French and Lithuanian Scholars Discussed the EU at VMU
On the week before Easter, the VMU Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy together with the Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris) held the first international seminar-roundtable discussion, European Union = Europe? The students here shared their insights on identity, changes of values, the role of religion and politics in the context of Europe and the EU. Discussions also touched upon the EU’s bilateral and multilateral relations from both political and economical perspectives.
In the opening session, the VMU Vice-Rector for Public Communication Prof. Auksė Balčytienė greeted the audience and said that events like this one are an opportunity to expand the geography for the discussions of the future of Europe and the EU. It is also an excellent opportunity for the academic youth from diverse countries to develop personal relations which, in the long run, contribute to the creation of a common European identity.
The discussions took on the subject of European and the EU borders, locations that Lithuania and France occupy within them and the two countries’ inter-relations and influence on formulation of policies. The European Commission‘s delegate in Lithuania Marlène Chéreau from Fance spoke at the event, saying that she sought to not just express her opinion but also open the doors for further debate and hear what the young generation of Europeans thinks about the future and the values of Europe and the EU. After outlining the historical transformation of values and challenges to identity, the EC official ended her speech with Victor Hugo’s poetic quote addressing future generations. This paved the way for further talks, which were meant to aid in the understanding of how alike or different Lithuanian and French youth’s viewpoints on various questions – from hot political topics to the issues of religion teaching at schools or book publishing – can be.
“I am glad to have participated in this intellectual forum and the opportunity to exchange diverse academic experiences”, Master’s degree student at the VMU Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy Jurgita Jakevičiūtė said. Clémentine Anglès, a student at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, added that she found it pleasant to talk about how much the EU and Europe have to offer. In short, the discussion revealed that young people care about European issues and their own country’s path in search of European Union’s identity.
It was the first but hopefully not the last opportunity of such kind. After the event, representatives of both universities agreed to retain friendly relations, organize new projects, possibly hold students’ reciprocal visit to Paris – a trip to the country which was one of the instrumental founders of the European Community.
You are welcome to view the photo report by Jonas Petronis (firstname.lastname@example.org).