Category Archives: Plenary

An Afternoon with Baltic Writers

Moderator: Violeta Kelertas with participants:

Karl Jirgens, Daiva Markelis, Birutė Putrius Serota, Antanas Šileika

The Economic Crisis in Latvia: A Success Story?

Vyačeslavs Dombrovskis (member of the Latvian Parliament)

Latvia’s economic crisis will likely enter economics textbooks as one of this century’s most striking and controversial episodes. Some observers, most notably Anders Aslund, herald it as a success story, an example of how a democracy (!) can overcome a deep economic crisis by defying conventional wisdom, implementing one of the most decisive fiscal adjustments (around 15 percent of GDP) and refusing to devalue its currency. Other observers, such as Paul Krugman, point to the extraordinary recession, which comes second only to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The figures are as follows. Latvia’s GDP declined by 21 percent from 2007 to 2010, unemployment peaked at 20.7 percent, real estate prices fell peak to trough by about 60 percent, about 10 percent of the population emigrated during the last ten years, and Latvia’s poverty rates are among the highest in Europe. Clearly, Latvia’s experience raises a number of important questions. Was the extent of the preceding macroeconomic imbalances largely to blame for the deep recession? Or, was it the government policies? Was internal devaluation a sound decision? What lessons does Latvian experience offer to other countries, notably other troubled Eurozone economies? During the last few years the speaker has been an Assistant Professor of economics at Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, an active blogger and commentator on economic policy issues in Latvia, and, as of recently, a member of Parliament and one of leading politicians in the newly created Reform party. His presentation will combine these three perspectives to offer a critical assessment of the Latvian experience with the crisis.

Keyword: Vyaceslavs

The Baltic Countries in a Globalizing World: The Next Twenty Years

Moderator:   Bradley D. Woodworth (University of New Haven / Yale University) with panelists that include:

The Ambassadors to the United States-

Marina Kaljurand (Estonia)

Žygimantas Pavilionis (Lithuania)

Andrejs Pildegovics (Latvia)

They will be joined by

Benjamin Rhodes (Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting to the President of the USA)

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall (Senior Director for European Affairs National Security Council, The White House)

Prelude to Baltic Linguistics: Baltic Languages and Nations in Renaissance Europe

Pietro U. Dini (Università di Pisa)

In my speech, I intend to draw up the guidelines of an inquiry into
linguistic historio­graphy within Baltology. The 16th century has
notoriously been the saeculum mirabile in the field of Baltistics because
written languages emerged at that time. Linguistic ideas, however, were
already present in the Baltic area before the first written monuments.
Balticists have investigated the documents, but have disregarded the
contemporary linguistic ideas which were well diffused both in the
Central-Eastern and in Central-Western Europe.

The speech draws attention to the linguistic theories on the Baltic language
known and circulating prior to the 16th century during the so-called
pre-scientific linguistics (Paleocomparativism and/or Pre-comparativism). It
focuses on the origin of Baltic Linguistics and comments on the
multiplicity, variety, simultaneousness and sincretism in linguistic
theories. The speech covers each specific aspect and the relationships
among them. I will present a comparative synopsis of each of the three main
theories about the Baltic languages expressed by authors of the 16th
century, namely: 1) the Slav and the Illyrian theories; 2) the Roman theory
and its variants, 3) the so-called Quadripartite theory. I also mention
minor theories as the Prussian theory and the Hebrew Theory. Finally, I will draw some general conclusions.