||Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe|
Civic Bridges–Central Asia, an interconnected, cross-border initiative funded by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the Department of State from 2003 to 2005, was a program aimed at fostering civil society, democratic development, political and religious moderation, and social and ethnic reconciliation in all five countries of Central Asia. It is such non-violent, cross-border programs that establish common bonds for cross-border dialogue and cooperation and thus deter extremism.
For this project, IDEE partnered with 5 NGO partners, one in each country, to implement a range of activities aimed at strengthening pro-democratic, non-violent, and moderate civic forces in the region. In this way, the program was able to foster alternatives to the region's dominant poles: non-democratic, repressive regimes on the one side and the emergence of extremist movements advocating violence and theocracy on the other. While the program included all five countries of Central Asia, it focused particular attention on the countries sharing the conflict region of the Ferghana Valley (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan).
Civic Bridges expanded the Centers for Pluralism framework for Central Asia with the aim of overcoming the tendency towards national insularity and helping to build an effective five-country network of democracy activists. It was modeled in part on a similar program IDEE developed in Yugoslavia, also called Civic Bridges, which fostered a community of more than 500 NGOs across the isolated and fractured republics of former Yugoslavia through different civic and civic education initiatives. In the Central Asia program, there were three main parts: Regional Networking, Civic Leadership, and Citizens' Participation.
IDEE and its partners organized the following:
By the conclusion of the program, IDEE involved more than 50 NGOs from throughout the region in a common network aimed at fostering the values of liberal democracy, basic democratic institutions, government accountability, reforms, and democratic changes. Overall, the program reached more than 4,000 people through the Citizens' Forums and Small Grants Programs all of which fostered the ideas of pluralism, democracy, and human and women's rights.
For further information regarding this program, please contact Eric Chenoweth or Irena Lasota at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Civic Bidges--Central Asia program was funded by the: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State
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