Anglo-Belarusian Society

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promoting all things Belarusian in Britain since 1954
Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Forthcoming events involving ABS (save the dates)

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 16:55

UCL Conference on Belarusian Studies, 22-23 Feb 2020
Kupalle (Midsummer celebration) – Saturday, 27 June 2020
Uladzimir Karatkevich avviversary celebration –Saturday 7 November, 2020
Batleika – second half of December 2020
• “Jewish Belarus” event – TBC

Annual Report of the Chairman of the Anglo-Belarusian Society for 2019

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 16:48

In 2019 the Society held an Annual General Meeting, celebrated our traditional annual events such as Mother Language Day, Kupallie, Kaliady and Batliejka. The Society also took part in the Fourth Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies, commemorated 10th anniversary of the death of Vera Rich and participated in a charity event to raise funds for Belarusian children in need of medical help.

The Annual General Meeting took place on 16th March 2019 to commemorate 65th anniversary of the Society which was founded exactly on the same day in 1954. Memories of the Society’s activities and achievements were shared by Jim Dingley who served as a chairman of the Society for many previous years, Arnold McMillin, Alan Flowers and others. We reported our events of 2018, elected the Society’s officials and looked forward to the events being prepared for 2020. The Meeting was followed by a concert given by our guest, the well known Belarusian poet and musician Zmicer Vajcjushkevich.

The Forth Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies was held on 23 March 2019 and was organised by University College London (SEES), the Ostrogorski Centre and the Belarusian Francis Skaryna Library and Museum. Speakers came from Belarus, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Canada and other countries.

The annual Mother Language Day celebration was held on 23 February 2019 with the participation of the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum.

Prominent Belarusian writer/poet Uladzimir Arlou and poet Valiantsina Aksak were awarding prizes for the top three poetry readings.

This was followed by a presentation of the English edition of Uladzimir Arlou’s richly illustrated book “The Grand Duchy of Lithuania” translated into English by Jim Dingley.

The book presentation and sale were a success, the poetry read was in Belarusian, English, Slovak, Malay, Hebrew and Finnish (missed out on Scots and Romany this year).

The Kupallie (midsummer) celebration was held on 22 June 2019 in the garden of 52 Penn Road and as usual included floral crowns and other decorations, Belarusian traditional dress, games and songs together with festive food and drinks. Zmicer Vajcjushkevich visited us again and performed at the event. Kupalle was well attended and enjoyed with many new faces and a significant number of children.

On 30th November 2019 ABS took part in the fundraising event in aid of the Chernobyl children’s lifeline charity at St. Cyril’s Belarusian church centre. The young Latvian violin player Sabine Sergejeva performed works by Beethoven, Bach, Vasks and others.

Commemoration of 10th anniversary of Vera Rich’s death took place in the Marian House on 20th December 2019 and was organised by our Alan Flowers. The event was attended by ABS members, Vera’s relatives and friends, including representatives of the Ukrainian community in the UK. The participants read Vera’s poetry, shared memories and anecdotes.

The end of year Christmas festivities (Kaliady) were marked at Marian House on 21 December 2019 (VE – is this the right date?) by a traditional Belarusian puppet show (Batliejka) organised and performed by Paval Saucou and his son Cyril and well attended by families and friends. The Programme of events for 2020 was set up by the ABS Council.

Vasil Evdokimov

2020 Annual Conference Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century

Sun, 01/12/2020 - 07:30

UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Ostrogorski Centre and the  Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum invites to the Annual London conference on Belarusian Studies.

The conference will take place on 21–22 February 2020 at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) and the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum in London.

The conference serves as a multidisciplinary forum of Belarusian studies in the West and offers a rare networking opportunity for researchers of Belarus. The draft programme of the conference is available here.

To register for the conference please complete the online form linked here no later than 19 February 2020. The working language of the conference is English.

The conference organising committee includes Peter Braga, Dr Stephen Hall, Dr Alena Marková, Prof Yarik Kryvoi (co-chair) and Prof Andrew Wilson (co-chair). The conference is supported by the British Association for Slavonic & East European Studies. Please use hashtag #BelStudies.

The speakers and moderators include:

  • Dr Ryhor Astapenia, Chatham House, United Kingdom
  • Yahor Azarkevich, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Prof Thomas Bohn, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany
  • Paula Borowska, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom
  • Peter Braga, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
  •  Jim Dingley, Anglo-Belarusian Society, United Kingdom
  • Dr Aleh Dziarnovich, National Academy of Sciences, Belarus
  •  Dr Sándor Földvári, Debrecen University, Hungary
  •  Dr Joanna Getka, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Tadeusz Giczan, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom
  • Dr Yuras Hetsevich, National Academy of Sciences, Belarus
  • Prof Grigory Ioffe, Radford University, United States of America
  • Ekaterina Keding, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
  • Prof Yarik Kryvoi (conference co-chair), Ostrogorski Centre
  • Dr Karalina Matskevich, Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum
  • Dr Alena Marková, Charles University, Czech Republic
  • Prof Arnold Barratt McMillin, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom
  • Dr Angela Espinosa Ruiz, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
  • Dr Anton Saifullayeu, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Dr Nataliia Steblyna, Donetsk National University, Ukraine
  • Yuliya Yarmak, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno, Belarus
  • Prof Andrew Wilson (conference co-chair), UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

For any questions relating to the conference, please email

AGM and Mother Language Day Celebration – 8 February 2020

Sat, 01/11/2020 - 05:43

On Saturday, 8 February 2020 an Annual General Meeting of the Anglo-Belarusian Society will be held at 2pm at Marian House, London N12.

Following that, the Anglo-Belarusian Society cordially invites its members and friends to the Mother Language Day celebration, with poetry readings and a special guest appearance of a prominent Belarusian author/ poet TBC.

Our annual Mother Language Day celebration will be organised with the participation of the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum.

The event was inaugurated by the late Vera Rich to mark UNESCO Mother Language Day and involves poetry reading in all languages particularly Belarusian and English.

Read your favourite poem – works of modern poets or old favourites of your choice in Belarusian, English, Scots etc (no need to learn by heart!). Children are very welcome to participate.

The readings will start at 4 pm and will be followed by refreshments.

The suggested minimum donation for ABS members – £5, for non-members – £10 (cash only).

More information and updates on Facebook.