Simonas Kairys after visiting Sejny and Krasnogruda: “Big ideas are born in small centres of the world“

Date

2021 07 01

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The Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys visited Sejny, Wigry and Krasnogruda (Poland) for two days this week. The Minister of Culture, who visited locations near the border with Lithuania, said that the especially rich cultural and intellectual life here is worth special attention and makes one re-think the specificity of the periphery.

 

Together with the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of Poland Prof. Piotr Gliński, Simonas Kairys attended a discussion entitled “Culture as the Connective Tissue of Europe. The Role of Cultural Cooperation Between Lithuania and Poland”, which was held at the International Centre for Dialogue in Krasnogruda. The discussion was organised on the 30th of June, which marked the 110th birth anniversary of the poet and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Czesław Miłosz. Also, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the “Borderland of Arts, Cultures and Nations” Centre and the 10th anniversary of the International Centre for Dialogue established in the Krasnogruda Manor.

Before the discussion, the Minister Simonas Kairys visited the “Borderland of Arts, Cultures and Nations” Centre in Sejny, where he met with the centre’s founders: its president and one of the most famous intellectuals of Poland, Krzysztof Czyżewski, as well as his wife Małgorzata Czyżewska. Together with the founders of the “Borderland” Centre, Kairys visited the premises of the centre in Sejny as well as the White Synagogue and the old yeshivah: the spaces where the centre is currently organising various cultural activities that focus on the local multicultural history and nurture intercultural dialogue.

“The borderland region of Poland is well-known to many Lithuanians. However, the encounter with the activities of Borderland and the International Centre for Dialogue opens up a completely different understanding of this location, which is important to both countries. Making use of the concept of the little centre of the world, formulated by Krzysztof Czyżewski, I would like to encourage all of us to more frequently direct our attention towards such little centres of the world, where big ideas are born and significant societal changes take place. It is a great delight to see that Lithuanian creators, intellectuals and historians have also contributed very significantly to the activities of the “Borderland” and the International Centre for Dialogue”, Simonas Kairys said.

During their visit in Sejny, both ministers of Lithuania and Poland also visited the Sejny Basilica, where its former priest, writer Antanas Baranauskas is buried, and placed flowers next to the nearby monuments to Baranauskas and victims of Smolensk.

On the eve of the discussion, the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys and Prof. Piotr Gliński held a meeting at the Wigry Monastery, where they discussed current affairs of cultural policy as well as the key directions of the EU recovery funds’ investments in culture and the intersections between cultural and education policies.

Photo by Danuta Matloch. Left to right: one of the founders of the “Borderland” Centre Krzysztof Czyżewski, Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys and the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of Poland Prof. Piotr Gliński.