For the Center for Belarusian Studies, 2014 began with the success of several events. The focus of these events centered on the formal presentation by retired ambassador David Swartz as the keynote speaker for the Michaelson, Briner, & Kildahl Symposium held at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.
His presentation, Diplomacy: Values, Assumptions, and Sensitivities was followed by a round table event with Stanislau Shushkevich (first head of state of Belarus), Ivonka Survilla (Head of the RADA of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, and Ambassador Swartz. The panel, Disengaging East-Central Europe from the East: European Security and North American Interests – the Belarus Model, considered many of the energies and scenarios that ironically have begun to emerge as a result of Russian military action and expansionism policies. As the CBS/Wartburg events emphasize, the reality of the tensions for Ukraine and for Belarus were and continue to be identified and considered by academic and opposition forces. It is then partly at this level that policy makers should gauge the climate for tension and for political change in Belarus and elsewhere.
An additional guest at the CBS events represented Belarusian Diaspora communities in the United States. Hanna Surmach is the president of BAZA (The Belarusian American Association). She attended the sessions and participated in media interviews as well as the diplomatic moments that celebrated the coming together of these key figures on Wartburg’s campus. The Center for Belarusian Studies is grateful for the strong and dynamic connections we enjoy with the Belarusian community. Ms. Surmach also serves as editor for the key Belarus-language newspaper of the community Belarus. In the last issue, she provided a detailed chronicle of events during what has been dubbed Belarus Week. The article is posted on the CBS site with permission.
PHOTOS from Symposium