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.

Thomas Mann Cultural Centre

Neringa Museums
Neringa Municipality

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