The International Postgraduate Conference on CEE

View of the UCL SSEES library from the atrium

View of the UCL SSEES library from the atrium

The first International Postgraduate Conference on Central and Eastern Europe was held at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1999. Since then it takes place bi-annually at UCL SSEES and in the remaining years it is hosted by different institutions around the world. Previous hosting institutions include the University of Warsaw and UC Berkeley and more recently the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Babeş-Bolyai University and the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca.

From 19-21 February 2014, the conference returns to University College London. Having received a record number of applications this year, we expect over 140 postgraduate research students and post-doctoral researchers from almost 100 different UK and foreign universities, national science academies and think tanks.

The Conference aims to provide an opportunity for postgraduates and young academics from across the world whose research involves Central and Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union to present their work. Even more importantly, it enables them to exchange ideas and build contacts with international colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines.

The conference is organised by PhD students with the help of the SSEES administration and Professor Martyn Rady, the school’s head of postgraduate research. In a commitment to keep costs for participants low and enable PhD students from Eastern Europe to attend the conference, it is largely dependent on funding and tries to use its resources the best way possible.

SSEES and University College London

The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL SSEES) is one of the world’s leading specialist institutions, and the largest national centre in the UK, for the study of Central, Eastern and South-East Europe and Russia. It was founded in 1915 by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (later elected first President of Czechoslovakia) as a part of King’s College but then functioned as an independent entity within the federal structure of the University of London. In 1999 SSEES merged with University College London and in 2004 moved into its new building. The building houses teaching rooms, offices and with close to 400,000 items in store one of the largest libraries on East European studies in the world.

View of the UCL main building at Gower Street | photo via wikimedia commons

University College London was founded in 1826 and is one of the oldest English universities and the first university to be entirely secular. UCL was furthermore the first university in the UK to admit students irrespective of their race, religion and social class as well as the first university to admit men and women on equal terms. UCL is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world (e.g. the QS World University Rankings have ranked UCL as 4th best university in the world for two years running) and prides itself in being a research-led institution.

UCL’s alumni include well-known inventors and politicians such as Alexander Graham Bell, Mahatma Ghandi and the current president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, but also all members of the band Coldplay and Christopher Nolan (director of ‘Inception’ and the latest Batman trilogy).