A convention jointly sponsored by the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) and the International Association for the Humanities (Slavic acronym: MAG), took place at Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine, June 26-28, 2016.

ASEEES is a member society of the American Council of Learned Societies; MAG was established by advisers as an outgrowth of  the ACLS-administered Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.   The Carnegie Corporation of New York funded the Humanities Program, 1998-2010, and provided travel grants to support the Lviv convention.

The Lviv event followed the pattern of a learned society annual meeting in the United States.  More than 500 scholars attended over 240 panel sessions during the three days of the convention.  Speakers addressed topics in 19 subfields, from history, literature, and linguistics, to film studies, sociology and international relations.  MAG held a business meeting to plan future conventions.

But there were significant differences.  The Lviv convention brought together academic communities from several world areas. Participants came from Ukraine and surrounding countries—Belarus, Russia, Central Asia—and from the European Union, as well as from North America.  Four languages were officially in use: Belarusian, English, Russian, and Ukrainian.

Another difference was that the convention took place in a country at war.

An international, multi-language gathering of scholars in Ukraine was, therefore, an act of academic solidarity.  The presence of many colleagues from Russia was powerfully symbolic.  Scholars have a special role to play in fostering mutual understanding.

The partnership of two sister learned societies was a notable milestone.  Although ASEEES is a much older and larger association, MAG is quickly gaining stature as the representative of humanities scholars in Eastern Europe.  Andrzej W. Tymowski, ACLS director of international programs, describes the convention as a cooperation of voluntary associations in his  article “Tocqueville in Ukraine: Civil society in the academic community” published in the MAG journal, TheBridge-MOCT.