Shared Experience

2006–2007, Prague

Shared Experience is a long-term educational project aimed at strengthening civil society and democratic processes of the former Soviet Union countries of Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the countries of Central Europe made great progress in becoming successfully functioning democratic societies. The coming accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union exhibits just how far these countries have come. Unfortunately, Eastern Europe has not seen the same improvements.

This region has been plagued by totalitarian rule, civil unrest, and denial of basic human rights for several decades. Elections are not free, media is dishonest, and dissent is not tolerated. Some countries still face oppressive dictators; others face poverty and poor economic policies.

It was not long ago that our own region faced a similar struggle. Shared Experience aims to use the knowledge Central Europe has gained from its transition following the fall of communism in order to aid the countries of Eastern Europe in their own transition. By sharing information with our Eastern neighbours, we can allow them access to the tools necessary for creating and maintaining democracy. The long-term goals of the project include the implementation of plans based on these discussions. In the end, we hope to see these countries make noticeable and positive strides towards a democratic future.

Target Countries: Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine

Five countries were selected from the Eastern Europe region based on their geography, their current and potential political developments and the project goals. The selected countries represent a diverse yet cohesive group. We consider certain differences to be essential not only for an interesting exchange of ideas and experiences between participants and lecturers, as well as among participants themselves. Such diversity will support current and future transformation in the selected countries.