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More than 60 Canadianists from 12 countries took part in the First International Conference on "Canada in the European Mind" between 24-27 October 2002 in Debrecen, Hungary. Over 50 papers were presented in all areas of Canadian Studies from literature to sociology both in English and French. The participants included Mr. Alan Bowker, Director of International Academic Relations Department, DFAIT, from Ottawa as well as Mr. Ronald Halpin, Ambassador of Canada in Budapest who talked about the relationship between Canada and Hungary. The plenary speaker was Professor Tibor Egervári from the University of Ottawa. After several years' attempt and hard work, Don Sparling managed to realise the formal establishment of the Association of Central European Canadianists which will include members from Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Yugoslavia and Hungary.
Chers membres de l'AECEC,
J'espère que vous êtes tous en bonne santé et que vous prenez particulièrement soin de vous en ces temps de pandémie.
The network of Central European Canadianists is doing well. Set up a few years ago as a flexible structure of intercommunication among Canadianists and centers of Canadian Studies in the countries of Central Europe, the network is steered by a Committee made up of representatives of seven countries in the region, with Don Sparling as their president, in his double quality of specialist in Canadian Studies and of Canadian resident in the Czech Republic.
The first conference of the network took place in November 1998 in Brno, Czech Republic. The second conference was held this year, between 26-28 October, in Bucharest, Romania.
The proceedings brought together researchers and academics from different fields, but specializing in Canadian Studies. The participants came from 8 Central European countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Romania, as well as from Canada, France and Germany. The topic of the conference was Individual and Community: Canada in the Twentieth Century. Representatives of the Canadian Embassies in the respective Central European countries also took part in the conference, as well as high officials of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. The conference was also a good opportunity to debate the transformation of the network of the Central European specialists in Canadian Studies into an International Association of Central European Canadianists, with the aim of achieving a better cooperation and of promoting vaster research projects involving higher education institutes.
The fifty-five papers presented in the 3 sessions of the conference (cultural representations; poetic, dramatic and fictional discourses; politics and institutions) led to animated discussions, fertile debates and exchanges of ideas that may bear fruit in definite future projects of cooperation. The general meeting of the participants pronounced themselves favourable to the idea of transforming the network into an International Association of Central European Canadianists, whose structure and constitution will be established in the months to come. At the conference two important related events took place – the launch of the first issue of the Central European Journal of Canadian Studies, and of the volume of the proceedings of the first Brno conference.
The conference was organized by the Canadian Studies Center of the University of Bucharest on behalf of the Central European Network of Canadian Studies, benefiting from the generous support of the Canadian Government.