On the 12th of October, the Baltic community and its friends assembled at the historic Cambridge Union Society to discuss science, politics and business of the future. The Cambridge Baltic Conference 2013 was the first large-scale initiative of its kind organised by the three Baltic societies of the Cambridge University. All three countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have been united through similar historical struggles, and shaped by the present challenges. This, in turn, provided a unique opportunity to gather together and share their experiences and to learn from other countries in the European Union.
The aim of the conference was to set new challenges and present new insights, which would benefit both the Baltic States and the members of the European community. The event, which included both, an international community and the leaders of the Baltics, provided an environment for discussion on the issues relevant to all three nations. It also created a forum to raise questions and matters relevant for the future development of the region, and to find new ways of working together.
The conference was divided into two main segments that were followed by a networking dinner at the Newnham College. The first part of the conference started with the welcoming speech by the Former President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus. After that, the participants were given a unique opportunity to listen to five inspiring speeches and engaging panel discussions lead by eminent speakers, who addressed the following themes: The Baltic States in the early 1990s: overcoming the legacies of Soviet rule by Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology at University College London Dr Richard Mole; Is a rapidly growing educational divide also a new long term Baltic predicament? by the former Minister of Education and Science of Latvia Dr Roberts Ķīlis; Spies, lies, Russia and the West by International Editor of The Economist Mr Edward Lucas; The Baltic vision for the future: scenarios for success by Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the European Parliament Mr Arnoldas Pranckevičius; and Alone or together? Strong or fragmented EU? by the Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas.
The second part of the day was more interactive, as it allowed the partakers of the conference to participate and work together in a set of workshops on topics such as Academia and Higher Education, Branding, Social and Political Development, and Innovation. The workshops were followed by the presentations of the findings of the workshops and, later, by a panel discussion that was moderated by Dr Ainius Lašas, a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations in University of Oxford and Mr Tim Hemmings, the Head of the Europe Internal Department at Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK).
The conference’s ambitious organisational team, mainly composed of Cambridge University students and young professionals, are very thankful to all presenters, workshop leaders, the Patrons of the event the British Ambassador to Estonia, Chris Holtby OBE; the British Ambassador to Latvia, Sarah Cowley; and the British Ambassador to Lithuania, David Hunt. The Cambridge Baltic Conference 2013 was supported by Enterprise Estonia, pan-Baltic law firm TRINITI, Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, and Cambridge University Societies Syndicate Fund. We also thank the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Embassies in the UK.
The Cambridge Baltic Conference 2013 team would like to thank everyone who were involved and supported the organisation and success of the event. We believe that this event contributed to the future ties of successful working partnerships and fruitful acquaintances. Also, we seek to organise an even more memorable conference come autumn.
Written by Regina Sirendi
About us in the media:
There will be four different workshops run on the following topics parallelly:
Cambridge Baltic Conference 2013 is jointly organised by three Cambridge University Baltic Societies:
The three aforementioned student societies have been established in 2008, 2011 and 2013 respectively with over a hundred of exceptionally bright and active full-time students from the University of Cambridge. The members of the societies are working towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in various disciplines. Together we build a friendly environment for sharing ideas and experience.
Although relatively new, CULS, CUEST and CULA have already proven solid organisation, clear vision and long term goals. Our successful past and present projects have included the Lithuanian Ideas Forum 2011, student mentorship project Academic Brother, Lithuanian Students Forum, interactive conference LINK2012, guest lectures by Prof Leonidas Donskis, Prof Ene Ergma, Prof Mart Ustav and classical music concerts by Algirdas Galdikas, Maksim Štšura and Rimantas Vingras. These events have attracted hundreds of people and have been highlighted in the media.