Russian Civil Society Symposium:
Building Bridges to the Future
01 Apr - 04 Apr, 2014
- Consultant, Russian Civil Society Expert, Moscow
- Scholar-in-Residence, Society and Regions Program, Carnegie Moscow Center; Editor in Chief, Pro Et Contra Moscow Center
- Chief Executive Officer, Rusini.org, Vienna
- Deputy Director, The Yeltsin Fund, Moscow
Since the 1990s, a more active and open civil society sector has developed across the Russian Federation. While civil society institutions and civic engagement in Russia are not new, the growth of the sector over the last twenty years has created hopes that Russian civil society could become the voice for a more effective democratic system, more efficient social services, and a check against corruption and centralized power. At the same time, the increasing interconnectivity between Russian and international civil society institutions during that time created a sense of optimism that an interconnected "Euro-Atlantic civil society" could make positive contributions to difficult geo-political challenges.
After two more than two decades, however, these hopes have largely been put on hold. Russian civil society institutions are facing a variety of political and social pressures, and are becoming less connected to international partners. Geo-political relations between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic community have worsened, and international civil society groups have become the object of suspicion as instruments of external interference. At a political level, prior optimism about a "re-set" in Russia-Euro-Atlantic relations has faltered, with diminishing hopes for a denoument in the near term.
This has created an urgent need to rebuild bridges between Russia, Europe and the United States, and to reestablish a serious dialogue about the role of Russian civil society and its relationship to its international partners.
In partnership with and with the generous support of the Yeltsin Presidential Center, a Russian Civil Society Symposium will be held at the Salzburg Global Seminar from April 1-4, 2014. The Symposium will address the challenges and opportunities currently facing civil society in Russia as a means to understand the needs and perspective of Russian civil society groups and to design new approaches to international civil society engagement with Russia. The Symposium will include representatives of civil society, informal actors, foundations, businesses, the media, and other groups, and will focus on questions of governance, transparency, justice, social services, education, and the role of culture and the arts. Specific case studies will be comissioned in advance of the Symposium.
Conference fees vary depending on the financial circumstances of an individual applicant.
The conference is fully residential, with board and lodging included in the fee, from dinner on the opening day until breakfast on the departure day. Travel to and from Salzburg is not included.
For a very limited number of outstanding early to mid-career applicants from developing countries, Salzburg Global Seminar and its partners cover travel as well as session fees. Our aim is to bring
together a unique mix of people and strongly encourage individuals from all parts of the world to apply.