Belarus Archives - Earth Charter

Education for Sustainable Development Symposium in Minsk, Belarus

Belarus2On 6 and 7 December 2018, the 2nd International Symposium “Education For Sustainable Development For All Generations – Social Agreement” took place at the Belarusian State Pedagogical University (BSPU) in Minks, Belarus. The overall aim of the Symposium was to offer a space to share education experiences, which have positively impacted on the search for ecological integrity, economical sustainability, social welfare and development of the human resources in the Eastern Europe region.

The symposium was organized by the Education for Sustainable Development Association, the Belarusian State Pedagogical University and the Wissenschaftsladen Bonn in the framework of the Belarusian-German project “Science Shop as an Instrument for the Integration of Educational and Sustainable Development Practices” (2016-2018). It received the support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus and the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany.

Sofia Savelana, the head of BSPU “Education for Sustainable Development” Coordination Centre, ECI Affiliate and Education for Sustainable Development Association expert, expressed how happy she was with the outcome of this effort. The meeting counted with 400 participants, who are policy makers, government officials, academics and educators, and was a very important occasion to underline the importance of Education for Sustainable Development and forge collaboration on this.

The event was held under the patronage of the National Coordinator for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with assistance from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and support from the UNDP project “Support to the National Coordinator on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and Strengthening the Role of the Parliament in the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.”

The opening event counted with the participation of:

Marianna Shchetkina – National Coordinator of SDGs Belarus;
Raisa Sidorenko – Vice-Ministry of Education of Republic of Belarus;
Iona Cazana-Vishnevetski – Head of UN Office in Belarus;
Astrid Sam – Head of Belarus Support Programme, Germany;
Mirian Vilela – Executive Director of Earth Charter International Secretariat, Costa-Rica – via internet

The first plenary session “Educational challenges of Sustainable Development Goals” counted with the participation of Katine Danielyan, Earth Charter Affiliate from Armenia and former Minister of Environment.

Follow the link to see more images from the Symposium:

For more Information click here:—social-agreement

and here is a link for the TV covered on this event:

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Earth Charter translations in Albanian and Belarusian

In February 2015, ECI published two new versions of the Earth Charter on its website. For the first time, the Earth Charter has been translated into Albanian and an updated translation of the Belarusian version has been completed as well.

The translations can be found on this page.

The Albanian version was completed through volunteer work done by a recent new endorser Kultura & Komuniteti (Culture and Community) from Durres, Albania. Durres is the second largest city of Albania. Kultura & Komuniteti’s motto is “Creating community and spirit of philanthropy through arts, culture and education.” The organization’s upcoming activities this year include a meeting with youth, university and high school students, to present the Earth Charter. The goal is to raise awareness of youth’s responsibility and the global impact of our daily activities. K&K will educate them on the Earth Charter principles to achieve local and global sustainability. A group of those participating will be selected to collaborate in the creation of a presentation on the Earth Charter principles to be presented in all high schools in the City of Durres. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the Regional Directorate of Education of Durres.

The new Belarusian version was submitted by Earth Charter International’s affiliate in Belarus, Youth International Education Club “Newline”. YIEC “Newline” has been carrying out many educational activities in Belarus and the region on Education for Sustainable Development. In 2014, the organization carried out several workshops, a spring discussion camp, participated in the Youth Media Festival “Youth Voices for Sustainable Development” of Adobe Youth Voices and iEARN, and assisted in the strengthening of a national network of ESD schools.

Earth Charter International and the global Earth Charter movement are grateful to both of these organizations for their hard work and dedication to fostering the Earth Charter vision of peace, justice, and sustainability.

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Earth Charter news from Belarus

These are three short articles from Belarus translated by Marina Filippova.

Summer Camp of Sustainable Development Schools in Belarus

From 22-25 March, the Braslav State Gymnasium organized a traditional Spring Discussion Camp of Sustainable Development Schools. For four days, teams of students and teachers from 13 educational institutions in Belarus and Latvia cooperated with local residents and local administrations to develop a “homo activus” mentality required for bringing about changes to the world. The Discussion Camp helped the participants to work out interregional youth projects on sustainable development for the 12th youth and adult contest “The Earth Is Our Home”. The activities and topics included presentations of the groups’ initiatives and results, some geographical orientation, Sunday Sustainable Development Actions with the aim of improving the Euroregion “Ozerny krai” (the Lakes Region of Latvia, Belarus, and Lithuania), a philosophy café, Skype meetings, a discussion platform for kids and adults, as well as consultations and reflection.

