The Network of Schools of Political Studies operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe, aiming to promote European values by actively creating the next generation of leaders in South-East Europe, the Caucasus and Russia. The Network was formally created in 2003, with the aim of training future leaders in transition countries.
The first school of political studies was founded in Moscow in 1992. There are currently 16 schools in Moscow, Tbilisi, Sofia, Chisinau, Pristina, Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb, Bucharest, Yerevan, Kiev, Sarajevo, Tirana, Podgorica and a newly created school in Belarus.
The Directorate of Policy Planning of the Council of Europe supports the schools by coordinating school activities, enhancing an exchange of experiences, and advising schools in their selection of both topics and speakers.
The Schools of Political Studies offer a series of one-week seminars in the country, with closing seminars held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Annual seminar cycles are comprised of three to four seminars where domestic and international experts cover topics such as European integration, democracy, human rights, rule of law and globalization. Seminar participants are young political leaders, local self-government representatives, judges, lawyers, journalists, businessmen/women and civil activists.
The schools’ directors have agreed to cooperate on the following principles:
• Program harmonization
• Exchange of experts and participants
• Mutual sessions involving participants from different schools
• Emphasizing the European dimension
In order to increase the visibility of the program and further the development of the Schools for Political Studies, the European Association of the School of Political Studies was formed during the closing ceremony of the third Summer University for Democracy in July 2008. Its main objectives are to allow its members to develop their activities, to strengthen their ties beyond any divides and build together democratic societies based on a political culture characterised by pluralism, tolerance and dialogue. The Chair of the Association is the former Secretary General of the Council of Eurpote, Ms. Catherine Lalumière. More information on the schools’ activities is available at the Association’s site.