2016 Winter school Pyatigorsk

Winter School Pyatigorsk 2016

»European Integration and the Future of Civil Society in the Caucasus«
13 – 19 March 2016, Pyatigorsk (Russian Federation)

The North Caucasus Federal University as partner of the Jean Monnet Network «Developing European Studies in the Caucasus» organized the first Winter School in a series of Jean Monnet Network activities. The Winter School 2016 was devoted to the topic «European Integration and the Future of Civil Society in the Caucasus». It hosted approximately 30 students from all countries of the wider Caucasus region as well as from Europe and offered a platform to discuss and elaborate on current issues of civil society engagement in the EU and in Russia. Academic experts and scholars from both Europe and Russia delivered lectures which raised the contemporary challenges that emerge in EU-Russia interaction.

The School targeted students of law, political science, international relations, cultural / Russian studies and related fields in their B.A. or early M.A. years. The school was held in English and participants received diplomas with 6 ECTS.

The Winter School is the first in a series of events offered by the Jean Monnet Network DESCnet. The DESCnet consortium comprises leading universities of the wider Caucasus area, including Russia and Turkey. The local partner who was responsible for the Winter School is the North Caucasus Federal University in Stavropol with its branch in Pyatigorsk.

The DESCnet Winter School 2016 was held in Pyatigorsk, a traditional Russian spa location, beautifully located at the Caucasus mountain range with a gorgeous view on the snow-covered summit of Mount Elbrus. It was targeted towards ambitious students of the wider Caucasus region and Europe who want to improve their knowledge on the subjects of this Winter School by learning and discussing in the beautiful, vibrant and multi-cultural context of the North Caucasus. 

The teaching provided an interdisciplinary introduction to the North Caucasus, attempting to assess the role of civil society in the region and comparing it to approaches to civil society engagement prevalent in the EU. Analytical perspectives are developed, using the approaches of law, political science, sociology and cultural studies. To give participants a true immersion into the North Caucasus, there will be an optional instruction into North Caucasus dance styles in the evening. Over the weekend, participants had an opportunity to explore the nearby skiing resorts.

The School offered teaching on the following topics
— The EU's Vision of Civil Society: Values, Human Rights and Recognition in Formal Political Proceedings
— Human Rights as a Safeguard for Civil Society Activism
— Participation of NGO's in Building Civil Society in Russia and the EU: A Comparative Analysis
— The Role of Civil Society in Russia in Accomodating the Refugee Crisis (based on the incoming refugees
from Eastern Ukraine)
— The Terskii Cossacks in the North Caucasus - An Early Form of Civil Society?
— Gender (In-) Equality in the Caucasus and its Effects on Civil Society
— Gender Policy in the EU and the New Legal Framework for Combating Violence against Women
and Domestic Violence in the Council of Europe 

Please see the detailed programme here: 

Teaching materials from the school:

Feedback from participants: