Within the framework of the SlovakAid Fellowship programme for Change Leaders initiative, Belarusian specialists will become familiar with the Slovak experience of post-communist transformation. Over six months, ten Belarusian experts will study the specifics of systemic reforms in Slovakia and participate in academic training at leading Slovak think tanks and institutions. Their mentors will be renowned Slovak economists and managers who have promoted reforms in various industries in their country.
The study program includes areas of exchange of experience such as socio-economic transformations, regulation of the audiovisual sphere, good governance, and others. Along with the international expert initiative iSANS, the program is being implemented by well-known Slovak think tanks – Slovak Foreign Policy Association (SFPA), GLOBSEC and Institute for Public Affairs (IVO). Project is supported by SlovakAid.
The Slovak program will allow Belarusian experts to improve their knowledge and skills and prepare proposals for introducing best international practices and reform of various sectors, including energy, agriculture, and the financial sector. In addition to strengthening the academic potential for the implementation of positive socio-economic transformations in Belarus, the program will expand the channels of communication between Belarusian and Slovak analytical communities.
Alexander Duleba, Director of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (SFPA):
«Citizens of Belarus have shown that they deserve to live in a free and successful country. For this to happen this they need a reform plan, and I am firmly convinced that this project is capable of at least bringing Belarus a little closer to this goal. About 20 years ago, Slovakia also needed help with reforms. We must share the support we received then with our Belarusian partners who need it today.»
Grigory Mesezhnikov, Director of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO):
«Cooperation between Slovak and Belarusian experts in the framework of this project supported by SlovakAid is not only a manifestation of Slovakia’s solidarity with Belarus, but also a real contribution to the mutual enrichment of the foundation of experts in both countries and the development of approaches necessary to solve problems democratic transition. It represents an opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Belarus, to better understand the main directions of development of Belarusian society, and to assess prospects for transformation.»
Alena Kudzko, Director of the international analytical center of the GLOBSEC Policy Institute:
«The history of reforms in Slovakia, with their successes, but also deficiencies, contains many lessons for countries facing similar challenges. With this in mind, we would like to provide Belarusian experts with a platform for studying the experience of other countries so they can make meaningful decisions in areas of reform that are most appropriate for their country. We are also working to increase the outside world’s awareness about the events in Belarus and its real needs.»
Vlad Kobets, Executive Director of iSANS:
«Slovakia is a shining example of successful transformation thanks to the astute reforms carried out after the communist period and the rule of Vladimír Mečiar. They allowed Slovakia over a period to become the fastest growing economy in Europe. For Belarusians, Slovakia is also a country close in terms of the people’s mindset, and the Belarusian and Slovak languages are so similar that one involuntarily thinks about common historical roots. The Slovak experience of reforming their system of public administration and other spheres can undoubtedly be useful for Belarus during the period of its democratic transition.»
Pavol Demeš, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia:
«Belarusians and Slovaks are two Slavic nations who have a lot in common. I have many Belarusian friends and I never cease to admire their courageous struggle to build a just society. I believe that Slovakia was fortunate enough to join the European democratic family and it is obliged to show solidarity and help Belarus in this critical period of its history. A manifestation of such assistance is, among other things, this project aimed at talented Belarusian specialists in various fields.»