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[EuroDig Interview] Marina Sokolova, Belarus

Marina Sokolova teaches at the European Humanities University in Vilnius and is part of the team coming next week for the EuroDig in Geneva.

DIPLO IGCBP: Marina, what was the reason that brought you to explore this field of Internet governance?

MARINA: There were two major reasons for that. The first and the most important one is that there are no public discussions of IG issues in Belarus, neither on official, nor on civil society level. There fore, there is a danger that in the situation, when “the country is asked” few inexperienced government officials will answer. So I feel it important to start a kind of awareness rising process, for which I have some specific resource - I teach a course on social history of ICTs and Internet for public policy master students, at European Humanities University in Vilnius (that is a Belarusian University in Lithuania). And this is another reason for my participation in capacity building Diplo programme

DIPLO IGCBP: And how was the elearning experience?

MARINA: As for the e-learning experience – it was great! I teach an online course myself- on e-democracy for philosophy and law master students (the EHU uses Moodle), and I would say that I not only enjoyed the course, but learnt some very useful things about online teaching.

DIPLO IGCBP: Tell us more about the current situation in your country: what do you see as the main challenges ahead?

MARINA: As I have already mentioned, I feel that my mission is to bring the whole issue to the attention of the interested parties and of the wider public in Belarus . Therefore I am planning to use the opportunity to establish contacts and to develop initial framework for IG awareness razing campaign in Belarus. And my point is participatory democracy, so I would like to discuss the ways in which individual citizens can contribute their knowledge and experience to the IG discussions.

DIPLO IGCBP: What are the professional and research projects you would like to continue over the next years?

MARINA: My dream is to establish a regional network of civil society organizations based on citizens’ deliberative participation on local level which will enhance legitimacy and efficiency of civil society attempts to promote IG agenda. Being organized in this way, civil society is better able to press its demands with governments that may have a modicum of political will but lack capacity to respond effectively. In other words, civic leadership may become a crucial element in the context of Belarus

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This interview is part of a series with participants from the European Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (although in this case our guest Vedran took the Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme). Diplo IGCBP stands for Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme and you can find more on our Facebook profile, the Internet Governance Capacity Building page on Facebook or the Twitter for Internet Governance

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