where our diverse group of people spent an evening getting to know each other. After a night well spent, our train left in the morning to Tihany and arrived just in time to occupy our accommodation at the breath-taking shores of Club Hotel Tihany.
As the conference aimed to find common grounds between Central European countries, it’s only natural we’ve started the chain of events with the country presentations prepared by the participants. People came from several different nations (from West to East): the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, Romania and even Syria. The presentations were spiced up by some local delicacies brought to us by our guests.
Several prestigious experts held lectures regarding different issues of Central-Eastern Europe:
Gábor Szentiványi, Former Deputy State Secretary, Former Ambassador of Hungary to Great Britain, Sweden and The Netherlands brought us a historical overview of cultural development, emphasizing the similarities between regional people.
Elena Jeremova, Deputy Head of Mission to the Embassy of the Czech Republic gave us a lecture on the views of her homeland on recent challenges of Europe, Czech EU-presidency included.
Hakan Akbulut, scientific researcher of the Vienna-based ÖIIP explained the ongoing struggle of Turkey regarding its integration into the European communities, both from a cultural and an institutional point of view
Grzegorz Piatkowski who came from the Polish Jagiellonian University shared his thoughts on all the similarities and differences among our countries in general. He managed to give us fresh perspectives on the above mentioned topics and also introduced the point of view of Poland on many questions regarding our cooperation and possible security issues.
Beside lectures, a couple of workshops helped to gain insight to actual issues and theoretical questions, especially from the angle of different cultures. These discussions were also presented in groups, evaluated by our lecturers. The group with the best performance even received a little token of appreciation.
Beyond the hard work and the professional aspect, we wouldn’t forget to enjoy the exquisite Balaton scenery along with the delicious local food and sights to see. Regarding the aim of our Conference, we certainly believe that in spite of practical difficulties, these few days definitely reached their goal. We, as participants arrived there with similar interests and life goals but from different cultures, and left as friends, with a deep understanding of what it means to be part of any nation in today’s Central-Eastern Europe. Although times can be problematic in the region, its inhabitants have yet to lose their sense of humor – and neither are they planning to do so.