What Do Belarusians Think, Forum Of Enterpreneurs – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Perspektiva organises a National Forum of Entrepreneurs to enable them to share opinions how they see their future in Belarus.

Fountain on Grushevskaya street in Minsk will be restored for the money of locals. The local residents decided to take the matters into their own hands and save the fountain by raising funds for its reconstruction.

The Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) invites to a new debate under the series What do Belarusians Think. This time participants will be discussing gender issues.

Public Debates and Conferences

Perspektiva organises a National Forum of Entrepreneurs on 28 September. The Forum aims to present the Perspektiva's policy proposals for 2015-2020 and enable entrepreneurs to share opinions how they see their future. Meanwhile, the head of a business union Perspektiva, that brings together individual entrepreneurs and small businesses, Anatoly Shumchanka declares his political ambitions and does not exclude that he could run for the president or member of parliament.​

Fifth International Congress of Belarusian Studies. The Congress is to take part on 2-4 October in Kaunas, Lithuania. The preliminary programme is available. The International Congress of Belarusian Studies is an annual meeting of Belarusian and foreign scholars, experts, analysts and representatives of civil society and government institutions, which are involved in studying Belarus.

Gender Equality: Why is it Profitable? The Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) invites to a new debate under the series What do Belarusians Think. The new meeting will be devoted to gender issues and take place on 23 September at the Minsk Gallery TUT.BY. A series of live discussions What do Belarusians Think aim to make the expert debate public and creates a space for discussion of researches on topical issues. Discussions are organised since September 2014 by OEEC in partnership with the Belarusian Research Council, Pact and supported by USAID.

Civil Society Initiatives

Fountain on Grushevskaya street in Minsk will be restored for the money of locals. Since the 1940s, the fountain was the centre of social life of the district, however by the moment it lost its well-maintained appearance. The municipality was going to dismantle the fountain to organise the flower bed instead, but the local residents decided to save the fountain and raise funds for its reconstruction. In total, they need to raise about 170 million rubles.

EuroBelarus.info website launches a new video project. The project Postmodern and Anthropotechnique is an attempt to understand the anthropological dimension of era of post modernism and multiculturalism, revolutionary technological and social change, unavailable for people to keep pace with. The first episode of the video project is a series of lectures of the Head of the International Consortium EuroBelarus, Vladimir Mackevich on political technologies of the third generation.

Students' Leadership Academy calls for fellows. The Academy implemented by the Centre for Development of Students' Initiatives is designed for active students who are not indifferent to the students’ problems and would like to resolve them. Fellows will be able to select one of the four areas of study: the protection of students' rights, improving the quality of education, belarusization of higher education, student media; or propose their own idea.

Gomel Democratic Forum releases a study on media space of Gomel region and a manual on planning and implementing of local media campaigns. Publications are prepared within the framework of a project aimed at promoting best media presence of local CSOs. Now Gomel Democratic Forum plans to continue to support local organisations and initiatives with media consultations.

Third Age University in Minsk announces the third call for students. The project aims to educate seniors and implemented by the Belarusian Association of Social Workers. For two years, the University courses in computer literacy, foreign languages, journalism, psychology, local history were attended by over two thousand Minsk residents of 60+ years old. In September, Grodno Golden Age University enrols students for the seventh academic year.

Fifth Festival of creativity of people with disabilities was held in Minsk on 13 September. The Festival aims to promote creativity of people with disabilities, establish a comprehensive system of social and cultural rehabilitation of the disabled and their active integration into society. Among organisers were Minsk municipality and non-governmental organisations such as Belarusian Society of Disabled People, Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities, etc.

BISS and CET present a new research on solidarity. On 29 September a research on the potential for solidarity in the Belarusian society is to be presented in Minsk. The study is a continuation and development of the research on the potential for solidarity among CSOs, conducted by the Centre for European Transformation (CET) and the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) in 2014. The presentation will take place at 6 pm, at the Studio67 venue.

New cultural partnership program. The Association of Local Democracy Agencies ALDA (France) together with the International Consortium EuroBelarus announces the launch of the partnership program CHOICE – Cultural Heritage: Opportunity for Improving Civic Engagement. The two-year project is aimed to protect the cultural heritage and strengthening the institutional capacity of cultural CSOs. Presentation of the project will be held on 22 September in the TSEKH venue.

Contests and Awards

XII National competition of school teams about Europe. The contest What I Know about Europe is held annually since 2004, by the initiative group of Belarusian teachers and civic leaders with the support of public organisations. Competition tasks are designed for senior school pupils.

The first summer reality-competition of urban projects #RazamMіnsk awarded the winners. Among 11 finalists (selected out of 300 teams) the jury divided the prize fund ($ 1,000) between two projects – Beautification of Pond and Museum of Retro Computers. Minsk residents voted for Clean Business project on separate waste collection. The competition, organised by Onliner.by portal, Talaka.by platform and Velcom mobile company, has brought to Minsk a number of ideas implemented, like installation of bikes spots – facility for free repair bicycles.

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.