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The Evolving Humanitarian Crisis at Europe’s Door

November 23, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

In recent months, there has been an increase in the number of migrants trying to cross the border from Belarus into Poland – and with that the European Union. As the waves of people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries has spiked and winter weather has become more severe, the situation is becoming more dire. European leaders have accused the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenko of facilitating illegal border crossing into Poland – as well as Latvia and Lithuania – in retaliation for EU sanctions. Although Lukashenko denies these accusations, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding as the 3,000 to 4,000 migrants stranded at the border are creating the most dramatic challenge to the EU’s borders since 2015, when hundreds of thousands of migrants gathered in Turkey to enter Europe.

Join the American Council on Germany for a discussion about the crisis on the border with Belarus and how the EU and the transatlantic community can best respond with Dr. Jörg Forbrig, Senior Fellow and Director for Central and Eastern Europe at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Katsiaryna Shmatsina, Fellow at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies.

Dr. Jörg Forbrig is a Senior Fellow and the Director for Central and Eastern Europe in the German Marshall Fund’s Berlin office. His work focuses on Europe’s East broadly, including the Eastern-most member countries of the European Union and NATO, the EU’s Eastern neighborhood, and Russia. In addition, he leads GMF efforts to assist civil society in Belarus, and he works closely with the Balkan Trust for Democracy and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation to bolster democracy assistance to Central and Eastern Europe at large. Prior to joining GMF in 2002, Dr. Forbrig worked as a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow at the Center for International Relations in Warsaw, Poland.

He has been published widely on democracy, civil society, and Central and Eastern European affairs, including the books Reclaiming Democracy (2007), Prospects for Democracy in Belarus (2006), and Revisiting Youth Political Participation (2005). He is also a regular contributor to major international media. Dr. Forbrig studied political science, sociology, and Eastern European affairs at universities in Germany, Poland, and Hungary. He holds a Ph.D. in social and political sciences from the European University Institute in Florence and a master’s in political science from Central European University in Budapest. He speaks English, Russian, Polish, and Slovak in addition to his native German.
Katsiaryna Shmatsina is a Fellow at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, where she focuses on foreign and security policy, international risk, Russia, Eurasia, and NATO. Previously, she worked for the American Bar Association where she was involved with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), especially in projects on good governance and rule of law in UNDP in-country offices. She also served as a pro bono local expert on Belarus for the World Bank’s Doing Business and Women, Business, and the Law reports.

In the summer of 2019, she was a research fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw. In 2018, she was awarded a fellowship at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, Washington DC. In 2016, she received a Civil Society Leadership Award from the Open Society Foundations. Ms. Shmatsina holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Syracuse University, New York (2016) and a degree in law from Belarusian State University (2013). Apart from mother-tongue Belarusian, she commands Russian, English, German, and French


November 23, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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