The 7th Nida Forum. The Shifts of the European Identity
6-7 of September, 2024 Curonian Spit History Museum

At the 6th Nida Forum, we suggested the topic Strong Together: The Diagnosis of the European Unity, and two of our speakers responded to it by presenting their reflections on the identity of their nations. This encouraged us to consider the shifts that the identity of not just individual nations, but also Europe as a whole has undergone over the past few decades. We mean a huge variety of aspects of such shifts. We could begin with an obvious fact that forgotten (?) states like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania up and reappeared in the map of Europe. But other countries of East and Central Europe, maybe less forgotten, had been separated from the normal development of Europe for a long time and just three decades ago reconnected with the rest. Not to mention the challenges of the last decades: throngs of refugees like Europe had not seen for a long time, the pandemic, and eventually, the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the war that Hamas is waging on Israel, or even the growing, threatening power of China.

All of those things have their effect on each of us, and through us, the current politics. The effect is slow and hard to observe, but unavoidable. We failed to properly appreciate the fall of the communist ideology, we are hard pressed to deal with the dangers of nationalisms, and we may ask if Europe today still remains an essentially Christian continent.

The Nida Forum is the place where questions like these may be pondered over more calmly, taking at least two days to remove ourselves from the constant and distressing flow of everyday events. 

Thomas Mann Cultural Centre

Neringa Museums
Neringa Municipality
Goethe Institut in Lithuania

Thomas Mann Cultural Centre is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture

VI Nida Forum 2023, 8-9 September 2023 Curonian Spit History Museum
Strong Together. The Diagnosis of the European Unity

Discussions of the European unity or lack thereof seem to be as old as the EU. Probably older, in fact. Nowadays they were first rekindled by Brexit, which appeared to indicate a lack of unity. At the time, speculations of the likelihood that the European unity might fall apart entirely became especially active. They quieted down during the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine has brought them to the extreme.

At the sixth Nida Forum, we will try to diagnose the European unity, well aware that the diagnosis may not be final, as life is more interesting than any prognostications we can make.

The questions are so numerous that they are more easily raised than answered. Is there something that we could call the basis for the unity of Europe or even, looking more broadly, of the West? To what extent is our unity dependent on the interests of each country? When we speak of unity, do we not have in mind a certain ideal which, like any ideal, many never really be achieved, but it is nonetheless worth trying? Is unity possible when the matter that we need to agree on is less deadly than the war in Ukraine?

We can continue this list almost forever. Let us wait and see how it will be continued by the speakers of the Forum, and what answers they will come up with.

September 8th (Friday) Curonian Spit History Museum

9.30 a. m. Opening

Morning session, chair Antanas Gailius

10.00 – 11.30 a. m. prof. Chantal Delsol (F)(Professor at L’université de Marne-la-Vallée, President of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences) „The West in Times of Danger: Remembering and Learning Again Together“

11.45 a. m.– 1.15 p. m.  dr. Bernardas Gailius (LT) (Historian, writer, Vilnius University)

“The Cold War as a Story of Western Solidarity”

Afternoon session, chair dr. Jogilė Ulinskaitė

3.00 – 4.30 p. m. Andrii Kurkov (UA)  (writer) “Is Ukrainian Identity Bulletproof?” 

4.45 p. m. Tour of Nida Landscape

September 9th (Saturday) Curonian Spit History Museum

Morning session, chair Antanas Gailius

10.00 – 11.30 a. m. Michael Wolffsohn  (DE) (Former professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, historian and public activist, online presentation, in German with translation to Lithuanian)

„6fold Germany“

11.45 – 13.15 Mohamed Amjahid (DE) (journalist, online presentation, in English language)

“Good refugees, bad refugees. Migration between Europe’s self-image and universal human rights

Afternoon session, chair dr. Jogilė Ulinskaitė

3.00 – 4.30 p. m. Dr. Jaroslaw Kuisz (historian, political analyst and essayist, Editor-in-Chief of “Kultura Liberalna).

