Exhibition on the First Doctoral Dissertation on the Macedonian Language
By George v. Durtanosky
An exhibition about the life work of Leonhard Masing - author of the first doctoral dissertation on the Macedonian language, was held in Tartu, Estonia.
The exhibition was a retrospective of his lifework and showcased the richness of the archive he left behind. Over 100 items on display included Masing's handwritten pages from draft manuscripts, photographs and other previously unseen material relating to the ethnography, geography and the history of Macedonia.
Leonhard G. Masing worked as a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Tartu University for more than 40 years with his outstanding academic achievements recognized by many prominent philologists of his time.
The exhibition was initiated by George v. Durtanosky, journalist, author and lecturer at the Latvian Christian Academy. The event was organized in collaboration with the State Archive of Estonia, the Tartu University College of Slavic Languages and University Library Department for Rare Books and Manuscripts.
The exhibition was opened by the director of University of Tartu Library, Ms Liisi Lambinen, along with Macedonian ambassador H.E. Sasho Veljanovski. Ms Lambinen, in her opening speech, underlined the importance of marking the 170th anniversary of Masing's birth as well as the 125th anniversary of his doctoral dissertation.
Ambassador Veljanovski made a donation of Macedonian books to the University Library, which supports furthering the understanding of Macedonian culture and traditions in this part of the world, and marking the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Estonia and Macedonia.
Estonian diplomat Daniel Schaer in his opening address gave full support to the Macedonian integration process to the European Union and he conveyed special thanks to the Macedonian government for opening an embassy in Tallinn, the only Macedonian Embassy in the Baltic region.
Along with many other invited guests, the honorary consul of Macedonia to Tartu Mr Peter Roose also attended the opening reception of the exhibition.
Prof. Dr. Ljubov Kisseljova, Head of the College of Slavic Languages and Literature (Tartu University), gave a very inspirational speech about Macedonia, the glory of Alexander the Great who spread the name of Macedonia and Macedonians worldwide, and the lifework of Leonhard Masing and Baudouin de Courtenay, who also supported the thesis for the distinction of the Macedonian language as a separate language.
Author of the exhibition George Durtanosky said that part of the newly discovered history of Macedonia begins in the Estonian seat of learning - Tartu, in 1890, and in the University Library. Masing's doctoral dissertation is kept half way from the house where he lived and worked and the University main building where he defended his thesis.
"By an irony of history, the Macedonian people whose ancestors gave to the Slavs their first literary language in the second half of the ninth century, were the last to have their modern language recognized as a separate language," said Durtanosky.
By personal invitation from Durtanosky, prof. Aleksandr Dmitrievich Dulichenkoof also took part in the opening reception; prof. Dulichenkoof is an expert in Slavic microlanguages and former head of the department of Slavic studies at Tartu University, and as such, he too expressed his admiration for Leonhard Masing and his lifework.
A Gratitude Award on behalf of the Presidency of the Macedonian World Youth Congress was given to director Liisi Lambinen for supporting the event as well as maintaining a fruitful Macedonian-Estonian relationship.
The free public exhibition ran between November 27 and December 22, 2015 on the first floor of the Bibliotheca Universitatis Tartuensis.
Contributors and collaborators to the exhibition were: George v. Durtanosky, journalist, author and lecturer at Latvian Christian Academy (Riga); Prof. Dr. Ljubov Kisseljova, Head of the College of Slavic Languages and Literature, Tartu University; Tatjana ahhovskaja, Head of the Department for Rare Books and Manuscripts, Tartu University Library; Tatjana or, Senior Official Archivist, State Archives of Estonia; Embassy of Macedonia - Tallinn; Honorary Consulate of Macedonia - Tartu; and the Macedonian World Youth Congress.