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ECU poli scientists collect documents on new democracies

(Sept. 12, 1995)   —   A group of political scientists from East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro have a plan they hope will attract a ton of governmental paperwork.
In a joint project, the political science departments at the two campuses have begun collecting information about the new governments that formed in central Europe after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The project is supported with a five-year, $145,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Maurice Simon, an ECU professor of political science, said the collection will become the basis for the world’s first Central European Parliamentary Documents Center. The center will be located at the Greensboro campus, but Simon described it as a “joint venture” between the two schools and their Departments of Political Science.
The center will contain parliamentary documents from 11 countries. The countries are: the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Republics of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Moldova.
Simon serves as one of the project coordinators along with Dr. David Olson and Dr. William Crowther of UNCG.
The document collection is unique, according to the ECU professor, “because no other collection of this type exists.” He said the materials will extend back to the 1989 breakup of the Soviet Union and will cover the next five years of the democratization process in the new countries.
Planned as a reference source for a worldwide community of scholars, the collection will include membership directories and summaries of parliamentary activities. Some of the materials have already been acquired by the scholars from their previous research in central Europe.
They organizers say they expect the center to open later this fall, following the selection of a suitable site. A future plan includes listing the center’s holdings on the Internet.
The project is an outgrowth of an international research conference held last summer in Prague, Czech Republic. The three North Carolina scholars attended the conference with about 30 other social scientists from the U.S. and Eastern Europe. Olson, of UNCG, organized and chaired the event.