“Between moral responsibility and trauma. How to speak of history and war in today’s Europe?”

16.45 – 18.15 Concluding discussion


8.00 p. m. Ukrainian Poetry. Translations read by Marius Burokas

September 10th (Sunday)

9.00 a. m. Holy Mass at the Nida church

Celebrated by fr. Antanas Saulaitis  SJ

Thomas Mann Cultural Centre

Neringa Museums
Neringa Municipality
Goethe Institut in Lithuania
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
Administration of the Curonian Spit National Park

Thomas Mann Cultural Centre is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture


The 5th International Nida Forum will take place on the 9-10th of September, 2022, in Nida.

In the Name of the Nation!
The threats of populism in Europe
As we continue to consider what – besides the pandemic or geopolitical challenges old and new – is causing ever greater headaches for Europe, we have all observed that here and there, the springs of populism burst out within it. And the problem is not exclusive to the so-called new Europe, the countries that have joined the community of democratic countries fairly recently. We also see manifestations of populism, for instance, in France and Germany. Dare we say that Brexit as well happened to a great extent because of populist motives.
Where do these groups, sometimes larger, and sometimes entirely insignificant, find the inspiration to speak “in the name of the nation”? Why do such groups often declare themselves the guardians of traditional national or religious values? Why do we think that populism is a threat to individual states or the whole European community? Couldn’t we just generalize that a certain degree of populism is a constant trait of democracy? Almost every political force must kowtow to the electorate and engage in a greater or lesser compromise.
Where does populism come from? Could it be our attempt to find simple answers to serious life problems, which, if swept under the rug, sooner or later still befall us in the shape of various crises? In other words, is populism an expression of our fear of living?
This is what the 5 th Nida Forum is about to discuss. It is a place were, for a single weekend, we can put our minds to the issues that cause us migraines.

September 9th (Friday)
History museum of Curonian Spit (Pamario str. 53, Nida)

9.15 am. Registration

9.30 am. Opening

Morning session, chair Antanas Gailius

10.00 – 11.30 am. prof. Dainius Žalimas (Dean, Faculty of Law, Vytautus Magnus University, former President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania)

  „The Constitution and Political Populism“

11.45 am – 1.15 pm.  dr. Jogilė Ulinskaitė  (Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science) 

“Where Does Populism Come From? Creation of Populism in Lithuania” 

Afternoon session, chair dr. Jogilė Ulinskaitė

3.00 – 4.30 pm. Edwin Bendyk (PL) (journalist, President of the Board of the Stefan Batory Foundation)

„Between Right-Wing Populism and Liberal Nationalism. Lessons from the War in Ukraine“

September 10th (Saturday)

Morning session, chair dr. Jogilė Ulinskaitė

10.00 – 11.30 am. Dr. Timothy Noble (GB/CZ) (Assistant Professor, Charles University, Prague, Protestant Theological Faculty)

 “A chosen race, a holy nation, Gods own people“: Populisms and their religious roots”

11.45 am – 1.15 pm. Darejan Jana Javakhishvili (GE) (Professor of Clinical Psychology, Tbilisi Ilia State University)

  “Collective Trauma, Populism and War: The Case Studies of Russia and Georgia”

Afternoon session, chair Antanas Gailius

3.00 – 4.30 pm. Sofi Oksanen  (Finnish writer) 

“Putin’s war against women”

4.45 – 6.15 pm. Dr. Thomas Arnold (DE) (Director of the Catholic Academy of the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen)

„The Longing for the Great Rupture. Die Neue Mitte in East Germany and the Reactions of the Churches“

8.00 pm. History museum of Curonian Spit (Pamario str. 53, Nida)
Poetry reading by Belorous poet Sabina Brilo, featuring herself and her translator Gintaras Grajauskas

September 11th (Sunday)

9.00 am. Holy Mass at the Nida Church


The presentations from the previous Nida Forums in the archive of the Thomas Mann Cultural Center