Your Tomorrow, Global Belarusians Meeting, ADNaK! Winners - Civil Society Digest

Stallholders hold a national forum in Minsk. Photo: belapan.by

City show releases final episode. First Ostrogorski Forum on Belarusian foreign policy and security. Your Tomorrow project assists in looking for a job for Belarusians who studied abroad. Vilnius hosts Global Belarusians Meeting. Art Siadziba offers assistance to BRSM in organising Vyshyvanka Day.

Imena online magazine is looking for investors. OEEC launches new educational course for female community leaders. 1,5 year and $2m donations - Belarusian Children's Hospice opens its doors for small visitors. Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections campaign starts releasing weekly reports on observations of the upcoming Parliamentary elections. This and more in the new edition of Civil Society Digest.

Culture

The City show sums up results. In the final 11th episode, The City project shows how a children pirate ship was built in Braslaŭ, the Little Prince was painted in Kamianiec and if other participants continued implementation of their initiatives. The City project was attended by 17 participants from 11 cities; attracted local resources and volunteer help for around $6,000 and mobilised over 2,000 people in project activities.

Global Belarusians Meeting in Vilnius. EESC in cooperation with partners is holding the Global Belarusians Meeting, which takes place on 29 June – 1 July , in Vilnius, Lithuania. The meeting gathered renowned Belarusian experts of Belarusian culture and identity from Belarus, Lithuania, and other countries to discuss a joint Lithuanian-Belarusian past, contemporary Belarusian culture, etc. The official opening took place at Vilnius Town Hall.

Art Siadziba offers assistance to BRSM in organizing Vyshyvanka Day. The pro-governmental Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) uses an idea of Art Siadziba CSO in its event and organises Vyshyvanka Day/Embroidery Day at the Palace of Sports on 2 July. In 2014, Art Siadziba conducted the similar event without any state support. Now CSO activists decide not to fight plagiarism but help make the event interesting.

Community building

First Ostrogorski Forum. On 29 June, the Ostrogorski Centre held a conference on Belarusian foreign policy and security. The conference featured five studies conducted in spring 2016 with grant support from the Mott Foundation and Pontis Foundation. Speakers discussed issues including Belarusian soft power in the region, Belarusian-Russian relations after the conflict in Ukraine, etc.

Your Tomorrow project was presented by the Salidarnaść Committee on June 29. The project aims to create a community of young professionals who studied abroad and willing to work in Belarus. A new project can be useful for more than 18 thousand Belarusians who received or are receiving education abroad. Surveys show that more than 50% of recent graduates would like to return to Belarus.

Solve Together: course for community leaders. Office of European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) invites grassroots leaders to participate in the educational course aimed to help female community leaders to increase their competencies in identifying and solving local problems, considering the interests of women and vulnerable groups. Priority in participation is given to women. Deadline for applications is 1 July .

Social projects

Imena invites investors. The online magazine Imena/Names tells about Belarusians, who got in trouble and those who help others. During the first 2,5 months, the magazine has got 120 thousand unique users; 5 thousand followers in social networks and BYR 93m (roughly $4,700) collected in support of its heroes. The magazine requests support from its readers, in order not to depend on advertisers, international grants or subscription.

1,5 year and BYR 38.5bn (roughly $2m) donations: Belarusian Children's Hospice opened. On June 16, the ceremony of the official opening of the Belarusian Children's Hospice took place near Minsk. The hospice was built via crowdfunding, without state budget money. From July 1, Hospice will start taking seriously ill children and their parents. As a non-governmental non-profit organisation, the Belarusian Children's Hospice provides its services for free.

Business and civil society

aDNaK! announced the winners. On 30 June , an award ceremony of the Festival of Belarusian advertising and communications aDNaK! took place in Minsk. Initiated by Budzma campaign, for 7 years the festival is a communication platform that gathers professionals and beginners of the advertising market and encourages the creation of Belarusian-oriented advertising. This year Festival got 285 applications from 135 participants.

Non-food stallholders held another national forum in Minsk on 13 June. The event was hosted by Dom Moskvy (House of Moscow), a building owned by the Moscow city government. The forum was organised by a small business association called Perspektyva that campaigns against president's Edict No.222 that introduced controversial rules for non-food stallholders.

Other

Student activists make series about Bologna Process (video). Two series are already out. The protagonist, Mr. Bologne, explains how the university autonomy works and what the quality of education is. "Belarus joined the Bologna Process on May 14, 2015 but no serious reforms have been carried out so far,” the authors of the series noted.

First report on the results of observation. The civil campaign Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections starts releasing the weekly reports on observations of the upcoming Parliamentary elections scheduled for September 11, 2016. The report of June 7-12 concludes that the current election campaign has a more favourable domestic political background as compared to last year's presidential election.

People's voting for the non-formal event of the year. More than 50 Belarusian educational projects/events are presented for people's voting within the VI Festival of Non-Formal Education, which will be held in Minsk on 7-9 July. The voting is available via social networks until July 5. The awards ceremony will be held on 8 July, at the Festival.

Mahilioŭ authorities denied registration to a local Center For Gender Studies Ruža. According to the NGO’s head, Aliena Barysava, the ban referred to an absence of gender discrimination in the country, as “gender equality is guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus”. Therefore, equality is secured by authorised government bodies, while eradicating discrimination is allegedly beyond the NGO’s competence.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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