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Lancaster University’s East European societies are coming together to host The Party of the Seven Crowns at Oscar’s Wine Bar and Bistro on Friday Week 4. The first joint event between the Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Kazakhstan and Bulgarian societies, the organisers hope it will be the beginning of greater collaboration between peoples with a shared culture and history and an opportunity to promote integration and end negative stereotypes.
Organisation between the several East European societies has only become possible this academic year because several societies only received official recognition from LUSU since the start of Michaelmas term. Highlights of the event include music provided by DJ NafroB and a photographer. The event aims to create, as Ksawery Lisiński, President of the Polish Society, describes “a new brand of party event”. It is not exclusive to East Europeans however: “The party is directed not only to the members of the organising societies, but to all Lancaster students. The more international the environment the better,” says Lisiński.
SCAN spoke to a number of the organisers of The Party of the Seven Crowns. Ksenia Lebedeva, Social Secretary of the Russian Society and Vice President of the Latvian Society, hopes the event will “gather the East European countries for one evening in one place to get acquainted with new people, share some experiences, find people who follow the same ideas as you do and just spend some amazing time together.” Iveta Kazlauskaitė, Secretary of the Lithuanian Society told SCAN that the “Seven Crowns Party is a great opportunity to meet people from other countries and make international friends. We know how important networking is these days. Considering the growing importance and rapid development of Eastern Europe, connections made during the party might be very useful one day.”
Lisiński stresses the importance of integration: “We share common, often problematic, history and joint events like this allow us to discuss and exchange views. We all suffer from strong stereotypes about our culture, countries and history- this is a chance to have a fresh start, to prove we are better than many believe we are. Events like this are supposed to bridge that gap between the East and the West that we still see today.”
Kazlauskaitė also talks about dispelling negative stereotypes. “People tend to gather impressions of countries and its citizens based on what they hear or see on the media. I would like to believe that our generation no longer believe in stereotypes created by the media, however there is no doubt that they exist. Although our event is not aimed at changing people‘s perceptions, we definitely welcome people to attend our social event, who maybe still have not got to know people who are from this region and study here in Lancaster.”
Lisiński is keen for further collaborations between Lancaster University’s East European Societies. “The discussion between students may eventually lead to organising a joint academic event dedicated to discussing politics or economics of Eastern Europe. The current developments in Ukraine, the growing importance of Poland, the reign of Vladimir Putin are among the most crucial debating points when talking about the European Union. Also, many of us agree that this year was an insufficient commemoration of the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Therefore there is plenty of room for development and I believe our societies will seize that opportunity.”