“The Institute is one of the youngest units of Vilnius University, created and grown together with the independent state of Lithuania. Lithuanian political science was formed here, and more than one generation of political scientists grew up here. The alumni of the Institute participated in the most important processes of the Lithuanian history. Over a period of almost three decades, a strong community supporting the Institute has developed. Today, by nurturing what has been created, we are taking a step forward in our research, using innovation and interdisciplinarity to tackle complex global problems, while fostering a critical, motivated, socially educated young generation that is actively taking the lead. ” - assoc. prof. Margarita Šešelgytė
Institute of International Relations and Political Science (IIRPS) at Vilnius University is one of the most prominent social sciences institutions in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region. The Institute is an academic institution specializing in social and political sciences. IIRPS holds faculty status at Vilnius University. The Institute has been educating a new generation of the intellectual elite in Lithuania for more than 25 years. The young generation that is curious, socially active, oriented towards universal education and possessing minds of wide scope. After the establishment in 1992, the Institute has quickly become one of the leading social sciences institutions and was one of the first in the Baltic region to develop a political science program. Soon after that, it grew into an active actor in the academia as well as the society.
The Institute is proud to have gathered together a number of prominent experts on national, European and international politics who are renowned for their competent and original public commentaries, expert knowledge and professional experience. Our experts conduct both critical analysis of contemporary social science issues, political philosophy, international relations, and policy-oriented research, for example, in policy administration and public policy analysis. They have contributed extensively to the analysis of Lithuania’s accession into the EU and NATO and its role in these organizations and other international structures, country’s relationships with its neighbours in the region, including Nordic-Baltic countries, Poland as well as Eastern partners.
The institute is the highest-rated research institution in Lithuania according to the STRATA Lithuanian Research and Higher Education Analysis Centre (formerly known as MOSTA). Centre’s experts acknowledged the institute for high-level international publications, participation in various international research networks (including ECPR, EUSA, APSA, and ISA) as well as important research projects carried out. The assessment also praised the Institute for its’ significant impact on social and economic development of Lithuania, noting the influence on policy-making as well as close ties to decision-makers and society.
IIRPS conducts three-level studies: BA in Political Science and six MA Master programmes: International Relations and Diplomacy, European Studies, Studies of Contemporary Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Politics and Media and Eastern European and Russian Studies (taught in English). We also conduct full time and external PhD studies.
For more than ten years IIRPS remains amongst the top choices among Lithuanian high school graduates attracting students with outstanding exam achievements. On different criteria, the Institute boasts the most motivated students who excel in their studies and are actively involved into the social life of the Institute.
"The major weakness of academia is its tendency to stagnate. <...> VU IIRPS is different in that sense – it's inquisitive and lively. This is where the spark of science lies."
"Vilnius University has one of the best graduate programs in this sphere, plus, it is in Eastern Europe and studying here helps us - students to deeply analyze and compare the theoretical knowledge to everyday life."
"My interest in Eastern Europe and Russia is not surprising as my country is part of this region. One of the main reasons is to see and understand, how some countries, which share, more or less, similar Soviet past and started from almost the same point during the 90’s, are now in different positions."
The Board of Trustees is an advisory panel of experts, businessmen, diplomats and international advisors. Its role is to help the Director of IIRPS VU in implementing policies that are in line with the Institute’s vision and mission.
Since the beginning of 2019, Vilnius University is participating in the project “Supporting and Implementing Plans for Gender Equality in Academia (SPEAR)”, which is a part of the “Science with and for Society” (Horizon 2020) programme. The project aims to develop and implement gender equality plans in higher education institutions. More information on the project is presented here.
Despite the dominant culture of openness, involvement, and discussion at IIRPS VU, participation in the project encourages the institutionalization of gender equality norms and values as well as contributes to ensuring their long-term sustainability. During the project IIRPS VU will seek to establish policies and responsibilities for the implementation of gender equality principles among staff and students, ensure gender balance in the governance of the institute, and create favourable conditions for professional development and career, regardless of gender, marital status or other discriminatory grounds. The introduction of anti-discrimination measures is seen as a way to strengthen the institute’s sustainable tradition of community spirit and ensure its future development. The project goals and activities set by IIRPS VU combine the specifics of the institute, the expectations of the community and the strategy of VU diversity and equal opportunities for 2020-2025 (the document is provided here).
Vilnius University participates in the SPEAR project together with the following European universities: SDU (Denmark), Uppsala University (Sweden), RWTH Aachen University (Germany), South-West University Neofit Rilski (Bulgaria), Plovdivski Universitet Paisiy Hilendarski (Bulgaria), Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal), Sveucilise u Rijeci (Croatia).
The Council of the Institute is a collegial self-governance body formed for a period of four years.
Director of the Institute is the head of core academic unit, elected by secret vote in the council of the unit and recommended to the Rector for appointment. The term of office of the head of a core academic unit shall be five years. The same person may hold the office of the head of a core academic unit for no longer than two consecutive terms.
Disputes over the ethics of members of the University community shall be heard by academic ethics commissions of core academic units.
Disputes related with research and studies and those between students and other members of the University community, except disputes concerned with academic ethics and disputes over labour relations, shall be heard by standing commissions for dispute resolution of core academic units.