Throughout centuries, the Baltic Sea has mitigated free trade and cultural exchange among people and nations with widely different backgrounds, which gave dynamism and diversity. After a troubled – though in a historical context fairly short – period with limitations on trade and individual freedom, our shared sea has resumed its old role.
“Born into a dream” looks byond the dark period into the new freedom and into the challenging building up of the societies around our common heritage. Thank you for the “the dream”.
Per Bødker Andersen
President of the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC)
“Born into a Dream” draws attention to the many enlightened idealists that have been so crucial for giving fl esh and bones to Nordic and German government support for the Baltic countries and to the Baltic countries’ successful dismantling of their Soviet legacy. With today’s focus on talents and university upgrading as means of facing global competition, it is also a compelling and interesting story in which Gustav N. Kristensen describes successes and failures in the extraordinary committed work done by the many dedicated people behind the EuroFaculty.
Director of Baltic Development Forum
In America as in Europe – particularly in the case of the Baltic states – freedom was a dream that opened to us as a wonderful miracle. I was pleased with the good experience the EuroFaculty had in promoting the free Baltic-American relationship. The people of the Baltic Sea region and the people of the Great Lakes region can learn from one another. “Born into a Dream” is a stiring assessment of our current reality. It does not ignore the hardships for international cooperation but sets forth a clear roadmap to achieving cooperation. Indeed, this book can help reshape the conversation around international partnership.
George K. Heartwell, Mayor
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Chairman of Great Lakes and St Lawrence Cities Initiative
It is difficult to imagine now the parlous state of the non-technical universities and university departments that the Soviets left behind. In Riga, my committee felt reassured that peer review of teaching had always taken place, until a politics instructor took us aside and explained that the sole object of that exercise had been to make sure that the pedagogy was exclusively Marxist. In Tartu in southern Estonia, a deputation begged us to intercede with Brussels and procure a supply of chalk for the blackboards. What struck us most of all was the sheer irrelevance of the material, which was taught for the most part by Soviet-trained academics and Communist Party hacks. We recommended that wherever possible these worthies should be paid to not come to work, while EuroFaculty, using Western-trained academics, educated and nurtured a younger generation of scholars. The recommendation was accepted and, by and large, it worked.
Of the three directors of EuroFaculty, the Danish economist Gustav Kristensen, the author of this volume, was the last, serving from 2001 until the project was honourably terminated four years later. His history may strike some as over-anecdotal, but its great strength lies in its author's determination to tell the story "warts and all". Among the difficulties that the project overcame was the intense rivalry that existed between the Baltic states, Swedish suspicions of German intentions, constant bickering among the participating Western nations and the mind-numbing bureaucracy that EU sponsorship imposed on all our efforts.
Although individual Brits contributed to and worked within EuroFaculty, the official British financial contribution was derisory. While it wasted vast amounts of British taxpayers' money on corrupt Third World regimes, the Blair government supported just two EuroFaculty lecturers - and their funding was peremptorily withdrawn in 2002, leaving the Danes and the Norwegians to pick up the bill. Kristensen faithfully chronicles this betrayal but stops short of calling it disgraceful and short-sighted, which I'm afraid it was
Times Higher Education, 2. September 2010
Geoffrey Alderman is Michael Gross professor of politics and contemporary history, University of Buckingham