600th Anniversary of the Peace Treaty of Melno – Conference on Security issues for Lithuania and Europe - MRU
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15 September, 2022
600th Anniversary of the Peace Treaty of Melno – Conference on Security issues for Lithuania and Europe
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On the Lithuanian border in Kybartai, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) together with the Vilkaviškis Tourism and Business Information Centre will commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Peace Treaty of Melno and discuss the significance of this treaty for the development of Lithuanian and European security architecture. 27 September marks the 600th anniversary of the Peace Treaty of Melno between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Poland and the Teutonic Order. The treaty renounced all rights to Trans-Nemunas river region (Sudovia) and Samogitia, ending the wars with the Order and establishing clear borders between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Poland and the Order's domains.

To commemorate this historic event, a forum "Sūduva" will be held in the border town of Kybartai, Vilkaviškis district. During the Forum, an international scientific conference "The socio-cultural role of the Peace Treaty of Melno in the development of the security architecture of Europe and Lithuania" will be held. Lawyers, politicians, diplomats, historians, and cultural experts from the region will examine the impact of the Treaty on the development of the neighbour countries of Lithuania, Poland, and Germany, as well as discuss the European security situation in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine, and share their insights into the future.  

The conference will bring together speakers from five countries: Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Spain, the United States and Germany. The three-part series of events will start on 16 September. The conference will take place at the Kybartai Cultural Centre on 16 September. The event will be welcomed by Agirdas Neiberka, Mayor of Vilkaviškis District Municipality; Prof. Romas Prakapas, President of the Senate of MRU; Dr. Juozas Olekas, Member of the European Parliament, former Minister of National Defence of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevičius, Member of the Seimas, former Prime Minister of Lithuania, and other prominent guests.

The aim of the conference is to shed light on the socio-cultural role of the Peace Treaty of Melno in fostering the security of local communities in Lithuania and in Europe, as well as to initiate research on the socio-cultural role of sustainable peace and its development, and on the challenges of the paradigm shift in the security architecture in Europe.

As Prof. Vytautas Šlapkauskas, one of the organizers of this conference, states, it is important to talk not only about the historical value of the Peace Treaty of Melno and the circumstances of its emergence but also about the historical, political, legal, economic and cultural roles of successful cross-border peace treaties in the consolidation of European security. It is hoped that the “Sūduva” Forum will have continuity, and it is planned to organize the conference every few years. 

The number of participants is limited, so everyone will have the opportunity to watch the conference live via MRU's YouTube account: https://bit.ly/3qMrziZ.

The programme of the event can be found here.

About the Peace Treaty of Melno:

This Treaty established the border between the Teutonic Order and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Grand Duchy of Lithuania, GDL) over 600 years, with little change to the present day, and is therefore considered one of the oldest and most stable interstate borders in Europe. Nowadays, this border separates Lithuania from the Russian Federation, and its sections in Palanga and Šilutė districts and Pagėgiai municipalities are included in the Register of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Lithuania. Although the Peace Treaty of Melno divided the lands of Sūduva, most of it - Užnemunė - remained in the GDL, which meant that there were no direct hostilities in this area for almost 400 years. This led not only to the creation of towns, villages and manors but also to the absorption of natural resources and the development of forestry, agriculture, trade and economic relations. The ensuing internal turmoil in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (PLC) increased the influence of the Russian Empire and the Prussian and Austrian. Eventually, the partitions of the PLC and the subsequent occupation by the Russian Empire led to the development of only those towns in Sūduva that were in the interests of the Empire. Kybartai was given a great deal of attention in accordance with this principle.