Freedom House Seeks Proposals for Analytical Briefs

Freedom House’s Nations in Transit seeks proposals from scholars, researchers and think tanks based in any country for forward-looking briefs on the following themes. The briefs will be published by Freedom House, with the byline and affiliation of the scholar or researcher. An honorarium of $300 per brief is provided.

Theme 1: Xenophobia in Central and Eastern Europe     

The refugee crisis in Europe has raised again the specter of xenophobia in the EU member states of Central and Eastern Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s position at the vanguard of European opposition to accepting refugees, the October election of the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) in Poland, and inflammatory statements by Czech President Milos Zeman have drawn attention to what often appears as significant support for chauvinist, xenophobic positions in Central and Eastern Europe.

This brief would examine the actual level of support for xenophobic positions in the region, and compare it with support for these positions in other parts of the EU, including Western Europe.

Theme 2: The Balkans’ Other Migrant Crisis

Amidst the European Union’s troubled response to the refugee crisis, another migrant flow along the same route has fallen out of discussion. Tens of thousands of migrants from the Western Balkans each year seek work in the wealthier countries of the EU as they flee dysfunctional economies at home. Recent changes to asylum procedures in EU member states may disrupt some of this flow. The creation of a new EU border service might also affect migration patterns for Balkans labor-seekers.

This brief would examine the current situation of migration from the Western Balkans to the European Union, and discuss implications of the changes brought on by the 2015 refugee crisis for Balkans migrants to the EU.

Theme 3: Changes in Ukraine’s Economy since the Revolution

Since Ukraine’s revolution in February 2014, the country’s economy has weathered a string of challenges related to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, sanctions and countersanctions, and reforms required by Western governments and international lenders. Russia’s decision to cancel its free trade agreement with Ukraine in December 2015, and Ukraine’s default on $3 billion of bonds to Russia, present further challenges. As relations with Russia settle into a permanent posture of hostility, the Ukrainian economy is gradually changing its patterns in terms of trade and investment.

This brief would discuss the changes in the Ukrainian economy since the revolution, and lay out the implications of these changes for Ukraine’s foreign relations and domestic politics, including impact on oligarchic interests in the economy.

Procedures:

Please submit concept proposals to Nations in Transit Project Director Nate Schenkkan at [email protected] by January 25, 2016. The concept proposal should consist of an abstract of no more than 200 words, an outline of the argument to be presented, and a CV of the principal researcher or researchers. Contracted researchers will be asked to deliver a draft of 2500-3000 words by March 1, 2016. Organizations and researchers may submit more than one concept.

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