Archive for the ‘events-2009’ Category

Strategic Action Plan for Higher Education Reform in Belarus

This strategy aims at opening the higher education system in Belarus to internationally recognized standards, sensitizing it to the need for qualitative and systemic reform, for the purpose of developing its competitiveness and its integration within the pan-European cultural and educational space. Specific targets within this strategic statement are listed in the discussion below, as are a number of action activities envisaged for an energized partnership of the international community and the independent Belarusian higher education community, both within the
country and outside.

Summary of the Symposium

The symposium brought together leading specialists in the subject area from Belarus, from the North America Belarusian Diaspora, and from the diplomatic arena. These individuals held widely divergent views on historical and current events in Belarus, on the state of higher education there, and on the prospects for the role of higher education in concretely advancing democratic civil society in the country.

Nonetheless, consensus developed around a number of specific points pertaining to the current state of affairs of Belarus, including: its unique problems of national identity based on historical factors; the past fifteen years of Belarus’ history as a template of how not to advance civil society; the crucial if undramatic role higher education must play as the practical alternative; the vital necessity for the United States, Canada, and the European Union to work in tandem in promoting higher education, especially with regard to: directed support for independent educational structures within and adjacent to the country, promotion of culture, and intensification of exchanges; and the necessity for Belarusians themselves finally to work together if a democratic civil society is to be achieved. Most especially this trans-Atlantic cooperation is crucial over the next year (see below).

Of vital importance, participants were unanimous in supporting a strategy synthesized and articulated at the symposium. This strategy aims atopening the higher education system in Belarus to internationally recognized standards, sensitizing it to the need for qualitative and systemic reform, for the purpose of developing its competitiveness and its integration within the pan-European cultural and educational space. Specific targets within this strategic statement are listed in the discussion below, as are a number of action activitiesenvisaged for an energized partnership of the international community and the independent Belarusian higher education community, both within the country and outside.

Finally, participants were of the view that the share for higher education in the international community’s financial support for Belarus needs to be radically increased, recognizing–finally–its vital role in societal transformations.

Read the FULL TEXT of the Symposium Report & Strategic Action Plan

 

Participants of the Symposium

CBS HOLDS SYMPOSIUM ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN BELARUS

The Center for Belarusian Studies at Southwestern College organized and held a major symposium October 6 and 7, 2009, on the topic “Higher Education and Civil Society in Belarus.”

The conference – held on Southwestern’s campus in Winfield, Kansas  – brought together leading specialists in the subject area from Belarus, from the North America Belarusian Diaspora, and from the diplomatic arena.

The symposium was chaired by Dr. Maria Paula Survilla, the Center’s Executive Director and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Wartburg College in Iowa.  In addition to Professor Survilla, Associate Executive Directors Dr. J. Andrew Sheppard and Ambassador (retired) David H. Swartz also presented papers.

Belarusians participating in the two-day meeting included:

Ales Antsipenka, Head, Belarusian Collegium

Aliaksandr Kalbaska, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, European Humanities University

Aliaksandr Kazulin, Former Rector, Belarus State University

Stanislau Shushkevich, Former Head of State, Republic of Belarus

Other official participants in the symposium were:

Zina Gimpelevich, President, Canadian Association of Slavists and Professor of

Slavic Literatures, University of Waterloo

Kenneth Yalowitz, Adjunct Professor and Director, Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus

The Center extended an invitation to the government of Belarus to send an official delegation to participate in the symposium.  Unfortunately, that invitation was declined.

Participants’ papers and the lively exchanges they evoked revealed highly relevant yet often significantly divergent views on the prospects for the role of higher education in advancing democratic civil society in Belarus.  A constructive synergy emerged over the two days of discussions, leading to a strong consensus around specific points pertaining to the current state of affairs in Belarus and the ageless question:  “What is to be done?”  The Center is now developing follow-up measures.

The Center for Belarusian Studies wishes to thank sincerely all participants in this symposium.  Their dedication, unique perspectives, and common sense are all greatly appreciated.  The Center extends special thanks to the German Marshall Fund of the United States for its financial support and also to the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program.

Please, read the REPORT AND THE STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN adopted at the Symposium

 

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