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After the First World War, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland emerged as young independent states and new political subjects recognised by the world community. Despite some political differences, these countries sought joint discussion and actions in building progressive societies and enhancing the well-being of their people. Intellectuals, scientists, and professional leaders of these countries understood this need and encouraged mutual cooperation.
The first conference on intellectual cooperation of the Baltic countries was held at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas in 1935 and supported the idea of the establishment of academies of sciences in the Baltic countries. In Estonia, the Academy of Sciences was established in 1938. In Latvia and Lithuania, public institutions – the Latvian Institute of History and the Antanas Smetona Institute of Lithuanian Studies, respectively – which later developed into national academies of sciences, were founded before the Second World War. They were instrumental in organising research on a national scale.
The tradition of a number of conferences organised before the Second World War was revived after the Baltic countries regained their independence in 1990. A series of conferences with a focus on various issues of research and its development are organised in one of the three Baltic countries or Finland every second year. Participants of these conferences are academies of sciences of these countries and representatives of the academies of sciences of the Baltic region.
The themes and issues addressed during the recent decade included the following: dissemination of research results and the relationships between the research community and the general public (2010, Vilnius); the role of small countries in the European research space (2013, Tallinn); activities of academies of sciences in initiating and stimulating research and innovation (2015, Riga); research-based teacher training in the Baltic region (2017, Helsinki). The 2019 conference was held in Lithuania again.