[lg policy] Central Europe: Russian Language Policy Fellowship 2010/11

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 10 15:15:12 UTC 2010

Russian Language Policy Fellowship 2010/11

I. Purpose

LGI's Russian-language policy fellowship program supports practical
policy reform in the region, builds the capacities of individuals who
are well placed to influence policy, creates networks of multinational
experts, and supports the mission of LGI. In order to cater to the
specific needs of the former Soviet Union region LGI established the
Russian Language Policy Fellowship program in 2005 to complement its
long-standing English-language policy fellowship program. Each year
LGI selects talented professionals of the former Soviet Union to
participate in the one-year program. Fellows work in small teams under
the guidance of a well-respected mentor to produce policy-oriented
studies on a given topic. The completed studies are impact oriented;
each contains an advocacy or implementation strategy and concrete
policy recommendations. LGI provides its fellows with training on how
to write effective policy reports, how to formulate an effective
advocacy campaign, and how deliver a persuasive policy presentation.
At the conclusion of the program LGI works with its fellows to
determine what steps it can take to support the proposed
recommendations in the completed studies. Fellows are generally policy
researchers, policy advisors, civil servants and members of NGOs,
advocacy groups or professional associations.

• To learn more about the Open Society Institute see: http://www.soros.org/

• To learn more about the Local Government and Public Service Reform
Initiative see: http://lgi.osi.hu/index.php

II. The Project

The primary goal of the LGI Russian Language Policy Fellowship program
is to support policy research aimed at stimulating innovative and
practical policy reform in the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. Each
year one or two pertinent topics are identified for candidates from
different country groups. LGI is currently calling for Fellows for its
2010/11 program, which will run from October 2010 to October 2011.

III. Fellowship topics for 2010/11

The 2010/11 LGI Russian language policy fellowship considers 2 topics:

Topic 1: The role of public authorities in providing assistance for
the just integration of non-citizen residents and internally displaced
persons into societies and labor markets in CIS countries

Mentor: Piotr Kazmierkiewicz, Institute for Public Affairs, Poland

In the former Soviet Union, migration between countries has been on
the rise, although the current financial crisis has diminished the
numbers as of late. Economic migrants from Central Asia, Mongolia, and
the Caucasus generally traveled north and west in search of employment
in Russia. Such an influx of economic (and sometimes political)
migrants has placed a substantial challenge on Russia’s public
authorities. Issues of residence and work permit registration have not
always been handled with adequate efficiency, which has caused
problems both for migrants and for the state. Issues of the legality
of migrants’ residence and their social inclusion remain acute,
leaving space for possible policy solutions.

At the same time, in other countries within the former Soviet Union,
while numbers of incoming migrants are small, efforts to receive an
official residence and work permit are related to a substantial
administrative burden that goes well beyond reasonable limits. For
example, an applicant for a permanent residence permit may be obliged
to receive a range of clearances, and the process sometimes requires a
waiting period of many years. Similarly, obtaining temporary (annual)
work permits may place an unreasonable and substantial burden on the
employer and the applicant.

A host of similar issues affect those who migrated within the USSR
during Soviet times, and now live outside their countries of origin,
but do not hold citizenship of their country of residence. Besides
issues of residence, citizenship, and work, questions addressing the
social integration of this category of population, their cultural
autonomy, and loyalty to the state of residence may be explored.

Another category of people are internally displaced persons, with
regard to whom the governments adopt programs aimed at their social
welfare and integration. These programs and the issue of governmental
services to internally displaced persons is also within the framework
of this fellowship.

In many cases, the official procedures are accompanied by “informal
practices,” when institutions in charge of handling the foreigners’
and expatriate affairs are slow, insufficient, and create additional
(legally unregulated) administrative burdens.

It is important to note that in case of economic migration, not only
the governments of accepting countries, but also the governments of
receiving countries aim to provide services. While in case of
accepting countries, the administrative burden of the authorities is
described above, in case of sending countries the services include
counseling and measures to ensure the legality of migration. These
services can also be explored.

Under this topic, fellows would conduct independent research on
procedural and informal practices in dealing with foreigners and
expatriates, non-citizen residents, and internally displaced persons
in their respective countries and produce policy recommendations on
improving the legal and institutional frameworks. The fellows may be
willing to focus on:

- Legal and administrative procedures, both at the national and local levels.

- Informal practices (both “good” and “bad” practices).

- Strategic policies of the state towards migrants, including policies
aimed at integration, social inclusion.

- The role of public authorities in creating migrants’ image.

- The contribution of migrant labor force to the host societies and
the role of public authorities in acknowledging this contribution.

Applicants from the former Soviet Union countries and Mongolia are
encouraged to apply.

Topic 2: Local self-government in Central Asia: Prospects for democratic reform

Mentor: Algirdas Astrauskas, Vilnius and Mykolas Riomeris
Universities, Advisor to the Local Self-Government Committee of the
Lithuanian Parliament

The prospect of democratic local self-government emerging in Central
Asia requires a re-assessment. This assessment should be mindful of
the benefits local democracy could bring and the ways how local
self-government reforms can be promoted.

The purpose of this topic is to enable Fellows to assess the
developments in the field of local self-government in their respective
countries and to produce an independent evaluation of the pros and
cons of the existing systems of self-government and, moreover, to
propose possible prospects for its further development. Fellows may
assess the system of the distribution of functions between the tiers
of government, internal administrative structures of subnational
authorities, issues related to local finance, and present their views
whether and how far the reforms based on open society principles could
proceed in their countries. The topic would encourage the re-opening
the discussion on local self-government reforms in the region and
stimulate an intellectual discussion on the future of the region.

