Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science
Institute of International Relations and Political Science or IIRPS (Lithuanian: Vilniaus universiteto Tarptautinių santykių ir politikos mokslų institutas) is a branch of Vilnius University which prepares political science and international relations specialists and carries out policy research. This is one of the most prominent social science institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic sea region.
IIRPS prepares three degree programs: Bachelor of Political Science, six graduate (master's degree) programs - European Studies, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Diplomacy, Public Policy Analysis, Politics and Media and Eastern European and Russian Studies (the latter is taught in English), and also postgraduate studies. Currently there are more than 750 students studying in IIRPS. As of 2015, 1830 students have defended BA and 1072 masters students have defended their MAs as well, while 51 students defended political science PhD dissertations.
The director of the Institute since June 10, 2009 has been professor Ramūnas Vilpišauskas.
The Institute of International Relations and Political Science (IIRPS) of Vilnius University was established on 7 February 1992 by the agreement between Vilnius University and the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania. It became the first political science research institution in independent Lithuania. Having commenced its activities with a two-year programme in international relations, at present IIRPS VU is a faculty-level core academic unit of Vilnius University, wherein studies in political science on all three levels (bachelor, master and PhD) and scientific research are conducted.
While first focusing mostly on educating the future members of the Lithuanian diplomatic corps, the Institute has gradually enlarged its program to include subjects relevant to public administration, non-governmental and private institutions.
Directors of the institute
From 1999 to June 2009, professor Raimundas Lopata served as the director of the Institute. Lopata is the member of European Humanities University International Relations Master's program advisory council, the Association President of Republic of Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation, the editor of magazine Political Science, a board member of the journal Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review, Deputy Editor of Lithuanian Political Science Association Board.
Current director of the IIRPS is professor Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, who was reelected in 2014. Ramūnas was formerly a President of the Lithuanian Political Science Association (2003-2004), a member of the Board of the Open Society Foundation (2002-2004), a member of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA, USA). For several years he has consulted the Lithuanian Government on the process of accession into the EU, worked as a consultant with the authorities of Georgia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Azerbaijan on the issues of European integration. A member of the Lithuanian Progress Council (since 2010) and the „Sunset“ Commission (since 2009).
Institute of International Relations and Political Science offers a bachelor's program, which aims to provide general knowledge in political sciences. Political science - broad social science discipline that combines sociology, economics, philosophy and other disciplines elements that deals with society, the state and its domestic and foreign policy. Here the wide variety of methods are applied.
Eastern European and Russian (EERS) Studies
At the Institute of International Relations and Political Studies six master programs are being taught. The Eastern European and Russian studies are being taught in English.
Eastern and Central Europe (EERS) is one of the most dynamic regions in the world having undergone significant transformation. It is not uncommon for developments in the region to influence behavior of some global actors, such as EU, US and Russia, which on their behalf have a significant role in shaping reality throughout most of the Eastern and Central Europe. EERS Studies include a 1.5-year long programme which provides knowledge and skills enabling to conduct independent analysis and evaluation of developments in EERS countries and in the region as a whole. Students acquire knowledge about domestic policies of the Eastern European states and Russia: their historic development, political and economic systems, and decision making mechanisms. Furthermore, students analyse foreign policies of above-mentioned states: the processes of interstate cooperation and the specifics of foreign policy. They choose the elective courses on the relevant problems in the regions.
Doctoral Studies Political Science PhD program. This is the highest political science study cycle which prepared doctors in political science, developing the political science in Lithuania. Political Science doctoral include: doctoral studies, baseline studies and preparation of the dissertation. Since 1992, 51 students were awarded the PhD degree at the Institute (June 2015).
Departments and centres
The structure of the institute is composed of 3 departments and 3 centres, namely:
- Department of European Studies. Head of the department is Prof. dr. Gediminas Vitkus.
- Department of International Relations. Head of the department is doc. dr. Tomas Janeliūnas.
- Department of Political Theory. Head of the Department is prof. dr. Alvydas Jokubaitis.
- Centre of Public Administration and Policy Analysis. Head of the Center is prof. Vitalis Nakrošis.
- Centre of Russian and Central Eastern European Studies Centre. Members: Assoc. prof. Dovile Jakniunaite (head of the centre); Assoc. prof. Natalija Arlauskaitė; Dr. Nerijus Maliukevičius; Assoc. prof. Vladas Sirutavičius; Assoc. prof. Inga Vinogradnaitė; prof. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas.
- Centre of Nordic Europe Studies. The head of the centre is dr. Liutauras Gudžinskas.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Military Academy and other partners, IIRPS conducts research in the area of domestic policy, governance, international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy of both Lithuania and other countries. The Institute organizes international annual conferences and guest lectures. Recently, IIRPS has taken part in co-hosting Baltic Development Forum, which included such prominent guests as President of EC Jose Manuel Barroso, Deputy Director of WTO Rufus H. Yerxa. Institute’s guests included such figures as NATO General Secretary A. F. Rasmussen and OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.