Read more in Russian:

Final conference “Partnership Network of Sustainable Development Schools: inter-regional Collaboration and sustainable changes”

From 27 – 29 March 2014, the Academy of Post-Graduate Education in Minsk held the final Conference “Partnership Network of Sustainable Development Schools: Inter-regional Collaboration and Sustainable Change”.

During the three-day conference teachers and students from the “Partnership Network of Sustainable Development Schools”, assisted by national and international experts,  discussed the project and defined promising trends for expanding education to promote sustainable development in Belarus.  Among the speakers were deputy Minister of Education Alexander Zhuk, coordinating committee members Galina Veremaychik, Oleg Sivograkov, Dmitri Karpeyevich, and Belarusian Teacher of the Year Inessa Zubrilina. They inspired further discussions and opened possibilities for the youth initiatives.

Materials gathered by the participants served as a basis for the resolution adopted by the conference. It states that the project “Partnership Network of Sustainable Development Schools” has been completed. The Partnership Network of Sustainable Development Schools is now established and will take an active part in sustainable development processes.  The participants of the project are ready to increase activity and form a partnership community focused on organizing sustainable development activities for different groups.

Youth Media Festival “Youth Voice for Sustainable Development 2014”

On May 20 2014, The Earth Charter affiliate Youth International Education Club “New Line” in Belarus and Adobe Youth Voices Program / IEARN hosted the annual Youth Media Festival “Youth Voice for Sustainable Development 2014”, featuring over 20 media projects from all over Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. All the projects are available at a specially created YouTube channel.

All Adobe Youth Voices Program participants having completed the Russian-language distance professional development course are welcome to take part in Media Festival “Youth Voice for Sustainable Development 2014” in absentia, participating in the projects here.

The Media Festival “Youth Voice for Sustainable Development 2014″organizers thank you for sharing your impressions per e-mail:

Read more in Russian:

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Week of Sustainable Development in Belarus in April 2013

This report was submitted by Earth Charter Affiliate, Sofia Savelava in Belarus and Volha Luksha, Coordinator of Braslav Resource Centre of Education for Sustainable Development.

The Week of Sustainable Development is a traditional event that is annually held in Belarus. The organizers of the event are Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange, the “Support Programme Belarus” of the German Federal Government 2012-2014, and other organizations. The SD School Partnership Network is one of the main participants of the event and supports and promotes the ideas of sustainable development through local actions wherever their members are active.

The SD School Partnership Network uses the ideas of the Earth Charter as its basic principles: Earth is our home; providing global safety is our care; universal responsibility is our principle of collaborative work and general activities.

This year there were about 50 different actions during SD Week that were organized for various social groups and local authorities by the SD School Partnership Network members. The National actions were:

1.    International Theoretical and Practical Conference “Education for Sustainable Development as Collaborative Work of Educational System Representatives” (April 18-20, 2013, Vitebsk Gymnasium #4)
2.    Discussion “Prospects of Renewable Energy in Belarus ” (April 22, 2013, Mogilev)
3.    Scientific Café “Ecological Management as a Part of Organizational Sustainable Development” (April 25, 2013, Minsk)
4.    The 3rd National Theoretical and Practical SD Conference “Partnership in Action” (April 26-27, 2013, Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange, Minsk)

There are some of the regional actions:

1.    “Spring Week of Kindness” (Novopolotsk School #12)
2.    Seminar “Youth Potential and its Role in Sustainable Development of the Region” (Mogilev Region Institute of  Education Development)
3.    National Festival “Stairs of Success” (April 20-22, 2013, Minsk City Centre of Children and Youth)
4.    “Green Gift for a Friend” (April 20-25, 2013, Minsk Recovery Centre)
5.    An educational game “Let’s Save Earth Energy” (Khodosovskaya School)
6.    “Think of Future – Act at Present” (April 22, 2013, Gomel Association of Children and Youth)
7.    National Festival of Short Movies “View” (April 23, 2013, Brest Youth Association “The Disabled and the Surroundings”)
8.    “Workshop of Future” (Orsha Secondary School #16)
9.    Action “My Beautiful Homeland” (Khodosovskaya School)
10.    Practical seminar “Initiatives of the Youth and Adults to Support the Ideas of Sustainable Development” (April 24, 2013, Kostyukovichi Gymnasium)
11.    Round Table “Saving Energy at Home” (April 25, 2013, Zditovskaya School)
12.    Festival of Youth and Adults Initiatives (April 22-29, 2013, Molodechno Gymnasium-College of Art)

On the eve of the SD Week in Belarus, the International Spring Discussion Camp of SD School Partnership Network Participants was held in Braslav. Youth teams worked out different initiatives of regional actions that support the ideas of sustainable development and the Earth Charter. The actions were the following:

