Due to COVID-19 pandemic the last two WEASA rounds were held online. To compensate the participants lack of live contacts, and to enable them taking part in the expert meeting in Katowice, the PAFF supported the study tour to Poland for WEASA 2020 and 2021 alumni. Poland was visited by 8 people from the following four countries: Albania, Georgia, North Macedonia and Ukraine.
For five days the tour participants took part in various discussion panels, workshops and networking meetings on such topics as economic integration and human rights, universal access to the Internet, new regulations of the Internet contents protection and consumer rights, sustainable development of natural environment and climate change, digital rights and inclusive Internet governance, and cybersecurity.
The main objective of Internet Governance Forum, held regularly for 16 years, is to move closer the perspectives of various stakeholders such as governments, private sector, ICT firms and civil society. This year’s forum, hosted by Poland, was held in hybrid form and turned out to be the biggest in its history with a total of over 10 300 participants from 175 countries, both at the venue and online. WEASA alumni got in touch with representatives of various sectors and institutions participating in the Forum.
The tour also made an opportunity to meet the members of the editorial office of New Eastern Europe bimonthly, published in English in Kraków. During the meeting they learned about the magazine profile and its development over 10 years. They also spoke about the crisis at the EU-Belarus border and negative consequences of disinformation in international relations, especially the conflict areas.
The alumni shared with the WEASA organizers and patrons their recommendations regarding development of cooperation through the Academy alumni network, and the topics worth discussing under the next WEASA rounds.
The agenda of alumni’s tour to Poland included also meetings at cultural institutions. They visited an exhibition on today’s Ukraine at the International Culture Center in Kraków, and the Museum of Silesia in Katowice.
The tour was organized by WEASA Team of College of Europe Natolin Campus and supported by Polish-American Freedom Foundation under the “Study Tours to Poland” Program managed by the Leaders of Change Foundation.
WEASA is a joint initiative of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, the College of Europe Natolin Campus and The German Marshall Fund of the United States. Nine WEASA rounds (2013-2021) had a total of 417 participants, including 338 coming from Eastern Partnership countries (since 2017, also participants coming from West Balkan countries are eligible), namely: 40 people from Armenia, 30 from Azerbaijan, 35 from Belarus, 77 from Georgia, 38 from Moldova, and 118 from Ukraine.
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