Fellows need not explore the entire array of local self government
issues; rather, they should focus on one or more issues of great
importance to their respective country (for example, local finance,
the implementation of delegated functions, issues of civic
participation, democracy in the municipal structure, etc).

Applicants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan are encouraged to apply for this topic. Fellows from
Mongolia may also be considered.

Depending on the number and quality of the applications, the LGI
reserves the right to fund one or both topics.

IV. Methods and procedures


LGI will award successful applicants with a stipend for a period of 12
months between October 2010 and October 2011. The stipend will cover
monthly expenses related to research and travel costs. Additional
funds will cover costs related to attending three international
workshops, at least two of which will take place in Budapest, Hungary.


Fellows are normally young or mid-career civil servants, members of
advocacy groups or professional associations, policy researchers and
policy advisers. A graduate degree or equivalent is required.
Applicants should be citizens of former Soviet Union countries or
Mongolia. As a rule, Fellows will be based in their home countries and
will be required to attend three international Fellowship workshops.
Fellows are expected to continue with their current employment,
spending only up to fifty percent of their time on the Fellowship

Teams of two collaborating experts may be considered. If accepted the
two would need to appoint a team leader, with ultimate responsibility
for the project. The stipend would be split between the two, but LGI
would provide extra funds for the workshop-related travel expenses.

*Please note that LGI looks favorably upon applicants who can
demonstrate in their application that they have secured practical
institutional support from a governmental ministry/department, or a
reputable policy center or similar institution.

Language skills: LGI’s Russian Language Policy Fellowship is Russian
based. All verbal and written communication takes place in Russian,
and the papers fellows compose will need to be in Russian. However,
English language skills are considered an advantage.


The team will be led by an expert Mentor. The Mentor will guide
Fellows in formulating their final research plans, draft reports, and
implementation strategies. LGI and team Mentor will also facilitate
professional cooperation and communication between members of the
team. Fellows are encouraged to support each other’s work with their
expertise and comments within their teams. LGI encourages teams of
Fellows to develop joint or comparable research agendas.

Expected outcomes/ products

Fellows are expected to conduct high quality research according to a
mutually accepted research protocol. As a final product, Fellows will
submit a research report that is a persuasive policy document. Reports
will be evidence-based and will include policy recommendations.
Implementation and advocacy plans will also be produced by fellows, to
ensure forward thinking about the results of their findings.

Teams are expected to submit a joint report at the conclusion of the
project. LGI may publish these studies in Russian and/or English.
Finally, LGI will seek ways to work with Fellows in the future on
implementing aspects of their proposed policy recommendations.

Application procedure

Step 1. Submission of the Application:

• Applications should be emailed to LGI at the following address:
apetkevicius at osi.hu

• The subject heading should be “Russian Language Fellowship Program”.

• All application materials must be submitted in one Word or pdf file.

Applications must include ALL of the following materials*:

1. Statement of interest (1 page maximum)

2. Research proposal (2,000 words maximum) including a well-defined
research problem, topic justification, research methodology, and
expected outcomes of the research

3. Professional CV (which includes: full name, email and telephone
number of the applicant, country of origin and residence)

4. Russian language writing sample (maximum 5 pages)

5. The name and contact information of three people familiar with the
professional capacities of the applicant.

*Please note that failure to submit all of the above documents will
likely result in your application being immediately disqualified.

The DEADLINE for submitting applications is APRIL 15, 2010 (15:00
GMT). Late applications will not be considered.

Step 2. Review and selection:

Proposals must respond to domestic needs, be policy-oriented, focused
and creative. Each incoming application will be registered by LGI upon
receipt. LGI will check each submission to ensure that it meets the
formal criteria and quality. Submissions will be reviewed by LGI (see
timetable below) and the team mentor.

LGI will contact shortlisted candidates for a follow-up interview
either by phone or in person in the applicant's respective country.

Step 3. Feedback

All applicants will be notified by LGI of their status by June 15, 2010

Step 4. Fellowship program provisional timeline*

April 15, 2010 Deadline for fellowship applications

June 15, 2010 Selection process finalized and applicants notified of
their status.

July 30, 2010 Selected fellows sign contracts with LGI. Fellowship
program begins, Fellows initiate their research and submit their
detailed research plans

October 2010 Opening Trainings and Workshop (preliminarily planned at
lake Issyk kul in the Kyrgyz Republic)

Fellows and Mentor will review the individual research plans and group
approach to the project. They will develop a terms of reference for
standardizing the individual reports (structure, language, key terms,
approach, etc), and discuss possible conferences or workshops to
attend during the year that would strengthen their research agendas.

February 15, 2011 First Drafts and advocacy strategies due

March 2011 Interim Team workshop (preliminarily in Riga, Latvia).
Groups meet to discuss and comment on each other's first drafts.

August 01, 2011 Deadline for full drafts -- executive summary, policy
report, policy brief -- of fellowship projects

September 1, 2011 Mentor provides feedback to fellows on full drafts
of report and project proposal

October 01, 2011 Submission of final report and advocacy campaign plans.

October 2011 LGI Fellowship closing conference and training in
Budapest. Fellows present their Policy Recommendations. Trainings on
Policy Presentations.

October 2011 – 2012 Fellowship reports are reviewed and evaluated by
external experts with regard to publishing. If deemed publishable,
fellows may be asked to revise certain aspects of their reports.


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