The EU’s eastern fringe 

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which became evident with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, has escalated into a devastating war. Since 24 February 2022,  it is shaking the whole continent and has repercussions worldwide. For many of us,  the once so promising era that opened with the fall of the Berlin wall has collapsed.   

The first priority is to put all efforts to stop the military invasion and the horrific acts of violence it involves. At the same time, there is a crying need for respect and promotion of human rights, freedom, equity and inclusion when addressing the security issues within and beyond Ukraine’s national borders. 

Support to organisations upholding these rights lies at the core of Manon’s work, in which she engages her longstanding experience in the region. Discover below her experience with Ukraine and current training and coaching offer to people and organisations supporting Ukrainians.


SERVICES

Through strategic advice and training, your organisation will benefit from Manon’s in-depth expertise of Ukraine, South Caucasus, Russia and neighbouring countries:

  • human rights, rule of law, gender equity and social inclusion
  • country assessments of civil society and political environment
  • effective cooperation with partners from the region  

FROM DAILY EXPERIENCE TO CONTEXT-RESPONSIVE CONSULTANCY

For almost thirty years, Manon has engaged with the eastern fringe of the EU through academic, legal, business and civil society cooperation. She first discovered Russian culture and learnt to speak the language fluently by immersing herself in Russian daily life. She taught for one semester at the Moscow Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU). Once back in Europe, she devoted her PhD thesis to Russian philosophy, history and civil society and their dialogues with Europe.


Engaging her language skills and knowledge of the socio-political context, Manon moved to hands-on international cooperation. She managed legal assistance projects with Russia at the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC). Subsequent at the intergovernmental OSCE, she supervised multi-year projects on minority participation and conflict prevention, mainly in Ukraine, including Crimea, and Georgia.


Since 2016 she provides strategic advice and training to civil society and governmental organisations while keeping abreast of developments in the region. 


Manon has witnessed how countries at the eastern fringe of the EU have increasingly polarised in terms of political reforms, institutional structures, alliances and aspirations, leading to increasing tensions. Before the appalling Russian-Ukrainian war, and at a smaller, national scale, protests and subsequent crackdown of civil society have impacted Kazakhstan in 2022, have crushed Belarus since the 2020 presidential elections, and are destabilising the Western Balkans.  Manon’s experience is that, whenever possible, support to local organisations engaged in protecting and promoting human rights and holding their governments accountable for rule of law, does make a difference. Her consultancy activities are geared towards impact in these areas.


COOPERATION WITH UKRAINE:

As an academic researcher, Manon first visited Ukraine in 1998 to dialogue with Ukrainian academics about Russian philosophy in Lviv region.

As a project officer for the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2010-2013, before the annexation), she was responsible for projects fostering the participation of national minorities in Ukraine, including Crimea, with regular visits to Kyiv and the peninsula:

- training of government officials on inter-ethnic issues (e.g. hate crimes) (managed by the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research UCIPR and the Integration and Development Centre IDC)

- education fostering tolerance between the Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities in Crimea (managed by IDC)

- monitoring inter-ethnic relations in Crimea (managed by the Crimean Centre for Independent Political Researchers CCIPR)

- the International Forum on Formerly Deported People, held in 2013. 

As a freelance consultant, Manon has engaged in:

- evaluating Women, Peace and Security (WPS), gender-based violence, women’s economic & environmental empowerment for the OSCE Gender Section. This included interviews with the Human Rights Centre ZMINA.

- advice on a diversity management training for government officials for the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and partner UCIPR.

- awarded proposal and concept note writing of several programmes on human rights defenders, rule of law, and political participation for the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy for EU and other funds.

- support to the bilingual Ukrai


RECENT ASSIGNMENTS

Organisations and audiences that have recently benefitted from Manon’s expertise in the region:

  • civil society organisations mainly: Netherlands Helsinki Committee for evaluation and proposal writing of several awarded programmes on human rights defenders and rule of law in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Serbia, and North Macedonia; Europe Foundation for training on minority mainstreaming in Georgia.
  • intergovernmental organisation OSCE: baseline evaluation on women, peace and security (WPS) and violence against women, women and anti-corruption, women’s empowerment in digitalisation in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.

     For details, see the page dedicated to civil society support here.

  • intercultural professionals: roundtable and conference on dialogue between Russia and Western intercultural professionals at SIETAR Europe and SIETAR Russia.


Discover her publications on the region here, and her blogs here.




COOPERATION WITH UKRAINE:

As an academic researcher, Manon first visited Ukraine in 1998 to dialogue with Ukrainian academics about Russian philosophy in Lviv region.

As a project officer for the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2010-2013, before the annexation), she was responsible for projects fostering the participation of national minorities in Ukraine, including Crimea, with regular visits to Kyiv and the peninsula:

- training of government officials on inter-ethnic issues (e.g. hate crimes) (managed by the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research UCIPR and the Integration and Development Centre IDC)

- education fostering tolerance between the Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities in Crimea (managed by IDC)

- monitoring inter-ethnic relations in Crimea (managed by the Crimean Centre for Independent Political Researchers CCIPR)

- the International Forum on Formerly Deported People, held in 2013. 

As a freelance consultant, Manon has engaged in:

- evaluating Women, Peace and Security (WPS), gender-based violence, women’s economic & environmental empowerment for the OSCE Gender Section. This included interviews with the Human Rights Centre ZMINA.

- advice on a diversity management training for government officials for the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and partner UCIPR.

- awarded proposal and concept note writing of several programmes on human rights defenders, rule of law, and political participation for the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy for EU and other funds.

- support to the bilingual Ukrainian-Dutch version of the Diversophy Game Ukraine (free download here).

Background image :

Alexandra Koch @ Pixabay

Gossips, Tatyana Popovichenko

picture kindly provided by the artist

Are you hosting or hiring Ukrainians whom the war has forced to migrate? 


Do you need insights and tools to better understand and communicate with them across cultural and other differences?



 

I assist you through training and coaching.  ls to better understand and smoothly communicate with them across cultural and other differences? 





I assist you  through

Write or call me about your needs and let’s figure out how I can help out:

info[at]manondecourten.com

(+31) 6 14 79 62 84