Bordering Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic Sea, the Republic of Lithuania is on the frontline in the current crisis in Eastern Europe. The country’s LCC International University (LCC) in the coastal city of Klaipėda has enjoyed ties with the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) for several years through its links with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Beirut. In March 2022, LCC launched its new Center for Peace and Conflict Transformation with a three-day conference titled “Stories Shaping Peace.” The FLPS’s Professor Eugene Sensenig and Instructor Rouba El-Helou represented NDU at this conference.
The LCC conference focused on the use of storytelling to deal with the trauma of war and persecution. Sensenig held a keynote speech on the first morning of the conference, comparing historical events such as the Armenian Genocide, Jewish Holocaust, and enslavement and genocide of the Native Americans in the United States. El-Helou held various presentations on communications science in the Arab World as well as Arab-on-Arab stereotyping via a gendered lens. Both NDU representatives spent their second week in Klaipėda developing ties between NDU with the LCC Schools of Theology, Contemporary Communication, and International Relations and Development. Sensenig also gave a hybrid lecture at LCC on “>Views of Migration around the World
Both Sensenig and El-Helou are working with colleagues at LCC to build bridges between the European Union’s (EU) EuroMed program and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in the fields of higher education and applied research in the social sciences, communication, and gender studies. In the coming months, the FLPS will be working with LCC in areas of common interest to develop projects of mutual benefit.