Dr Liesma Ose opened the EPP seminars in Minsk today with her lecture on how public interest can be promoted through effective cooperation between official structures and NGOS.
After providing the audience with an overview of the modern theoretical traditions of civil society, referencing the likes of Locke, Hegel and Habermas, Dr Ose began by discussing some of the grounds for cooperation between state and non-state actors. She highlighted a few of the different roles actors can have in society and the need for a division of labour based on particular competences and expertise, arguing that a diversity of organizational cultures is a benefit to a state. To further increase the strength of the NGO sector, Dr Ose advocated for increased intervention and more creative means of problem solving.
The second half of Dr Ose’s presentation was designated to two case studies which highlighted potential formats of cooperation between states and NGOs.
Firstly, the case of legal framework and funding for NGOs in the Baltic states, with a specific emphasis on Latvia.
In her analysis of Latvia, Dr Ose first referred to a number of factors which influence cooperation between state and non state actors such as; ethno-cultural diversity, the diversity of NGOs, public policy on civil society development from 2010-2020 and training programs available for minority NGO leaders.
She then referred to the various roles minority NGOS play in Latvia, pointing specifically to human rights advocacy, the development of inclusive policies and the safeguarding of ethnic-cultural heritage.
Her second case study, the Belarusian Information centre in Riga, took the format of a discussion with other participants of the seminar.