Some of the projects the Institute has successfully participated in:
- Russia and the Wider East Central Europe: A Fundamentally Transformed Relationship. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate dialogue and mutual understanding between Russia and East Central European (ECE) countries in addressing bilateral and regional issues of common interest and concern. The project applies an extended rather than a narrow definition of the region and seeks to address relations of Russia with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. IIRPS was given a grant by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
- Russia's search for identity and political practice, 1990-2010. The goal of the project is to analyse the variety and rivalry of identity discourses in the new Russian state in 1990–2010 and to reveal how this constant conceptualization is manifesting itself through political practices and contributes to the formation of the contemporary politics. Instead of unitary depiction of Russia (e.g. as “new empire”, “post-totalitarian state”) the project seeks to demonstrate how different actors participate in the process of Russia’s identity representation and how different ways and means are used in creating these representations, thus showing the inconsistencies, breaks and variety of the newly created and modified identity discourses.The discourses of the government (power) and specialised/expert discourses which have certain relationship to power or are cooperating with it (media, the community of historians, cinema, academic, legal discourses) are analysed.
Apart from scientific papers prepared by IIRPS VU scientists the Institute issues periodicals wherein results of scientific research are published.
- “Politologija”. The quarterly journal devoted to political science published since 1999.
- Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review. Published in cooperation with the Lithuanian Military Academy of General Jonas Žemaitis. The goal of the paper is a complex and permanent analysis and summation of the essential changes taking place on the international, systemic, regional and national planes, which are important to the Lithuanian national security.
- Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review. Published in English in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania in English since 1998.
- Lithuanian Political Science Yearbook. IIRPS VU issues the yearbook of Lithuanian political science wherein articles of Lithuanian politologists devoted to the policy theory, public administration, international policy and other topics are published.
- Post Scriptum. Newspaper “Post Scriptum” issued by the IIRPS VU student corporation “RePublica” twice a year wherein students make an attempt to go deeper into important public phenomena, try to assess various social processes in an analytical way, seek the meeting grounds for the attitude towards the underlying problems shaped by different academic subjects.
The Institute's scientists are known to the public as experts. To name a few, the list would include
- doc. Alvidas Lukošaitis
- prof. Dr. Vitalis Nakrošis
- Laurynas Kasčiūnas, advisor of the previous chairwoman of the Seimas
- dr. Klaudius Maniokas
- dr. Natalia Arlauskaite,
- prof emeritus Evaldas Nekrašas, member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
- prof. dr. Ainė Ramonaitė
- prof. Egidijus Kūris, former Constitutional Court judge
- Ingrida Šimonytė, former Minister of Finance
Notable alumni include:
- Colonel to the Military Academy of Lithuania Gintaras Bagdonas
- the Lithuanian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Spain Audra Plepytė
- the Lithuanian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for the United States and Mexico Žygimantas Pavilionis
In 2015 the Alumni Association was established at the IIRPS, VU with an aim to assist students and help them to adequately prepare to enter the professional life and the career.
IIRPS student corporation "RePublica"
Corporation RePublica is an independent, non-political, public organisation uniting present IIRPS students and its graduates. Founded in 2011, RePublica is the oldest in the institute among the students' organisations. The colors of the corporation are gold, black, red, and the slogan is "Loyalty! Knowledge! Nobility!" The corporation consists of junior, seniors, and philistines.
RePublica publishes a thematic newspaper Post Scriptum, organizes conferences, seminars, meetings and public events. Established in 2002, Post Scriptum is published twice a year and distributed free of charge.
Scientific Students' Society
Students' Scientific Society (SSS) was established in 2003. This organization brings together IIRPS students interested in science. Members of the Society organise research projects, meetings with politicians and scientists, lectures of guest speakers, student and international conferences, discussions and seminars, summer expeditions and other events.
IIRPS SR represents the interests of the students, consolidates student community, and develops closer links with the administration of the Institute. The Student Representative organizes student events, carries out a mentoring program, liaises with other faculties of Student Councils, organizes summer camps for future freshmen. founded in 20003, the Student Representative of IIRPS is one of the youngest in Vilnius University. Along with 13 other agencies, it is part of the Vilnius University Students' Council (VU SC).
- Public Administration Education in Lithuania (PDF), retrieved 2012-03-22
- History of the Institute, retrieved 2012-03-20
- Interview with the First Director of IIRPS, retrieved 2012-03-20
- Admission Requirements for International Students, retrieved 2012-03-21
- Courses in foreign languages, retrieved 2012-03-20
- Description of the EERS programme, retrieved 2013-07-11
- Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, "EUROPEAN STUDIES IN LITHUANIA: SHORT-LASTING FASHION OR PROMISE UNFULFILLED?" (PDF), retrieved 2012-03-22
- Laurynas Jonavicius, Vilnius University, Institute of International Relations and Political Science, WHY UKRAINE AND GEORGIA HAVE NOT USED THE "WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY"?.. (PDF), retrieved 2012-03-22
- Vitalis Nakrošis, Žilvinas Martinaitis, (PDF), retrieved 2012-03-22,
The Lithuanian Public Sector Organisations: The EU-Driven Expansion within the Domestic Arrangements of Autonomy and Control
- Student Corporation "RePublica", retrieved 2012-03-21