2019 International Neighbourhood Symposium (INS)
“Addressing the Challenges in Europe and its Neighbourhoods”

18 - 23 June 2019
Odessa, Ukraine

“Creating Synergies Within and Across Regions”

Symposium Announcement

The 9th International Neighbourhood Symposium (INS) held in Odessa on 18-23 June 2019. The Symposium theme for 2019 is “Addressing the Challenges in Europe and its Neighbourhoods”.

The setting: The INS aims principally to contribute to further cooperation and understanding in Europe and its Neighbourhoods, by providing a forum for study and dialogue in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment. Apart from debating and discussing the key social and political challenges, the purpose is also to empower participants to be engaged as active citizens to address these challenges.

The Eastern Neighbourhood, the Mediterranean South, and Southeastern Europe are shared neighborhoods of the European Union, its member states, and Turkey. While each is distinct with its own historical, political, social, cultural, and economic characteristics; their proximity suggests synergies across many sectors such as security, sustainable development, entrepreneurship, gender equality, civic engagement as well as more immaterial concepts such as identity, culture, and democracy.

With the European Union attempting to regain its lost momentum as it faces the challenges of populism, limited growth, and lack of direction; NATO celebrating in 70th anniversary at a time when, yet again, its raison d'être is doubted, this time, by its most powerful member; and Russia seeking ensure that it maintains its great power status across its borders and beyond;  Europe’s neighbourhoods have serious security and societal considerations to deal with implications on the rest of the world. While understanding the key dynamics is essential, it is also important to debate and explore the potential and opportunities for change and the role of changemakers within and across regions and how they can positively manage change.

Objective: The 2019 International Neighbourhood Symposium aimed to discuss, assess, and explain the recent political and security developments in the European Union, NATO and their neighbourhoods The INS also enabled participants to debate and understand the value of being a changemaker and managing change be it societal, economic, or political in a fluid security environment. The objective was to increase the knowledge and awareness of the participants while inspiring them to be engaged. One of the key objectives of the Symposium was for the participants to develop joint action plans for doable projects to contribute to the change in Peer to Peer Workshops, led by expert trainers and facilitators and present them for discussion and evaluation during the INS. The participants encouraged to stay in touch with their group members to find ways to implement their action plans post-Symposium.

During the first two days of the symposium, expert discussions led both by experienced and junior experts/practitioners/educators brought the spotlight on a number of societal, political, and security concerns such as the future of Europe; NATO at 70; the evolving Black Sea environment; the regional order in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean; the future of Southastern Europe; civic engagement and democracy; sustainable development; entrepreneurship, and the engendering of foreign policy and civic participation. Days 3 and 4 dedicated to the Peer to Peer Workshops and whereby participants prepared project proposal concepts emanating from the cooperation with each other.

Participants: Young professionals and graduate students primarily from the countries of the Black Sea area; Central Europe; Southeastern Europe; the Mediterranean; the Middle East; Central Asia; other EU member states; and the United States are the Symposium target group. Applicants with an interest in international relations, public policy, politics, journalism, civil society, and business are encouraged to apply. The ideal target age group is 22-35 years of age

The International Neighbourhood Symposium was organized by the Center for International and European Studies (CIES) in partnership with UA: Ukraine Analytica, the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism” and Quadrivium.

Other partner institutions invested to date in the 2019 International Neighbourhood Symposium included:

  • Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Bucharest
  • Harvard University Black Sea Security Program, Cambridge, MA
  • Kadir Has University, Istanbul
  • Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF), Istanbul
  • International Institute for Peace, Vienna
  • Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Odessa Branch, Odessa
  • The House of Europe in Rhodes, Rhodes
  • Rhodes Model Regional Cooperation (RhodesMRC), Rhodes
  • The People for Change Foundation, San Gwann, Malta
  • Center for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi
  • International Relations Council of Turkey, Istanbul
  • ENACTED, Jean Monnet Network, Center for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi
  • Federation of NGOs for Development (FOND), Bucharest
  • Black Sea NGO Network, Bucharest
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey, Istanbul