Leonidas Donskis is a Member of the European Parliament (2009–2014) and has written and edited over thirty books, fifteen of them in English. Donskis combines political theory, history of ideas, philosophy of culture, philosophy of literature, and essayistic style. He is co-author (together with Zygmunt Bauman) of Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity (2013), and the author of Fifty Letters from the Troubled Modern World: A Philosophical-Political Diary, 2009–2012 (2013), Modernity in Crisis: A Dialogue on the Culture of Belonging (2011), Troubled Identity and the Modern World (2009), Power and Imagination: Studies in Politics and Literature (2008), and Forms of Hatred: The Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature (2003). Donskis’s works originally written in Lithuanian and English have been translated into fifteen languages. He is also the author of books of aphorisms published in Canada, Italy, and Lithuania. Donskis is a visiting professor of politics at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Bradford, Great Britain.
Mikhail Iossel (Moderator) is Professor of English, Concordia University/Montreal; Founder and Executive Program Director, SLS/Summer Literary Seminars. Leningrad, USSR-born Iossel is a writer, teacher, and founder (in 1998) and executive director of the Summer Literary Seminars, Inc. program, one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic international literary conferences (St. Petersburg, Russia; Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya; Vilnius, Lithuania; Montreal, Canada). A recipient of the NEA (1993) and the Guggenheim Foundation fellowships (1999), among other literary distinctions, he is the author of Every Hunter Wants to Know (W.W. Norton, 1991), a collection of stories and co-editor (with Jeff Parker) of the anthologies Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive, 2004), and Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House Books, 2009). His stories and essays have been published in literary magazines in the US and abroad, translated in several foreign languages, and anthologized in Best American Short Stories and elsewhere.
Faina Kukliansky is Chairperson of the Jewish (Litvak) community of Lithuania, and Advocate and Chairperson of the Jewish community of Vilnius. Faina has been a practicing lawyer and arbiter since 1977, and is a member of several Lithuanian and international law associations and Jewish organizations. After the restoration of Lithuanian independence she was elected as a member of the first board of the Jewish community of Lithuania. Later she became active as a lawyer representing Jewish communities of Lithuania. In 2013 she was elected chair of the Jewish Community of Lithuania.
Saulius Sužiedėlis is Professor of History, Emeritus at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Having served with the U. S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia (1967 to 1969), Professor Sužiedėlis received his Ph.D. in Russian and East European history from the University of Kansas in 1977. From 1982 to 1987 he worked as a research historian for the U.S. Department of Justice, and during 1989-1990 worked as a radio journalist and commentator for Voice of America. Professor Sužiedėlis is the author of a number of scholarly books and articles on Lithuanian history published both in the United States and Lithuania. Since 1998, he has been a member of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. Between 2007 and 2010 he served as Director of Millersville University’s Annual Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, and in 2013 Professor Sužiedėlis was awarded an honorary doctorate from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas in recognition of his work in furthering the study of humanities and for contributions to Holocaust research.
Tomas Venclova is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Emeritus at Yale University. Born in Klaipeda, Lithuania, in 1937, Venclova was a founding member of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group, which monitored Soviet violations of human rights. He is the author of collections of poems, poetry-translations, essays, and articles. His poetry collections have appeared in over twenty languages including English, German, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, and Chinese. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Vilenica (Slovenia, 1990), Qinghai (China, 2011), the Lithuanian National Prize (2000), and the Prize of Two Nations (2002), which he received jointly with Czesław Miłosz.