THE UNIVERSITY OF KLAIPEDA
The University of Klaipeda, established in 1991, is the countrys youngest university. It is evolving into an independent teaching and research center oriented towards the Western university model. Conditions for this are favorable for there is no conservative legacy here.
The university is able to follow curricula that meet the requirements of European and American universities. With three faculties and 2,500 students in its first academic year, it now has six faculties and two schools called institutes with a student body of 5,000.
The subjects on offer are diverse from ballroom dancing and theatre directing to engineering and administration.
Students can learn port administration and management at the Maritime Institute, the Department of Marine Technology and the Maritime College.
The university is engaged in important research in the areas of shipping, maritime ecology and port economics, which is of vital importance to the countries of the Baltic Sea region. A team of professors and students from the Department of Natural Sciences is conducting research into the ecology of the Baltic Sea and the rivers that flow into it.
Future historians, linguists and musicologists study the history and linguistic and cultural heritage of western Lithuania and former Prussia. Research is carried out together with scholars from Germany, Poland, Latvia and Sweden.
The Department of Art is the only one of its kind in the country, with specialties in choreography, music teaching, jazz and singing, among many others. The departments dance company, called Zuvedra (Seagull), has won prizes in Latin American dancing at world and European competitions.
The university also has departments of Humanities, Pedagogies, Social Sciences and 20 research centers, including centers for American, Scandinavian, Oriental and Baltic studies.
Klaipeda University is located in a former army barracks, a neo-gothic structure built at the turn of the century. After the withdrawal of the Soviet army in 1993, the government gave the premises to the university.
On a 26-hectare campus, besides the old red brick buildings, the university plans to build a modern library, laboratories and dormitories.
The University will have its own training ships at the ice-free port of Klaipeda.
(From LITHUANIA IN THE WORLD, No 2, 1998)
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Samogitian Cultural Association Editorial
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