Democracy Assistance from Poland: Paulina Pospieszna Presents Her New Book

March 31, 2016
Paulina Pospieszna

Paulina PospiesznaOn April 11 at 4:15, HURI welcomes Paulina Pospieszna to present her new book, Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave: Polish Engagement in Belarus and Ukraine (The University of Pittsburgh Press).

Pospieszna is an assistant professor at the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, Poland. She also worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Her current project is Demoaid, Democracy Assistance from Young Democracies, a topic that is reflected in her newest publication and April’s talk.

Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave

The book takes a fresh approach in examining the transition of post-communist nations to democracy. Rather than focus on the role of Western NGOs, as many studies have done so far, Pospieszna assesses the role of Poland, a former aid recipient and a new democracy, in aiding Ukraine and Belarus in their transitions.

“A valuable case study of how new actors in international democracy support are approaching their work. Systematically probing the motivations, methods, and results of Poland’s efforts to foster democracy in Belarus and Ukraine, Pospieszna not only illuminates Poland’s democracy assistance but also provides a framework for analyzing the work of other emerging actors in this domain.”—Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

While Ukraine and Belarus offer different challenges, Poland has language and cultural ties, shared history, and success with the EU to make it a powerful force in the region. The book evaluates the effectiveness of various approaches and programs, providing insight into which strategies are most successful in this process.

Book talk: Pospieszna at HURI

PospiesznaCoverDuring the April 11 event, Pospieszna will present some of the key findings from her research. She will demonstrate democracy assistance efforts provided by Poland, a young democracy and a former aid recipient, in Ukraine and Belarus. Specifically, Pospieszna will show how government and social actors in a young democracy conceptualize democracy assistance; how their view on democracy aid is different from approaches used by Western donors; reasons for Poland’s engagement; and methods to promote democratic ideas and practices in Ukraine and Belarus with the special focus on non-governmental organizations’ efforts.

The presentation will highlight civil society organizations’ unique ability to reach civil society groups in Belarus and Ukraine, making democracy assistance better tailored to partner countries’ needs and circumstances. She’ll show the great potential of cross-border civil society networks to diffuse democratic ideas and behavior.

Paulina Pospieszna will also discuss her current research project, which evaluates the type of democracy assistance that aims to educate and increase youth participation in Eastern Europe. She will present some of the findings about the impact of a well-established Polish youth democracy education project directed toward students from Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.

The event will take place in Room S-050, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street at 4:15 pm.

Paulina Pospieszna is an assistant professor of Political Science at the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, Poland. She received her Ph.D. (2010) in Political Science from the University of Alabama and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Konstanz and the University of Mannheim, Germany. Her main research interest is in democracy assistance; civil society organizations; youth empowerment; democratization; impact evaluations through randomized control trials; third-party mediation in civil wars; and post-conflict peace building. She has published articles in Democratization, Public Administration and Development, Journal of Peace Research, Problems of Post-Communism, amongst others. She has recently published a book entitled Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave: Polish Engagement in Belarus and Ukraine (University of Pittsburgh Press PITT Series in Russian and East European Studies).