- Budapest, Hungary
Meilutė Julija Lukšienė originates from a famous family that were active in Lithuanian culture. She obtained her formal education in Lithuania in the interwar period: in 1931 she graduated from the Vytautas Magnus Gymnasium in Vilnius, and in 1942 she graduated from the Humanities Faculty at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, with a degree in the history of Lithuanian literature (main speciality), with Lithuanian language criticism, French literature, and pedagogy (subsidiary subjects).
Lukšienė was employed as a teacher and as a university lecturer, and from 1951 to 1958 was head of the Department of Lithuanian Literature at Vilnius University. In 1958, she was dismissed from the Department of Lithuanian Literature, accused by Party activists and the Party Committee of anti-Marxism, ‘bourgeois approaches’ to Lithuanian literature, and the idealisation of Lithuania’s past. After she was dismissed from the university, Lukšienė continued her research work. She was involved in non-Soviet networks among the Lithuanian intelligentsia that tried to save the architectural heritage from Soviet industrial and construction projects, and to protect Lithuanian history, culture and literature in Lithuanian society against the so-called internationalism promoted by the regime.
In 1988, as an outstanding authority among Lithuanian scholars, Meilė Lukšienė was elected a member of the Initiative Group of Sąjūdis, the emerging Reform Movement of Lithuania, which was to become the most important force in Lithuania to restore independent statehood in 1990. She rallied the Lithuanian Republic Educational Reform Group, and acted as one of the most important creators of the first independent Concept of Lithuanian Education and the related educational documents.
Meilė Lukšienė was the first person in Lithuania to base the methodology of democratic education scientifically on aspects of both historical and contemporary development. Her research works are characterised by the principle of integrating humanitarian and social sciences, which continues to have an immense impact on the development of the science of educational theory.
Her research works were conducted across three areas of research, pedagogy, literature and culturology, and excelled over the prevailing investigations of those times, which concentrated on specific narrow issues in the school system and didactics. Meilė Lukšienė raised essential questions about the orientation of the Lithuanian education system, namely the ratio of nationality to universality, education in the cultural identity, the continuation of the cultural tradition and the modernisation of education, and social justice.
Meilė Lukšienė achieved a lot, because Lithuanian education had a conceptual Europe-orientated future educational model when independence was restored in 1990. It was used as a basis to create the General Concept of Education in Lithuania (1992), which delineated the directions for the development of the national education system. The essential principles for education chosen were humanism, democracy, national identity and renewal.
- Vilnius , Lithuania
Andrei Lupan (b. 15 February 1912, Mihuleni, Orhei county, then in Romania – d. 24 August 1992, Chișinău) was a poet, playwright, essayist, columnist, and well-known public figure in the Moldavian SSR. He became a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Moldavian SSR in 1961. He was a graduate of the Agricultural School in Cucuruzeni (1929) and of the Viticulture School in Chișinău (1934). In 1935 he became a student of the Faculty of Agronomy of Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi, which was based in Chișinău. He graduated from the Agricultural Institute in Chișinău in 1941, under Soviet rule. During the interwar period, he made his literary debut as a poet, writing in a style close to that of the Romanian poets Tudor Arghezi and Ion Barbu. He became a militant in the Communist movement and, later, a member of the Romanian Communist Party. During World War II, he collaborated with the Moldavian Radio Broadcasting Committee of the MSSR, evacuated to Moscow. After 1945, he served as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Moldavian Writers' Union. (1946–1955, 1958–1961), as secretary of the Steering Committee of the Writers’ Union of the USSR (1954–1971), as chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR (1963–1967), and, finally, as deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR (1967–1971). His irreproachable political loyalty and militant political activity before 1940 were doubled by solid literary credentials, mostly due to his education in interwar Romania. Lupan thus became one of the most trusted collaborators of the regime. At the same time, however, he advocated the rehabilitation of the classic heritage (i.e., the inclusion of the most remarkable Romanian literary and cultural figures in the cultural “pantheon” of the Moldavian SSR and the publication of their works in the MSSR) and a return to Romanian literary standards, allying himself with the “Bessarabian” faction within the MWU. This constant ambiguity was typical of his entire career and caused a number of attacks against him in the late 1980s, mostly coming from the younger “generation of the 1960s.” His open conflict with his younger colleague, Grigore Vieru, which erupted in the late 1980s, reflected the shifting ideological context of Perestroika, as well as deep generational differences. Despite tackling similar issues concerning the language situation and the cultural heritage, the contrasting interpretation of the late 1980s, advocated by Vieru, symbolised a distancing from the regime and from the earlier legacy of the MWU, personified by Lupan. After 1945, Lupan published a number of volumes of poetry, plays, and literary criticism, which mostly followed the Party line or were tolerated by the authorities. In 1988 and 1989, despite his earlier pro-regime views, he came closer to the emerging national movement and supported the initial moderate national-cultural demands of the Popular Front. In August 1989, he delivered a speech in the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR concerning the status of the official language of the MSSR and its shift to the Latin script, supporting the language laws adopted on 31 August 1989. Lupan died in Chișinău on 24 August 1992. He was the recipient of numerous awards during the communist period (notably the USSR State Prize for Literature in 1975 and the titles of Hero of Socialist Labour and People’s Writer of the MSSR in 1982). Lupan’s ambiguous legacy was reflected in the renaming of the Library of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences in his honour in 2007.
