Tartu Ülikool

Doctoral School "Learning from Ukraine: Lessons for Europe"

When: 9 - 11 September 2024
Where: Tartu and Narva
Application for participation: by 1 August to (Anselm Schmidt)

The Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, announces the advanced school to be held in Tartu and Narva on 9-11 September 2024. This academic event is co-organized with the German Embassy in Estonia, and will be aimed at fostering professional - both academic and policy-oriented - discussions on the repercussion of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine for today’s Europe overwhelmed by new insecurities.

Nowadays the bulk of political debate across the EU is focused on the long-term effects on the war for the Euro-Atlantic security order. In public narratives Ukraine is predominantly referred to as a victim of the Russian invasion that deserves symbolic compassion, psychological sympathy, and material assistance. What is so far much less discussed is what Western countries may learn from Ukrainian experiences of withstanding the Russian military intervention? How can Ukraine’s partners and allies learn from Ukrainian practices of resistance for strengthening European security in both military and non-military terrains?

This school builds on an extensive literature pointing to the ability of non-central / peripheral countries to exert influence – even if indirect and implicit - on their neighbors belonging to the institutional core (namely, the EU and NATO). The case of Ukraine confirms the validity of this approach that, apart from its academic dimension, has a bunch of practical consequences: since no country in Europe so far had to face an existential threat of the scale that Ukraine is currently facing, the lessons learned from its military, social, institutional and informational resilience might play a key role for small neighbors of Russia (such as Estonia) and for largest European states (such as Germany) in the years to come. 

School participants are invited to explore different contexts of Ukraine’s war experiences that imply adaptation, partnership, responsibility and communal self-reliance, along with practices of information awareness, risk management and adaptability, empowering people to be agents and make proper choices and decisions. These practices of everyday resilience strengthen civil society organizations, grass-roots groups and networks as key sources of life-saving strategies for survival and human security. 

The format of the school combines multidisciplinary perspectives on the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a synergic set of activities and thematic clusters. While the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies will provide the framework for the debate, the primary academic infrastructure and overall direction, the event represents the combination of the joint efforts of Estonian and German partners working together. The flexible format allows the participants to navigate across different debate and modes of interactive networking.

 Duration of the event is 3 days. Among the key thematic priorities are:

  • New political and academic narratives on security and insecurity in Europe;

  • Sources of Ukraine’s resilience: practices of governance, de-centralization reform, consolidation of information resources;

  • Changing roles of international organizations in times of war; 

  • Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and information warfare;

  • Lessons for Ukraine’s neighbors and partners. 

For selected participants the organizers of the school cover

3 nights of accommodation,

-  lunches and coffee breaks on three days plus one farewell dinner,

- travel within Estonia during the event (Narva-Tartu).

Applications for participation (CV and description of research interests) are accepted till August 1, 2024 by email: (Anselm Schmidt).

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