On May 12, the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ (GMF) Washington, DC chapter of its Young Transatlantic Network (YTN), partnering with George Washington University’s Professionals in European, Eurasian, and Russian Studies (PEERS) forum, hosted Valery Kavaleuski, founder and author of the Belarus Politics blog, and Joerg Forbrig, a Transatlantic fellow for Central and Eastern Europe at GMF and director of GMF’s Fund for Belarus Democracy, for an event on “Belarus: Between East and West.” This candid, off-the-record conversation was moderated by Kelsey Guyette, program assistant with the Foreign and Security Policy Program at GMF, with an introduction by Ivor Urek, PEERS’ director of events and planning.
With distinguished careers and years of expertise working on Belarus and related issues, both Kavaleuski and Forbrig brought interesting perspectives and much needed clarity to the complexities surrounding Belarus’ precarious situation, sandwiched between the European Union and Russia and having long felt pressures from both the East and the West, in the new regional context following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and destabilization of the Donbas. The event attracted over 50 representatives from the diplomatic, think tank, academic, government, private, and media sectors.
The Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) is a flagship initiative of GMF specifically geared toward young professionals 35 years old and younger. The network aims to strengthen transatlantic relations by offering the next generation of leaders opportunities to critically engage on core challenges facing Europe and the United States, as well as new issues posed by the increasing geographic reach of transatlantic cooperation. GMF currently has YTN chapters in Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, and Washington, DC.
Professionals in European, Eurasian, and Russian Studies (PEERS) is a graduate student-run forum that facilitates academic and professional interaction, increases awareness of the issues affecting the countries of Europe, Eurasia, and Russia, and promotes an understanding of these issues from a global perspective. PEERS hosts a number of events throughout the academic year including embassy visits, roundtable discussions with practitioners and academics, and informal networking events.