Wednesday 5 August 2020 | 21:38

Andrei Kazakevich: Belarus’ expert community needs to step out of isolation

11.10.2016  |  Society   |  Zmicier Chvedaruk, "EuroBelarus" Information Service,  
Andrei Kazakevich: Belarus’ expert community needs to step out of isolation photo by nn.by

In Lithuanian Kaunas, 6th International Congress of Belarusian Studies has ended.

About 500 people attended the event. Within the three days, from October 8-10, the latest relevant research on political and social issues were discussed.

Andrei Kazakevich, the director of the Institute for Political Studies Palіtychnaya Sphera (Political Sphere) and the Chair of the Congress Organizing Committee, shared the results of the Congress with the EuroBelarus Information Service:

- First of all, we planned the Congress as an open platform for discussing current research and their results. The Congress provides our society with more open research results and makes academic community qualified, as well as enriches Belarusian culture. First of all, it should be noted that the Congress gives a clearer understanding of what is happening in Belarus. And, of course, promotes, if I may say so, certain people, who, in situation of absence of decent spaces in Belarus would simply remain invisible and would only be known to a narrow circle of experts.

- If such events are of great importance, why they are not organized in Belarus? And is one Congress enough?

- In Belarus, indeed, nothing like this happens. Unfortunately, because of a certain political situation, we cannot be sure about the safety and the possibility of a broad and uncensored discussion, which is available in Kaunas. It’s hard to say why else.

- How do you assess the current work of the Congress?

- The work has been extremely successful. We hosted many participants from different countries of the world. A third part of all the guests were foreigners and two-thirds were from Belarus. According to panel coordinators and researchers, discussions of narrow topics were extremely interesting. We are pleased that we have given researchers this opportunity, and hope that the materials of the discussions and presentations will be available for wide use in the media and on the Internet.

- This is the sixth Congress already - do you think that the political research has changed over this time?

- Indeed, over the past 5 years, much has changed. A number of research institutions and initiatives have been founded. We see that a new generation of analysts is growing. Expert community now looks stronger and more united; a wider range of problems is raised. On the whole, it should be noted that the Congress of Belarus researchers fosters the Belarusian expert community and expands its influence.

- Have you considered that the Congress will become that big over the years?

- Initially we hoped to launch small meetings for 50-100 persons. But with every year a growing number of researchers have been submitting their applications and abstracts for participation. Therefore, we can say that the Congress is constructed due to the need, not out of some well-established plan.

- You mentioned that special attention at the Congress was given to the research of Russian foreign policy and the situation in Eastern Europe.

- This issue is of concern for absolutely everyone now. The region recovers from the shock that began two years ago. New rules and security system should be built. Discussion of these aspects is important for the formation of expert opinion and its further impact on the foreign policy in the region.

- What else would you mention?

- Particularly impressive were the reports of Ananka and Parotnikau regarding weapons and the status of the Belarusian defense industry. The study of the post-Soviet area and disintegration processes in the region, the processes of cooperation, trade and economic partnership was extremely interesting. In general, we can say that now long-term strategies get increasingly smaller value in the region. This means that the processes of European and Eurasian integration have less impact on narrow interests.

Other news section «Society»

What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
The Belarus Committee of ICOMOS announces the collection of cases on the effectiveness of the State List of Historical and Cultural Values as a tool of the safeguarding the cultural monuments.
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
On March 27-28, the Belarus ICOMOS and the EuroBelarus held an online expert workshop on expanding opportunities for community participation in the governance of historical and cultural heritage.
“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.