|At the request of the Kyrgyz government, UNESCO's
international social science programme MOST (Management
of Social Transformations) has established a democracy
training project to introduce selected individuals from
Kyrgyzstan - among them policy-makers, legislators,
judiciary officials, and representatives from public and
non-governmental organisations - to the functioning of
democratic governance under the conditions of ethnic,
linguistic and cultural diversity. The project has taken
up a suggestion by the Central Asian Regional MOST
Meeting (Bishkek 1994), which has asked for closer
attention being paid to the issue of democratic and
peaceful multi-ethnic co-existence in Central Asia.
The democracy training project envisions a close and fruitful co-operation between Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan. By developing institutional and individual ties to Switzerland, a multi-cultural/multi-ethnic country with a long and rich democratic tradition, leading representatives of the Kyrgyz society gain in-depth insights into building and consolidating democratic structures founded on community-based political participation and inter-ethnic co-operation. Likewise, Swiss experts and institutions benefit from sharing the Kyrgyz experience of managing the ongoing transformations. Short-term training activities started in 1997 are designed to lead to a long-term co-operation between the two countries, which is expected to further the process of democratisation in Kyrgyzstan.
Main activities of the project are the establishment of an academic curriculum on democratic governance, the training of legislators, academics and policy-makers in the creation of laws concerned with multi-culturalism, the publication of basic texts on the subject, including comparisons of existing approaches to the issues, and the establishment of an academic exchange programme. MOST conceives this project as an essential and first-of-its-kind initiative leading to a long-term bilateral co-operation that will contribute substantially to building sustainable intellectual and institutional capacities for democratic governance in Kyrgyzstan.
The project is funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and supported by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) which contributes expertise to the training programme in Kyrgyzstan.
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