Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Europe, Eurasia and Asia

More than 60 scholars, veterans and emerging, from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, gathered physically or digitally on November 25-26th 2021 at RMIT University’s European Union Centre of Excellence. The conference was jointly sponsored by AACaPS (Australasian Association for Communist and Post-Communist Studies) and ESAANZ (European Studies Association Australia and New Zealand).

Amidst a raging global pandemic which respects no boundaries, it was more than appropriate for scholars to be presenting and reflecting on array of topics that went beyond any one nation state in terms of place and time. Hence the broad geographical and temporal lenses, from Central Asia to the Balkans, from the Second World War to post-Cold war conflicts and relations. Hence too the sweep of approaches: from literature, geo-politics and economics to diplomatic, environmental and cultural considerations.

Among the highlights were:

  • a keynote speech on ‘How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World’ by Professor Juliet Johnson MacGill University
  • a special presentation on the ‘Road to Peace and Cooperation’ in Nagorny Karabakh, by His Excellency Dr Alexey Pavlovsky Ambassador of the Russian Federation.
  • ‘The Flight of Soviet Refugees to Iran, 1928-1933, a novel paper by Marcus James (ANU) and ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education as a Threat: Voices of University Lecturers in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan’ an insightful analysis by Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva,  which won the conference PhD awards.

Conference participants were privileged to see a special showing of a celebrated documentary directed by Petar Bojovic tracing the human side of Europe’s migration crisis in the Balkans: ‘Routes: Humanising the journey.’

Warmly received were keynote addresses by two longstanding, distinguished members of AACaPS:

  • Emeritus Professor Graeme Gill, on ‘Democracy and Dictatorship’ in Post-Soviet Russia
  • Emeritus Professor Leslie Holmes on the ‘Decline of Neo-Liberalism in Europe and Asia.’

Graeme and Leslie’s engaging addresses were capped off with celebrity presentations for their years of service: glass trophies and hoodies appropriately emblazoned: ‘Russian Soul Here’! A fitting end to an excellent conference!

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