Monday, January 18, 2010
The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences wants to close the Institute for Thracian Studies.
Please do not permit this criminal act to happen.
The Institute for Thracian Studies is a multi-disciplinary scientific think-tank, with research and publication across several countries and is supported by the scientific community worldwide. Its research encompasses all the aspects of ancient Thracian history, cultural anthropology and linguistics, spreading on 5 millennia of European history.
1. In a closed doors meeting in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) some of the BAS managers proposed to demolish the institute for Thracian Studies and/or merge it with the History Institute.
2. That is not only for financial reasons (funding, which is very scarce for humanities sciences in Bulgaria) but because of internal policies issues - try to manage less institutes.
3. The building of the Institute is AAA super expensive real estate piece, bequested to the BAS in the early 20th century. Many big developers have their eyes on it, and closing the Institute to sell the building to the highest bidder is not out of question.
4. Other institute, the National Institute for Archaeology with a museum (NAIM) displays many precious (Thracian) artifacts, but they don't have an analytical/cultural theory/history department to deal with the Thracian heritage. These functions are performed now by the Institute of Thracian Studies.
5. The entire re-structuring was, at least officially, triggered by the European Commission Report on the BAS performance. The report didn't correctly asses the Institute. It was completely biased, many of the international activities and publications were not registered, many of the activities of the Institute to popularize the Thracian Civilization were totally neglected. That is partially due to internal European intrigues - the Thracian culture was, is and will always neglected because of the super-powerful Greek lobby (European Commissioner for Culture is from Greece), trying to present the Thracian culture and civilization as part of Magna Graecia. If the opinion of the EC, which BAS is not taking into account, the Institute should be merged with the NAIM. This proposition was never made. Besides, this is a very well calculated move: eliminating the interpretative part of the archaeology of the Thracian artifacts and monuments, all archaeological finds from the Thracian civilization, will be labeled as "Greek", as it is now in all US museums.
6. The management of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is mostly composed by people with old-fashion understanding of market economy. They still live in the communist times, when they received their academic accolades. They don't understand the need for small, mobile and multidisciplinary research think tanks, but still dream for the mega state-funded institutes, as in the past.
7. When combining several institutes into one, the European funding is in jeopardy for the Thracian Studies - there will be always other, more 'urgent" priority and the corresponding politics involved, if the Institute is merged with the one of History.
8. The way that management decisions are taken in the institute, require at least one representative of each department to be present. How scientists with modern history profile will be able to take decision on important matters in Thracian Studies and vice versa, is not calculated in these merger plans.
9. The reasons behind all this are very complex and difficult to explain and prove. On January 25, 2010, the BAS will take a decision on re-structuring all institutes, centers etc. The BAS is independent even from the Bulgarian Government. The Minister of Education can only recommend actions, but not rule over it. Not even the Prime Minister can influence their decisions.That is why I believe that urgent action with the support of all academic, research community and the general public should be taken.
All of us, who value science and our common past as Europeans should unite and sign the petition to the Bulgarian Government to preserve the Institute, so it can continue to publish worldwide information, books and scientific articles about the Thracian Civilization. You also can take other action - write to the PR office of BAS, call them etc. Below are all necessary links.
Petition URL: http://www.petitiononline.com/thracian/petition.html
Facebook group URL: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=283236241162&ref=ts
URL of the Institute (English): http://www.thracologia.org/indexe.html
PR Office of BAS URL: http://www.bas.bg
Dr. Antoaneta Hristova
02/987 46 53; 0887 123 999
02/987 46 53; Mobile 0885 562 680
02/987 46 53; 0893 47 17 48
P.S. For the moment, the PR (Dr. Hristova) doesn't want to release any info about the restructuring project, since this will trigger actions like this in defense of the Institute of Thracian Studies. Similar petitions and discontentments are voiced about the merger between the Institute of Ethnography and Museum with the Institute of Folklore, etc.