1.    Interactive Talk “Talk to Me” (April 25, 2013, Molodechno Gymnasium-College of Art)
2.    Concert “Do Good to Everyone!” (April 27, 2013, Druya Children’s Home)
3.    Action “Flying Patrol” (April 20-26, 2013, Molodechno School #9)
4.    “About Economy in Pictures” (April 20-28, 2013, Ivanovo Gymnasium)
5.    PR-action “Give a Helping Paw” (April 20-28, 2013, Vitebsk Gymnasium #4)
6.    Interactive mini-theatre “Save Our Forests” (April 20-28, 2013, Braslav Gymnasium)
7.    Across-the-border action “Renew the Forest – Clean the Air in the City” (April 20-28, 2013, Braslav, Minsk, Druya (Belarus), Daugavpils (Latvia).

Moreover, some of the SD School Partnership members took part in the Earth Charter International webinar with Severn Suzuki-Cullis on April 22nd, 2013.

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Conference: “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan”

Inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter, an international conference on “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan” took place on 22-23 April 2011 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, commemorating the 22nd as Earth Day. The conference was organized by the Foundation to Support Civil Initiatives (FSCI, Dastgirie-Center), a public organization of the Republic of Tajikistan. The UNESCO National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan also provided considerable assistance and financial support for the conference. The aim of the conference was to highlight the role of the Earth Charter principles in Tajikistan, and to come to agreements on how to move forward with putting those principles into practice. Among the participants at the conference were members of state departments and agencies, national and international experts on the issues of sustainable development and environmental protection, scholars, university faculty and students, other NGOs, international and mass media organizations, and a number of international guests from Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, the conference was also aired that day on Tajik television.

The following people kicked off the conference and greeted the participants:

  • K. Olimov, Chair of the UNESCO National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan;
  • A. Tursunov, academician, Academy of Science of the Republic of Tajikistan, Director of the Institute of Language, Literature, Oriental Studies and Written Heritage;
  • M. Babadjanova, Director of the Tajik Branch of the Regional Ecological Centre of Central Asia.

The opening report, “Earth Charter – International Document of the UN: Phases of development and implementation + video clip on the Earth Charter”, was presented by M. Burkhanova, the Chair of the Foundation to Support Civil Initiatives (FSCI, Dastgirie-Center) and National Coordinator of the Earth Chapter in Tajikistan.

Special emphasis was given to ways in which the implementation of principles for sustainable development can be undertaken in Tajikistan, as reflected in short- and long-term national and international documents and processes such as poverty reduction strategy papers, the UN Millennium Development Goals and the RIO+20 Conference.

Climate change and the implementation of the Earth Charter principles on environmental protection were also highlighted in the analytical reports of the leading national experts.

Inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter, the creation of a culture of peace and nonviolence was also highlighted in the conference. Well-known national and international leading scientists of the Academy of Sciences focused their presentations on the topic of creating a culture of peace, including one on “From rationale mind to wisdom: The evolution of ecology” and another discussing “Islam: The ecology of the soul”.

As a result of the conference, a resolution was developed that will be submitted to the Parliament of Tajikistan, the Environmental Protection Committee, the Office of the President of Tajikistan, and other interested organizations. A collection of reports from the conference “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan” will be widely distributed to organizations and NGOs, as well as being available on the FSCI website ( The reports will be dedicated to the memory of Marina Bakhnova, Earth Charter Coordinator for Eastern Europe and the NIS who passed away recently.

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Earth Charter youth network wants to expand in Europe!

An example of an European Earth Charter effort:

In March 2011 the Earth Charter International along with the Earth Charter Youth Team organizes a one-day online conference to inform the European youth organizations and individual activists on the Earth Charter and its usefulness as an educational instrument when building a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

So far some 100 organizations have joined the Earth Charter youth network from Europe and Central Asia. In addition, there are 16 official Earth Charter Youth and Student Groups (ECYG) in 16 European and Central Asian countries.

ECYGs are action-oriented societies, networks, or organizations that bring alive the vision of the Earth Charter in the local and/or national communities. The youth study the declaration, get inspired by it and then organize small action projects on sustainability.

Youth in Europe promote the Earth Charter by

  • organizing events where they present the declaration
  • translating the document
  • informing other organizations on it
  • training people on sustainable development and ways of living.

National Earth Charter Websites in Europe and CA:

Finland | Germany | Greece | Italy | Latvia Norway | Russia |

From the related articles below, one can see some examples of the European Earth Charter youth activism.

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Event on Dutch foreign policy and democracy in Belarus

13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
b. Support local, regional and global civil society, and promote the meaningful participation of all interested individuals and organizations in decision making.
c. Protect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and dissent.

