Baltic Research Unit (BRU)
Head: John Hiden
The Baltic Research Unit was successful in securing the only Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC) funded post to be awarded to British universities in the summer of 1996, following an extensive review of their teaching and research on Central and Eastern Europe. Whilst the first government funded post which BRU secured under the Wooding scheme a few years ago focused on Russian-Baltic relations, the new appointment is intended to reflect the growing importance of the wider Baltic region in the process of European enlargement. Important security issues also arise from the inclusion of Scandinavian powers and the prospect of the three Baltic states eventually becoming full members of the EU. Other Baltic security related issues, such as citizenship, economic reform and democratisation, increasingly preoccupy BRU members and the new HEFC appointee, David Smith, will significantly enhance the Unit's capacity to analyse developments.
David Smith, who was originally a student in Modern Languages, is currently producing the final draft of his dissertation on citizenship issues in Estonia. He reads Russian and Finnish and is currently acquiring a reading knowledge of Estonian. In general, the language expertise of the Baltic Research Unit is set to expand in the coming year. Professor J Hiden, who already uses Swedish and German sources, is also learning to read Estonian and, with David Smith, has begun to take Lithuanian classes for BRU's current Lithuanian visitor. Mr A T Lane and Dr V M Housden are learning Polish. A number of research students working on Baltic themes are also learning Baltic languages. Currently, one of these, Kozue Kuriyama, is working in Tallinn on the theme of the survival of Estonian culture and a second, David O'Brien is conducting research on political development in the Republic of Latvia with special reference to the role of social democracy. Since summer 1996 he has been projects consultant to a number of organisations in Latvia.
BRU continued to produce important academic work during the past year. Mr Lane edited and published a two volume reference work on European Labour, which involved some 50 individual contributors from Europe and the United States. Many of the entries in the volume cover leaders in Scandinavia and the Baltic region as well as Poland. Dr Housden, who received a British Academy's Small Research Grant and a Nuffield grant, continued to research German occupation policy in Poland, publishing an important article in German History this year. In addition, his research on 'Memory and the Holocaust' inevitably touches on events in the Baltic countries as well as Poland. Professor Hiden completed the work on editing nine volumes of Foreign Office papers relating to Scandinavia and the Baltic states 1918-1939 and these were published in June of this year. He was also given a British Academy's Small Research Grant to work on the life and ideas of Paul Schiemann, a leading Baltic German politician in Latvia between the wars, the editor of the main German language newspaper in the Baltic states, the Rigasche Rundschau and a key figure in interwar minority issues. Professor Hiden worked in Riga in October, examining the private papers of Paul Schiemann in the Baltic National Library, as well as the minutes of Schiemann's party in the Latvian State Archives. Dr A Heywood is on study leave and currently working in archives at Moscow and St Petersburg with the aid of a British Academy grant.
Like Dr Housden, Professor Hiden combines Baltic with German research and both produced new books on Weimar and the Third Reich. Their cooperation has also given rise to a new joint project comparing the roles of Britain and Germany in Baltic security in the present century. This project has now received funding from the British Council for the next three years and will be conducted in conjunction with the Baltic experts at the University of G"ttingen.
Both Professor Hiden and Mr Lane gave a number of papers relating to contemporary aspects of the Baltic region. Mr Lane spoke on the Baltic states, the EU and Nato at the conference of the Association of Contemporary European Studies at Birmingham in September 1995. Together with John Hiden he took part in the Conference of the American Association of Baltic Studies in Boston, Mass., in July 1996. Mr Lane spoke on 'The Baltic states and the enlargement of Nato' whilst Professor Hiden talked on the subject: 'All small states now. Current Baltic Security Issues'. Baltic security issues also formed the core of Professor Hiden's talk at the Cambridge Symposium on The International Relations of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Selwyn College, Cambridge, July 1996 and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in November of this year. Both Mr Lane and Professor Hiden held discussions on Baltic security with other academics at the University of St Petersburg in November 1995. David Smith gave a conference paper on 'Nationalism in the New Europe: the Restorationist Principle in Post-Communist Estonia' presented at the Conference on the 'Ethnicity and Nationalism in the New Europe', University of Central Lancashire, September 1995. The paper was later accepted for publication in "Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russia, the CIS and the Baltic States" (Dartmouth publishers, forthcoming). He also attended a conference 'Estonia: a Development Agenda' held in London, March 1996, and gave a poster presentation 'Legal Continuity and Post-Soviet Reality; the Containment of Ethnic Unrest in Estonia 1991-5'. In January 1996 he was interviewed by Birna Helgadottir of 'The European' newspaper for an article on Russians in the Baltic States and in April 1996 undertook a one week research trip to Estonia. In July 1996 he attended a Santander Group seminar on 'European Developments in the 1990s' at the University of Exeter and presented a paper outlining structure of PhD thesis.
Finally, BRU continued to maintain its links with government. David Smith accompanied Professor Hiden to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 1995, where they introduced a seminar on Political Developments and Security Issues in the Baltic States. David Smith addressed citizenship issues whilst Professor Hiden spoke on the political systems and on security issues. In January 1996, Professor Hiden was back at the FCO introducing a briefing lunch on developments in Latvia for the new British Ambassador to Latvia, Nicholas Jarrold. The latter held a dinner for Professor Hiden during his visit to Riga in October, at which a number of key Latvian political figures were present.
European Briefing Unit (EBU)Head: Margareta Holmstedt
The European Briefing Unit was established in 1989 to deliver in-service training in all aspects of Europe and the European Union for the public and voluntary sectors. The Unit also provides tailormade courses for different organisations delivered on their premises. The main part of the Unit’s courses deal with different aspects of applying for European funding and managing EU-funded projects. The Unit also organises study tours to the European insitutions in Brussels and Luxembourg once a year. The Unit delivers over 80 training days per year both in the UK and in other European countries.
The major activity centred around training courses on EU-funding, covering the application process, project management, audits and final claims procedures. These courses were very popular and in many cases were oversubscribed.
In April, the European Briefing Unit, together with the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, held a three-day European conference at the University, focusing on children separated from their birth parents. The conference attracted over 180 participants from 15 countries, and featured a number of high profile speakers including Mr Paul Boateng, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health.
The Unit also delivered one-day conferences on new EU funding initiatives, i.e. Capacity Building and changes to the European Social Fund.
The European Briefing Officer was invited to deliver courses for a number of organisations in Sweden.
The European Briefing Unit newsletter "Alert" maintains a large number of subscribers.
The Unit was in the second year of its involvement with the European-funded COMENIUS project "My Europe".
Unit staff represented the European Briefing Unit on the DfEE Steering Group investigating the need for National Vocational Standards for Economic Development and European Liaison.
Two new workshops have been designed and will be delivered in the next academic year in colaboration with the Directory for Social change.
Research Unit on European/Latin American Relations
Head: Roberto Espíndola
This unit is also unique in the UK, and acts as a focus for those studying Latin America in neighbouring universities. The unit has a wide range of academic and official contacts throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and is engaged in research, briefing and consultancy activities. It has been endowed with the Blakemore Collection, a 2,000-volume collection housed at the Universitys Library.
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