Talking with the enemy

Over 200 researchers of the Cold War are attending the Annual Aleksanteri Conference in Helsinki this weekend. The conference addresses in particular the co-operation that the Eastern and Western Bloc carried out regardless of their ideological opposition.

 The Berlin Wall

Small actors will be highlighted: Eastern Europe’s small countries, individuals and organisations.

The conference is arranged by the ”Knowledge through the Iron Curtain” project co-ordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute and which seeks new research perspectives related to the Cold War.

“The aim of the conference is to test whether there is international interest in the subject," says Suvi Kansikas, a dissertation researcher working on the project.

Interested parties were indeed found: over three days, a total of as many 46 panel discussions will be arranged, with up to six discussions running at the same time. Based on advance registration, the turnout will be excellent.

Keynote speakers include, among others, Jadwiga Staniszkis, an active member of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s as well as a professor of sociology at the University of Warsaw; and Yale Richmond, an ex-diplomat for the United States to Eastern Europe, and a specialist in intercultural communications.

However, Kansikas os most looking forward to the main speaker on Saturday, Nadia Arbatova, professor and Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), who will speak about modern Russia in the international system. Kansikas’ own dissertation, due to be completed in the next year, deals with the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) and its relationship with the European Economic Community (EEC).

This is the ninth Annual Aleksanteri Conference. The ”Knowledge through the Iron Curtain” project lasts three years, and is being funded by the Academy of Finland.

Conference website » »
"Knowledge through the Iron Curtain" project » »
Nordic partners:
the NORCENCOVAR project » »
and the NERU project » »

Text: Mervi Itkonen
Picture: Thierry Noir, Wikipedia

News of the month »»
News archive »»
University of Helsinki