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THE FIRST WASHINGTON CONFERENCE ON BELARUS 

Revising Relations: Legacies and Outlooks for U.S.-Belarus Ties

April 4, 2017

1744 R Street Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20009

With the opening 25 years ago of the Belarusian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, official diplomatic ties between the two countries were established. Since then, relations between Belarus and the United States have not been stable. They have seen an initial rising (1991-1994), a recession (1994-1996), a deep crisis (1996-2008), an attempt to normalize (2008-2010), a new crisis (2010-2014) and yet another attempt at normalization (after 2014). These fluctuations were conditioned both by domestic developments in Belarus and by the uneasy position occupied by the country between East and West.

Not least as a result of deteriorating relations between Russian and the West over the last years, ties between Belarus and the United States have recently undergone significant improvement. Both sides started to look for new formats of cooperation, and they seemed ready to concede on problematic and foreign policy issues. This timid rapprochement was out into question, however, by recent events and mass arrests of civil activists in Belarus. Nonetheless, it remains important to better understand the political legacies, current state, and challenges in U.S.-Belarus bilateral relations, and to chart a possible path for their further development.

This conference, organized jointly by the Belarusian Institute of America (BIA) and the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), will provide a forum to discuss opportunities, prospects and possible directions in U.S.-Belarus relations. It will bring together a broad range of researchers and experts, politicians and officials, civil society representatives and other stakeholders interested in Belarus and Belarus-U.S. relations.

PROGRAM*

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Arrivals and Registration

9:30 a.m. – 9.35 a.m. Introductory remarks

9:35 a.m. – 11.15 a.m. Panel I: Legacies and outlooks: Missed opportunities, key challenges, mutual interests and differences in U.S.-Belarus relations.

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Coffee break

11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Panel II: Recent developments in Belarus and their impact on ties with the United States.

Please see the detailed program here.

*Due to recent developments in Belarus the program was changed.

ORGANIZERS

Belarusian Institute of America (BIA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 to develop and support research, analytical and community initiatives, and to expand knowledge about Belarus in the United States and abroad. Belarusian Institute of America envisions to build and support an academic and expert community on Belarusian issues in the United States and abroad, and to create a stable platform for empowerment, communication and intellectual exchange between researchers and professionals of both countries.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) strengthens transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan. Founded in 1972 as a non-partisan, non-profit organization, GMF contributes research and analysis and convenes leaders on transatlantic issues relevant to policymakers. GMF offers rising leaders opportunities to develop their skills and networks through transatlantic exchange, and supports civil society in the Balkans and Black Sea regions by fostering democratic initiatives, rule of law, and regional cooperation.