Today the 7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies kicked off in Warsaw, this time in cooperation with Collegium Civitas. Previous conferences took place in Kaunas, Lithuania. The Congress remains one of the rare opportunities for academics working on Belarus to meet up and discuss their research.
I am excited about my tomorrow’s presentation on the social capital formation in the village of Alšany, south-west Belarus. I have already prepared my powerpoint slides.
Networking in a unique atmosphere
The Congress remains a special platform for scholars for a few reasons. One of them is an opportunity to meet new researchers who focus specifically on Belarus. Also, it is a rare chance to catch up with work of other scholars, PhD students and see some old friends.
The only obstacle might be that the Congress gathers a few hundred of participants every year, thus, it makes networking a little bit more complicated. It is easy to end up in a circle of already known people.
Yet, I always feel more academically invigorated and inspired to work more on my research.
Religion and social capital in action
Last year I attended the Congress for the first time in the capacity of a PhD researcher. I also remember how stressful I was.
Over the last year, however, I have become a bit more enriched in presenting as well as I have obtained new research experience, hence I feel more confident. After all, I have got a great topic to present here – social and spiritual capital formation in a few Belarusian villages. Visiting it was one of the most enriching experiences as the researcher. Thus, honestly, I am looking forward to discussing the preliminary findings with other scholars. I will present how social capital relates to religious activity and the community benefits from it.