16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.

a. Encourage and support mutual understanding, solidarity, and cooperation among all peoples and within and among nations.

On December 19, 2010 the Presidential elections took place in Belarus. The country is known as a European authoritarian state famous for permanent human rights violations, unsolved cases of the missing political leaders and activists and full state control over mass media and civil society.

Prior to the elections The Worldconnectors Roundtable for People and the Planet, Youth International Education Club NEWLINE and the Earth Charter youth network in the Netherlands organized an event called Belarus Connection on December 10th 2010 in Amsterdam.

This networking event was organized to discuss the issues related to Dutch foreign policy, development cooperation and democracy in Belarus. The participants were asked to raise their voice to support stronger partnership between the Netherlands and Belarus for democracy, human rights, and non-violence.

The event focused on discussing on the following topics: Will the upcoming elections bring change? And can the Netherlands, as the second biggest economic ally of Belarus, contribute to this change?

The event gathered over 150 young people, representatives of various Dutch initiatives for human rights, democracy and sustainable development interested in working or working with Belarus. Amnesty International in the Netherlands has promoted the petitions that the participants could sign during the event.

After meeting, NEWLINE-Netherlands carried out a public campaign to support democratic elections in Belarus. The campaign’s video:

To follow the news and updates about this initiative, you are welcome to check the event’s webpage and Belarus Connection Facebook page .

Flyer of the event
Press release with background information, agenda and list of speakers

Pictures borrowed from the event’s Facebook group and take by Ed Lonnee.

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Youth Campaign on Earth Charter+10 in Belarus

Belarus 2010: the Earth Charter + 10

The youth campaign celebrating the 10 years of the Earth Charter has had its kick off on January 15, 2010 in Belarus!

“Belarus 2010: Earth Charter + 10” Campaign has made its primary goal to develop initiatives among young people promoting the ideas and principles of sustainable development in Belarus, include young people into the processes of regional development and into a winder international network of the Earth Charter.

The start of the Campaign took place in Domotkanovichi secondary school (Kletsk region, Minsk area) during the seminar on Local Agenda-21 as a mechanism for the Earth Charter regional implementation. The seminar was initiated by the Youth International Education Club NEWLINE and coordinated by Sofia Savelava, the EC Affiliate in Belarus, assistant professor at management of education department in the Academy of Post-graduate Education in Minsk.

The campaign has started within the series of seminars entitled “Ecologically oriented ethics of the Earth Charter – value-driven educational practice for sustainable development”. The participants of the seminar included: initiative teams of Local Agenda-21 from Domotranovichi, Yanovichi, Nagornov, Shepicy secondary school, Kletsk boarding school, educational department of Kletsk regional Executive Committee, Kletsk and Minsk regional departments for emergency management, editorial team of the national newspaper “Young Rescuer”.

Having presented and analyzed the experience of various school projects carried out by the schools in the region, the participants indicated the issues as well as the potential developments of the Earth Charter initiatives. Among the most highlighted, the following directions of work were given the priority:

  • Demarcation of “zones of personal freedom” and recognition of responsibility for life and health of the community of the living, support and improvement of health of all natural, cultural and historical objects in Belarus. Initiatives proposed: “Our Swans” project, “Ecological Paths” project, “Dendropark” project, various ecological and community oriented contests and competitions, issue-based individual help for citizens; 
  • Skills training on the methods and approaches to help safeguard life personal families, friends, neighbors, community and region. Initiatives proposed: trainings for life security, research on source of danger and danger management, demonstration of safeguard activities, security situation studies, organization of national and international projects on human security. 
  • Communication with the wider public on the issues of environment (the state of nature, cultural and historical places, understanding of traditions, shared visions and international agreements, organization of street actions, publications, films, PR campaigns, interaction with partners and etc.)
  • Presentation of alternative ways of living (study of different experience through international cooperation and project work, PR of personal initiatives, plans and efforts carried out in the region).

One of the next steps to be carried out in cooperation with YIEC NEWLINE is setting up of the web-page of the Earth Charter +10 Campaign in Belarus. The resource will be open for everyone to receive consultations, share experience, meet partners and find other relevant information about the regional and international events of the EC+10.

If you would like to have your information posted, please contact Sofia Savelava or Dmitry Savelau: newlineclub [a]

The photo gallery of the seminars and the campaign launch is available here

The Youth International Education Club NEWLINE represents the Earth Charter Young Group in the international community. Learn more about NEWLINE here.

Visit the Earth Charter website in Belarus here.

