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Russian political and cultural climate the subject of 2012 Weissberg Program in Human Rights

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

“Russia: Prospects for Democracy and Human Rights” is the topic of the upcoming keynote address to be presented by this year’s Weissberg Chair in International Studies, Yuri Dzhibladze. Dzhibladze is the founder and president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy non-governmental organization.

The 2012 Weissberg keynote address takes place Friday, March 30 at 8 p.m. in Eaton Chapel; it is free and open to the public.

Dzhibladze’s residency will be held in conjunction with a one-and-a-half-day conference from Friday, March 30 to Saturday, March 31 on “Russia after the Collapse of Communism: Prospects for Liberalization.” This conference will explore Russia’s two decades of efforts to liberalize, including the constraints posed by its historical legacy, the challenges to progress, and the prospects for the future.

Kicking off the Friday, March 30 events is a panel discussion on “The Communist Legacy” from 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. followed by a gallery talk and reception on “Capitalizing on Communism: Soviet Propaganda in the Post-Soviet Context” from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dzhibladze’s keynote address takes place at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, March 31, the following panel discussions will take place: “Multiethnic Societies and the Rise of Nationalism” from 8:30 a.m. -10 a.m.; “Challenges to Society and Culture” from 10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.; and “Prospects for Democracy” from 1:45 p.m. -3:15 p.m. Rounding out the conference is a film screening of Gulya Mirzoeva’s documentary Mikhail Gorbachev, Confidential at 3:30 p.m.

Up to 40 people can register to attend the Friday evening reception and dinner and a catered lunch on Saturday, the fee for which is $75. However, participants also have the option of simply attending the individual sessions and Friday evening talk, and may also purchase a box lunch for Saturday. For more information on the panels and its speakers, click here.

Dzhibladze is a specialist in human rights, international law and civil society, as well as an active member of the Russian and international NGO community. He currently is a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy, NGO Process for the Community of Democracies, Citizens Against Terror, and several other international and national NGO networks.

Dzhibladze has been active in social movements since the mid-1980s. In 1998, he founded and became president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights. The center’s work focuses on public policy research, legislative work, protection of NGOs from persecution, NGO legislation, application of international human rights instruments, combating racism and xenophobia, development of alternative civil service for conscientious objectors to the military draft, and advocacy campaigns on human rights.

Dzhibladze has written many articles in Russian and foreign publications and has edited several books. He is a member of the Expert Council of the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the Russian Federation.

The Weissberg Program in International Studies was established by Beloit College parent Marvin Weissberg in 1999, and annually brings a prominent figure to Beloit College for a week-long residency. Now in its 13th year, the program links students and faculty to leading practitioners on the world stage, enriching the international conversation on campus.

More information on these and other Beloit College events can be found online at