Sat, 04 Jan 2003 18:29:03 GMT


Deadline is extended to 20 January 2003

International Conference
Building the Information Commonwealth:
Information Technologies and Building Prospects for the Development
of Civil Society Institutions in the CIS Countries

St. Petersburg, Russia, April 22-24, 2003

The disintegration of the USSR is still resonating within the world
The formation of an effective civil society sector will hopefully work to
the economical, social and cultural effects of a totalitarian government
which are
the common heritage of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
This remains one of the most immediate and significant tasks for all the

The decade since 1991 has shown that the path to stable democratic societies
in the
CIS region is a very difficult one. The negative factors common to all the
CIS countries,
unstable economic growth, traditions of state paternalism, low living
standards, a
hazardous investment climate, the “soviet mentality” are still even now
determining the
everyday lives of the majority of the population of our countries.

It is thus crucial to make effective use of available “global resources”
such as information
and communication technologies (ICTs) to support a radical improvement in
the quality of
life of ordinary people, of women, youth, the elderly, the disabled and
indigenous peoples.
Currently, information technologies in the countries of the CIS region it
would be generally
agreed are primarily used as tools for private gain and are accessible only
to the relatively
small numbers who can afford individual access. Developing strategies for
information technologies to serve the broader needs of society, to support
the development
of democratic institutions, and to strengthen the struggle against poverty
is a challenge that
presents itself to civil society and public authorities?

These questions are becoming more and more critical for the peoples in our
countries where
rapid technological development presents possibilities (and risks) of
radical change in economic
and social circumstances and for responding to growing social injustice.
Critical analysis of the
Information Society in the CIS region as it is evolving, the influence of
new technical (and following
these social and cultural) factors within our societies and their impacts on
the development of the
civil society institutions, the analysis of the applicability of modern
inter-disciplinary approaches
(e.g. Community Networking/Community Informatics) to support the realization
of community-based
IT projects will be the main goals of the conference. We'll focus on several
key problems of the civil
society development in CIS countries looked at through the prism of the use
of ICTs.

Participants in the Conference:

Leaders of the non-profit and civil society organizations performing
projects in the area of ICTs in
the CIS countries; deputies of national Parliaments; representatives of the
executive structures
of the countries of the region; specialists from governmental agencies and
programs; representatives
of international charitable organizations, NGO's and foundations; experts
from International
Organizations, academicians and practitioners from the different countries
who are interested in
discussing the Conference issues.

Among those who have to date indicated an interest in participating

Eli Cohen, Wysza SzkoBa Przedsibiorczoci, Poland
Peter Day, University of Brighton, UK
Karin Delgadillo, Somos@Telecentres, Equador
Eugeny Drobkov, Information Society Foundation, Ukraine
Vassily Efrosinin, Development through Education Fund, Russia
Susana Finquelevich, Global Community Networking Partnership, Argentina
Bertram Gebauer , Buerger Nets Union , Germany
Michael Gurstein, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA-Canada
Grant Hearn, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Meelis Kaldalu, Tartu Science Park, Estonia
Ninelle Kobaliani, Project Harmony, Georgia
Peter Levesque, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Anna Malina, e-Society Research, UK
Michel Menou, City University of London, UK-France
Abdumavlon Rashidov, Central Asia Development Agency, Tadjikistan
Scott Robinson, Mexico DF , Mexico
Lev Ryabchikov, Academy of Alternative Technologies, Russia
Basheerhamad Shadrach, Transparency International, Germany
Oleg Shapirkov, Svetoch Assotiation, Russia
Viktoria Sukovata, Kharkov National University, Ukraine
Wal Taylor, Rockhampston University, Australia
Maiya Tsyganenko, eRiders, Kazakhstan
Peter van den Besselaar, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Organizers of the Conference:

The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of
Independent States (IPA)

Institute of Research on Problems of Nonprofits in the Newly Independent
States (IRPN)

Centre of Community Networking and Informational Policy Studies (CCNS)

The Conference Venue:

St. Petersburg, which is Russia's Northern capital, preparing for its 300
anniversary is a
very appropriate and natural place for this event.

The Conference will take place of the main building of the IPA – Tavrichesky
Palace, one
of the most magnificent palaces in St. Petersburg (XVIII century).

More information about the Palace and the Conference facilities at

Languages of the Conference

The working languages of the Conference will be Russian and English

Themes of the Conference

The Conference will be organized with an alternation of plenary sessions and
following 12 main directions:

+ civil society and information society in the CIS countries:identifying the
problem area

+ e-governance and participation of local citizens in the decision-making at
the local,
regional and national levels

+ local communities in the CIS countries: typology, myths and realities

+ new information infrastructure at local level: creation and ownership of

+ participation of the countries of the region in international projects and
programs directed
towards ICT usage for the development of the civil sector

+ using ICTs for not-for-profit and civil society purposes in the CIS

+ connectivity and software

+ civil society/communities and digital economies

+ Social, Psychological and Cultural Barriers to access.

+ model legislation concerning information policy for the CIS countries and
national programs.

+ formation of the information society in the CIS and problems of Global

+ how do ICTs influence local, national, and regional development?

Submission of papers

Proposals for papers should be submitted as abstracts of no more than 500
and should include details of the proposer's name, position, affiliation,
and contact details.
The abstracts will be reviewed by the Program Committee which consist of CIS
international members.

?riteria for selection for Proposals:
– relevance to the Themes of the Conference
– relevance to the development of Civil Society in the CIS
– papers can address either the theoretical or the practical aspects of the

Proposals should be submitted electronically:

– in English to Michael Gurstein, Conference Co-Chair

– in Russian to Organizing Committee to

in RTF, Word or PDF format.

Deadline for abstracts: 20 January 20032
Authors of accepted papers notified by: 26th February 2003

For further information and submission details, please, contact Organizing

27, Mayakovskogo str., St. Petersburg, Russia 191123
Fax: +7 812 2726547