- Chișinău, Moldova
Nicolae Lupan (1921–2017) was a Moldavian journalist, a high-ranking official of Moldavian State Television, a prominent dissident and, after his forced emigration in 1974, an employee of Radio Free Europe. He was born on 16 March 1921 in the village of Cepeleuți, in the county of Hotin, which at that time was part of the Romanian province of Bessarabia, later annexed in 1940 by the USSR. This village is currently in the Edineț district of the Republic of Moldova. The last of ten children, he attended school in the neighbouring village of Grinăuți, in Soroca, and then graduated from a high school in Cernăuţi. He then enrolled into the School of Reserve Non-Commissioned Officers in Botoşani, reaching the rank of sergeant major in the 30th Cavalry Regiment in Câmpulung Muscel. He initially fought against the Soviet army near Iași and then, after Romania switched sides in World War II, took part in military operations in Transylvania and Hungary. Eventually, he was removed from the front and forcibly “repatriated”. After the war, Lupan worked as a mathematics teacher in his native village. In 1961, he graduated from the Faculty of Letters at the University of Cernăuți. At the same time, he worked as a journalist in the regional newspaper Bucovina sovietică and as an editor at the regional radio station in Cernăuţi. Starting from 1958, he began collaborating with a number of journals and newspapers in Chișinău. He then moved permanently to the city, becoming an editor at the Luceafărul radio station. After the inauguration of Moldavian State Television, he moved there to become editor-in-chief at the Moldavian Radio, where he also presented the show Morning Star. He also had an intense and rich publishing activity. He was fired in 1970 for “spreading bourgeois Romanian nationalism and propagating Western culture.” More ominously, he was also accused of being a member of the “anti-Soviet” organisation National Patriotic Front. In March 1974, he was expelled with his family from the Soviet Union. He initially came to France and then settled in Belgium, where he acquired Belgian citizenship. There, in the early years, he earned his living as a factory worker, after which he continued his studies at the Free University of Brussels, receiving a degree in journalism (1978). Later, he was a teacher of Russian at a Belgian school. In 1987 he permanently moved with his family to Paris. Abroad, he engaged in systematic dissident activity, campaigning for Romania’s right to the territories occupied by the USSR. In 1975, he reorganised and became the leader of the émigré Pro Basarabia și Bucovina World Association (1975–2008), which claimed to have over 100,000 members representing Romanian exile communities from twenty-four countries around the world. Between 1974 and 1987, he collaborated with Radio Free Europe, where he had a weekly ten-minute show reporting news about the ”territory between the Prut and the Dniester.” He also wrote for some newspapers and magazines published in exile (e.g., for twenty years he had a column in the newspaper Cuvântul Românesc (Romanian Word) in Hamilton, Canada). Moreover, he founded and published two magazines, Basarabia și Bucovina and Întregirea și Reîntregirea (Unification and reunification). He also created the Nistru Publishing House, under whose aegis a series of books on the two Romanian provinces, Bessarabia and Bukovina, were published. He organised a number of conferences and public events concerning Bessarabia. He published several books, including: Plânsul Basarabiei (The weeping of Bessarabia, 1981); Pământuri românești: Schițe, studii și versuri (Romanian lands: Sketches, studies, and poems, 1984); Scrisoare fratelui meu (Letter to my brother, 1984); Imagini nistrene (Images from the Dniester, 2 volumes (1986–1990); Pământul Basarabiei (The land of Bessarabia, 1989); Însemnări de desțărat (Notes of an exile, 2001). He died on 25 January 2017, in Paris.
- Paris, France