There could be no better way to honour the life and academic career of prominent Belarusian Vitali Silitski (1972-2011) than a fellowship for his fellow political analysts, researchers and countrymen.
Silitski was a ground-breaking representative of a new, post-Soviet generation of Belarusians: a talented political scientist, sociologist and publicist; ironic, and metaphoric, not always ready to meet the opponent halfway, direct, thoughtful and fair, a weighty figure in many ways.
Silitski studied in Minsk, Budapest, Washington D.C. and Stanford, authored and co-authored books and hundreds of publications on democratisation processes in the post-Soviet space, as well as electoral revolutions and the politics of economic reform. He headed the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, shaping it into the foremost think tank in the country. And he passed
away too early.
After his unfortunate death in June 2011, BISS, in conjunction with several of its partners, came up with the idea of financial support for Belarusians students and researchers. Alumni of the Central European University in Hungary where Vitali completed his Masters’ degree raised money to support a Belarusian student who was studying there at that time. The Institute of
European Studies and International Relations of the Comenius University in Bratislava, with the help of the Slovak government (SlovakAid), offered a fellowship for six Belarusians to come over for a semester. With these initiatives running, BISS and its partners plan to come up with research fellowships for month-long internships in think-tanks around Europe.
Belarus Headlines talked to the Vitali Silitski fellows of the Comenius University about their motivation to apply for it and their knowledge of the programme’s namesake.