Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies

erstes Arbeitstreffen vom Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian StudiesFounded in July 2023, the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies (VCPU) merges the Center for Interdisciplinary Polish Studies and the Chair for Entangled History of Ukraine into a new research institution at the European University Viadrina. The VCPU focuses on interdisciplinary research on Polish and Ukrainian history and the present day, as well as on the transfer of science-based and up-to-date knowledge about Poland and Ukraine to the public. 

Interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, open lectures, summer academies, research trips as well as university lectures and seminars by the VCPU’s academic staff and international guest researchers, several publication series, an academic blog and a YouTube channel stimulate research on Poland and Ukraine and underline the special role of the Viadrina as a place of European intellectual exchange.


The research carried out at the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies is dedicated to Poland and Ukraine in a broad transregional context, considering the close entanglements – commonalities as well as conflicts – in this multi-layered contact zone. Polish and Ukrainian studies are understood as an integral part of Central/Eastern European studies. Recognizing the cultural and political agency of Poland and Ukraine, we treat our research as an integrative endeavor with a strategic interdisciplinary focus. 

Our goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and contemporary social, economic, and cultural processes in Poland and Ukraine against a European and global background. Topics of our Center studies include, e.g., historical experiences of conflict resolution and co-existence, contemporary challenges of migration and decolonization, market transformation since 1989, situational bilingualism and popular culture, memory wars and reconciliation. Special attention is given to the region's multi-ethnic heritage, including Jewish and Muslim communities.

We are seeking a new analytical language to describe the diverse, pluralistic, and fascinating social reality of Central and Eastern Europe, and to critically rethink dominant theoretical approaches. To this end, we plan to launch a new book series both in Germany and in Ukraine.


In direct alignment with its research focus, the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies pursues the strategy of integrating Polish, Ukrainian, as well as Central and Eastern European studies into as many disciplines and courses at the Viadrina as possible. For this reason, courses are generally offered in English and German, together with a number of seminars in Polish and Ukrainian, and are aimed at students from all three faculties at all levels of qualification – BA, MA and PhD. 

Our Center applies a variety of methods to provide detailed knowledge of Poland and Ukraine in a European and global context, in-depth methodological knowledge from various disciplines, as well as language skills at an academic level. Excursions to the region complement on-site courses. 

BA and MA students of the Viadrina as well as of other universities in Berlin and Brandenburg will be able to obtain a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies offered by the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies and the Ukrainian lectureship at the Language Center of the European University Viadrina. 

We take part in and contribute to online teaching programs for and together with our colleagues from Ukraine. We will also continue a series of Summer/Winter Transregional Academies for PhD students and early career researchers together with our partners from the New Europe College (Bucharest), the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia and the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. The transregional dimension is an important vehicle for developing the inclusive character of Polish and Ukrainian studies.


We want to share the results of our enquiries with the public. Scientifically based, trustworthy knowledge and information, especially about the complex situations and conditions in Central and Eastern Europe, are urgently needed in Germany. In order to transfer the findings of the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies projects into an enlightened public debate, we will further develop our existing formats: In addition to the book series Interdisciplinary Polish Studies – published both in print and digitally (Open Access) – we maintain a YouTube channel and an academic blog on Polish and Ukrainian studies. Together with the Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the Free Ukrainian University in Munich we publish an academic book series Ukraine-Poland-Germany. A Triangle of Dialogue. We would also launch a book series Viadrina Ukrainian Studies together with the Kyiv-based publishing house Dukh i Litera.

Moreover, the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies will seek partnerships with leading institutions in the field to maximize the success of the academic knowledge transfer. We are thinking of various institutions in Frankfurt/Oder, in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, but certainly also in the voivodeships beyond the Oder river. Cooperative links are already established with the Prisma Ukraїna Research Network Eastern Europe (hosted by Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin), with the Pilecki Institute, the Ukrainian Institute London, the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies in Kyiv, and many others.

Inauguration of the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies on 30 November 2023

With the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies (VCPU), the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) has established a new central academic institution. Its aim is to create new opportunities for an intensified research of Ukrainian and Polish history, culture, politics and society in European and global entanglements.

The Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies is headed by Prof. Dr. Dagmara Jajeśniak-Quast, Professor of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies, and Prof. Dr. Andrii Portnov, Professor of Entangled History of Ukraine.

At the inauguration ceremony, the directors of the VCPU and the participants in the panel discussion shared their thoughts on the perspectives for Polish and Ukrainian Studies at the Viadrina and worldwide.



4:30 p.m.
Opening Remarks

Prof. Dr. Eduard Mühle
President of the European University Viadrina
Dr. Manja Schüle
Brandenburg Minister of Science, Research and Culture
Oleksii Makeiev
H.E. Ambassador of Ukraine
Dariusz Pawłoś
H.E. Ambassador of Poland

Awarding the DAAD-Prize for Outstanding Achievements of an International Student to Anastasiia Latkovska

Ukrainian Studies at Viadrina. Thinking about new Possibilities and Challenges

Prof. Dr. Andrii Portnov
Co-Director of the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies
Introduction: Prof. Dr. Dagmara Jajeśniak-Quast
Co-Director of the Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies

Panel Discussion
Ex Oriente Lux? What can we learn from Ukraine and East-Central Europe?

Dr. Katarzyna Jędraszczyk
Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań
Prof. Dr. Maren Röger
Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO)
Dr. Tatiana Zhurzhenko
Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS)

Moderated by
Prof. Dr. Rory Finnin
University of Cambridge

7:00 p.m.

Viadrina Center of Polish and Ukrainian Studies

Visitor address

Große Scharrnstraße 23a
DE 15230 Frankfurt (Oder)
Rooms 301-311