The Winter School Pyatigorsk 2016

Deadline:  7 February 2016
Open to: students from all countries of the wider Caucasus region as well as from Europe
Venue: 13 – 19 March 2016, Pyatigorsk (Russian Federation)


The North Caucasus Federal University as partner of the Jean Monnet Network »Developing European Studies in the Caucasus« (DESCnet) is organizing the first Winter School in a series of Jean Monnet Network activities. The Winter School 2016 is devoted to the topic »European Integration and the Future of Civil Society in the Caucasus«

The teaching will provide an interdisciplinary introduction to the North Caucasus, attempting to assess the role of civil society in the region and comparing it to approaches to civil society engagement prevalent in the EU. Analytical perspectives are developed, using the approaches of law, political science, sociology and cultural studies. To give participants a true immersion into the North Caucasus, there will be an optional instruction into North Caucasus dance styles in the evening. Over the weekend, participants have an opportunity to explore the nearby skiing resorts.

The School will offer teaching on the following topics:

  • The EU's Vision of Civil Society: Values, Human Rights and Recognition in Formal Political Proceedings
  • Human Rights as a Safeguard for Civil Society Activism
  • Participation of NGO's in Building Civil Society in Russia and the EU: A Comparative Analysis
  • The Role of Civil Society in Russia in Accommodating the Refugee Crisis (based on the incoming refugees from Eastern Ukraine)
  • The Terskii Cossacks in the North Caucasus - An Early Form of Civil Society?
  • Gender (In-) Equality in the Caucasus and its Effects on Civil Society
  • Gender Policy in the EU and the New Legal Framework for Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in the Council of Europe

The DESCNet Winter School 2016 will take place in Pyatigorsk, a traditional Russian spa location, beautifully located at the Caucasus mountain range with a gorgeous view on the snow-covered summit of Mount Elbrus. It is targeted towards ambitious students of the wider Caucasus region and Europe who want to improve their knowledge on the subjects of this Winter School by learning and discussing in the beautiful, vibrant and multi-cultural context of the North Caucasus. Accommodation for participants will be provided in hotels.



The School is open to students of law, political science, international relations, public administration, cultural / Russian studies and related fields in their B.A. or early M.A. years. The language of instruction is English. Students from all countries of the wider Caucasus region as well as from Europe can apply.


The total participation fee is 50 EURO covering course costs, tuition, food and accommodation for 7 days. Travel arrangements, including visa, have to be made and paid for individually. The North Caucasus Federal University will provide visa support. The nearest airport with international connections is Mineralnye Vody (Russia).



Please send your CV and an essay (maximum 2 pages) until 7 February 2016 to the DESCNet coordinator, Ms. Olga Bogdanova, of the University of Tartu (Estonia):, Your essay should demonstrate argumentation and analytical skill on the topic “The role civil society should play in the countries of the Caucasus is …” where argue your case.

The official web-page.