The program of the two-day conference included a number of reports presenting the history of Polish education in the territories of today’s Belarus, but also the history of repression that the authorities — Russian, Soviet, Belarusian — used against Poles who wanted to teach and be educated.
Russification was consistently conducted, but there were also secret Polish schools. The papers referred to both ancient and modern times. As Marek Zaniewski, vice-president of the Association of Poles in Belarus, said, official Polish education was liquidated in Belarus. — However, Polish schools have a future ahead of them, I believe that they will be reborn in the upcoming years — commented Professor Nikolai Ivanov.
A key issue of the conference were also discussions. The discussion opening the event was devoted to Poland’s policy towards minorities in Belarus in light of the events of 2020-2023. On the following day the debate was held under the slogan “Politics and education: Polish education in Belarus. History — current state — perspectives”.
The conference also included a presentation by Stanisław Niciej “The Borderland Atlantis — between history and modernity”. During the second day of the conference took place the ceremony of granting awards of the Association “Polish Community”. Awards were granted by the President of the Podlasie Branch, Anna Kietlińska.
Among the participants present at the conference were: Mariusz Maszkiewicz, Poland’s Ambassador to Belarus, Artur Michalski, former ambassador to Belarus and Moldova, Jarosław Książek, PhD, former Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Grodno, Cezary Karpiński, Director of the Polish Institute in Minsk. Robert Tyszkiewicz, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Belarus and a member of the Commission for Contact with Poles Abroad, was also present.
The conference, prepared by the Center for Eastern European Studies and the University of Warsaw, has a long tradition. It was originally held in Belarus, but due to the political situation in our eastern neighbourhood, it was moved first to Lithuania, then to Poland. The conference was held in the Sybir Memorial Museum in Białystok for the second time.