The Institute of Slavic Studies at the Technical University of Dresden is a place, where the whole Slavonic world can be found under the same roof. The emphasis is being placed on Russian, Polish and Czech language and culture. However, increasingly more attention is given to other Slavonic cultures, especially to those, which are barely known even among the Slavicist scientific community. Thus, this year a semester-long seminar “Belarusian Language and Culture” was organized. The special emphasis was placed on the interaction of the Belarusian national culture with other cultures and languages which are present in the region.
The highlight of the seminar is a week-long tour to Belarus, which is currently taking place (the 27th of May – the 3rd of June, 2007). Before going on a trip, the seminar participants have prepared themselves by studying Belarusian history and language, reading Belarusian literature and discovering Belarusian art and culture.
Office for a Democratic Belarus was approached by the organizers of the seminar, who were eager to discuss the political and cultural context of the present-day life in Belarus with the students. On the 23rd of May, Alexander Kudrytski, Project Manager at the Office, went to Dresden where he met with the group of students and delivered them a lecture about the state of culture in Belarus and its interconnection with politics. The lecture was preceded by the screening of the documentary film “Monologues” (by Aleh Dashkevich), and followed by the lively discussion with the seminar’s participants.
“I presented the view of the independent Belarusian society to the students”, says Alexander Kudrytski. “It is very much likely, that they will also learn contradicting viewpoints, when they come to Belarus. Hopefully, by comparing them, the students will be able to judge independently and analyze the situation in Belarus based on the versatile information they have received”.
Office for a Democratic Belarus has also donated 12 DVDs with the films of different Belarusian directors to the Institute of Slavic Studies. This video collection will be available to all the students of the University, interested in Belarusian culture. Hopefully, this will also be a first step to creating a small Belarusian information centre in the Technical University of Dresden.