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Past as Prelude: Polish-Ukrainian Relations for the Twenty-First Century

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30 June – 1 July 2015

Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

An international conference on the future of Polish-Ukrainian relations.

Since 1989, Poland and Ukraine have developed a constructive political relationship that may stand as one of the most remarkable political and social achievements of recent European history. Yet hopes for the future have also been intertwined with more difficult discussions of an often tumultuous shared past.

At this conference, we considered how the delicate negotiation between past and future might continue to develop in circumstances of increasing regional instability after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In this broad context of external threat, we proposed to re-examine the foundation of strong Polish-Ukrainian relations, which have become crucially important for Europe’s future.

By bringing together scholars and stakeholders from diverse intellectual and political spheres, we cultivated an open exchange of ideas yielding coherent new pathways for the future development of Polish-Ukrainian relations.

Yaroslav Hrytsak (Ivan Franko State University, L'viv)

Norman Davies (St. Anthony's College, Oxford)

Frank Sysyn (University of Alberta)

Robert Frost, University of Aberdeen

Serhii Plokhii (Harvard University)

Mykola Riabchuk, Paweł Kowal, Sławomir Sierakowski, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Karolina Wigura, Uilleam Blacker, Frank Sysyn, Robert Frost.

Stanley Bill, Andrzej Szeptycki, Igor Lyubashenko, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Ola Hnatiuk, Łukasz Adamski, Serhii Plokhii, Yaroslav Hrytsak


Conference speakers included:

Łukasz Adamski (Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue, Warsaw)

Uilleam Blacker (University College London)

Norman Davies (St. Antony's College, Oxford)

Robert Frost (University of Aberdeen)

Ola Hnatiuk (University of Warsaw)

Yaroslav Hrytsak (Ivan Franko State University, L'viv)

Tadeusz Iwański (Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw)

Paweł Kowal (former delegate to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee)

Igor Lyubashenko (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, and New Eastern Europe magazine)

Serhii Plokhii (Harvard University)

Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern (Northwestern University)

Mykola Riabchuk (Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Kyiv)

Sławomir Sierakowski (founder and editor-in-chief of Krytyka Polityczna magazine)

Frank Sysyn (University of Alberta)

Andrzej Szeptycki (Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw)

Evhen Vorobiov (Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw)

Karolina Wigura (co-founder and head of political section of Kultura Liberalna magazine)


Monday, June 29

Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College

Films about Reconciliation

17:30   Three Stories of Galicia

19:00   My Friend the Enemy

– followed by Q&A with director Wanda Koscia


Tuesday, June 30

William Mong Hall, Sidney Sussex College

10:00   Welcome: Stanley Bill and Rory Finnin

10:15   Opening Presentation: Frank Sysyn

11:00   Session 1: Current Crisis

            Yaroslav Hrytsak

            Bartosz Kramek

            Andrzej Szeptycki

            Karolina Wigura

13:00   Lunch

14:00   Session 2: Historical Perspectives

            Łukasz Adamski

            Robert Frost

            Ola Hnatiuk

            Serhii Plokhii

16:00   Coffee break

16:30   Round Table 1: Reconciling the Past


Wednesday, July 1

William Mong Hall, Sidney Sussex College

10:00   Welcome: Stanley Bill and Rory Finnin

10:15   Opening Presentation: Norman Davies

11:00   Session 3: Kultura Today

            Igor Lyubashenko

            Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

            Mykola Riabchuk

            Paweł Kowal

13:00   Lunch

14:00   Session 4: Changing Paradigms

            Uilleam Blacker            

            Tadeusz Iwański           

            Sławomir Sierakowski

            Evhen Vorobyov

16:00   Coffee break

16:30   Round Table 2: Forming the Future



We would like to thank the following partners who helped make this conference possible:

The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London
The Foundation for Polish Science
The M. B. Grabowski Fund
The Oxford Noble Foundation
The Polish Cultural Institute in London
The Zdanowich Fund of Trinity College