Armed with knowledge is truly the best weapon

Students from nine countries of the world meet and discuss plenty of issues at Youth for Peace International Law Competition in Minsk
The traditional Youth for Peace Law Olympiad has taken place in Minsk’s International Institute of Labour and Social Relations (IILSR) for the 11th time and gathered intellectuals from the universities of nine countries: China, the UK, Russia, Moldova, Armenia, Belarus, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Awarding of the Youth for Peace Olympiad’s winner

According to the University’s Press Service Head, Veronika Lebedeva, eight teams of law students from the leading universities competed in their knowledge of international law; among them were MGIMO (Moscow, Russia), BPP University (London, the UK), the Chinese Institute of Industrial Relations (Beijing, China), the Russian-Armenian University (Yerevan, Armenia) and the State Institute of International Relations of Moldova (Chisinau, Moldova).

Apart from theoretical and practical rounds, the participants enjoyed the traditional night of national cultures, excursions to Minsk and the Museum Complex of Folk Crafts and Technologies at Dudutki.

This year, the Olympiad events began the day before its official opening. Students attended lectures on international law by professors Michael Strauss (lecturing in France and the UK), Lionel Blackman (from the UK) and Torsten Stein (from Germany).

The Youth for Peace International Law Competition is held as part of the global initiative of the United Nations — Academic Impact, which brings together higher education institutions in order to actively support the principles of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution. The main goal of the Olympiad is to spread ideas of tolerance among youth and maintain intercultural dialogue.

In the years of its existence, the Olympiad brought together representatives from over 40 countries, including students of the best law schools. Every year, the jury includes leading international experts on international law. This time, among its members, were a senior researcher at the T.M.C. Asser Institute, a member of the International Law Association’s Space Law Committee (the Netherlands) — Ribbelink Oliver; a professor of international relations at the Centre for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, a lecturer at the Parisian University of Descartes — Michael J. Strauss; the Chairman of the Solicitors International Human Rights Group and a researcher at the University of South Bank (the UK) — Lionel Blackman; a professor of international and European law and the Director of the Institute of European Studies at the University of Saarland (Germany) — Torsten Stein.

The IILSR International University acts as the project organiser, with support of the Federation of Trade Unions. The Minsk Times weekly is one of the media partners at the event.

By Yekaterina Medvedskaya

CIS: about past and future

By Makhail Overyanov

Minsk has become an arena for brainstorming about the past and future of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Over 200 CIS representatives have met during the international conference, dedicated to the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the CIS.

The major announcements of the Minsk forum are as follows: soon trade within the CIS will enter a qualitatively new level. Sergei Lebedev, the Chairman of CIS Executive Committee — CIS Executive Secretary, explains, “At present, the draft agreement on free trade in services within the CIS is being improved and it’s expected to be signed next year.”

This will open the way to the second agreement, outlined by Belarus’ Prime Minister, Andrei Kobyakov, “The agreement on free trade in services will enable us to work in the WTO+ format. Under the conditions of the current unstable financial situation, the work conducted by us to establish mutually beneficial economic co-operation, seems a positive factor that softens the negative effect from the problems of the global market.”

Belarus’ Information Minister Lilia Ananich familiarised the CIS scientific elite with the Belarusian experience of coverage of integration processes. The Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Ibragim Guliev, expressed the common view of participants of the conference, “From the economic point of view, we’re for the union. However, it would be great if the efficiency of our collaboration could improve.”

The shortest path found

New page opened in the history of friendship between the two border cities — Grodno and Augustów

The Chairman of the Grodno City Executive Committee, Mechislav Goy, and Mayor Wojciech Walulik have signed an agreement for co-operation on cross-border projects. Interestingly, the Polish guests arrived in Grodno on kayaks. The Mayor appreciated the complexity and beauty of the route.

“The cross-border project —which we plan to realise jointly, envisages the construction of bridges over the the River Nieman (in Grodno) and the Netta River (in Augustow) for cyclists and people travelling on foot,” Mr. Goy explains. “This will reduce the distance between our two border towns. In the future, a conference will be held in Lublin, entitled Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, where a working group will be established.

Visiting the Belarusian part of the Avgustovsky Canal by foreigners without visas opens up great opportunities for the realisation of joint projects in various spheres.
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