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Global Governance and Global Civil Society Debate in Amsterdam

On December 7, 2009 Global Governance and Global Civil Society debate took place in Amsterdam. The debate was organized by the Earth Charter in Belarus in partnership with the colleagues in the Netherlands and the Free University in Amsterdam.

The event gathered an international audience of 20 young people willing to discuss the ways of dealing with globalization, planetary threats and the increasing role of civil initiatives.

The debate was aimed at uncovering the basic ideas behind the concept of Global Governance with a special focus on global civil society. What is global civil society? What does it mean in the context of global governance ideas? What is the general purpose of global governance and how can civil society organizations contribute to it? Why do we need new actors and do individual voices matter? Finally, what are the main challenges, hopes, achievements and future prospects for global civil governance?

Unlike the debates about international cooperation, the discussion on global governance generally includes a much broader perspective: firstly, in terms of the values it is grounded in and secondly – in terms of the management process itself.

Therefore, in order to answer all the posted questions and discuss the ways how all the actors involved in governance can make an effective contribution, the Earth Charter was presented.

As Dmitry Savelau, a youth representative of the EC network in Belarus, suggested in his presentation: apart of being a unique document representing the global ethics of sustainable development, the Earth Charter Initiative is the example of an emerging platform for global governance, where simultaneous interaction of the state, business, religion, civil sector and young people is taking place at all levels. Thus it is a very important to consider the Earth Charter as the potential model of such stakeholders’ integration and collaboration.

The discussion was supported by the professors of the VU University and the two guest experts – Rindert de Groot, one of the members of the WorldConnectors initiative and Daniel van Middelkoop, a representative of the Windows to the World Project, aimed on educating young people about global citizenship.

Presentations were followed by an informal discussion and drinks organized by the Department of Political Science of the Free University in Amsterdam.

For more information about the event, feel free to contact Dmitry Savelau: dsavelau [a]

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Belarusian educators are catching up to ESD and the Earth Charter

My recent visit to Minsk Republic of Belarus yielded quite a few interesting facts about the realm of education in this country. Decisions from the UNESCO conference on ESD in Bonn Education for Sustainable Development, for example, have not been prioritized by the formal educational system. Additionally, the words “sustainable development” mostly meant the increase of production, the consumption of electricity, water, wood and other natural resource and other economic development.

However, there have always been visionaries and enthusiastic educators who have been engaged in promoting the ideas of Agenda 21 and implementing education for sustainable development in their daily activities. One of those is Sofia Savelava, the new Earth Charter Affiliate in Belarus who works at the Belarusian Academy for professional teacher training. Due to the continuous efforts of Ms. Savelava and her colleagues, along with the shift in formal educational policies after the Bonn conference on ESD, the Academy is putting a strong emphasis on integrating the ideas and principles of sustainable development into its educational programs. This research has logically brought attention to the Earth Charter as the ethical foundation for sustainable development. I was very happy to participate in the launch of the new week-long training program tailored for the top managers of the educational regional organizations responsible for life-long teachers’ professional training.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Zhukov, challenged the audience with the need to catch up with the UN Decade for ESD that has passed its half-way mark and to work out educational programs, methodologies and curricula that would be in line with the latest achievements of the world educational community. I had the honor of presenting the main ideas of the Earth Charter educational philosophy and its practical use as a tool for ESD. The audience of middle-aged educational managers, with the “old school” background, was sceptical about the ”overly idealistic approach to education” and the perspective of an increased workload for school teachers and university professors, but hopefully the sharing of practical case-studies and materials developed by the Earth Charter Center for ESD (Teachers’ Guide among them) helped to change their opinion. After the presentation I was surrounded by many participants who were interested in details, exchanging ideas and challenging and discussing the main ideas of my presentation. It was a very gratifying experience! The presentation of the Head of the training program came up as a pleasant surprise, as it was based on the Earth Charter and its values-driven approach to education for sustainable development. Expressed by a much respected national educator, it was strong support for the main ideas of my presentation.

Visiting the small village Zditovo, located 300 km west of the Belarusian capital, was a heart warming experience. The secondary school with 128 students, in a village with 960 inhabitants located in unique lowlands area, has been a participant of a two-year project called “Agenda 21 in local schools.” It is being carried out by Sofia Savelava on behalf of the Academy of Teachers Training and the office of UNDP Belarus, with the financial support of the German Aid Program for Belarus. Zditovo School is one of 19 that benefited from this project; it has become a collective leader in developing a local approach to the solution of global problems and calling together villagers to implement their ideas. Since 2008, teachers and students of Zditovo school, led their young and energetic principal Vitaly Zhukovich, have embraced the values and ethics of the Earth Charter. They clearly saw the synergy between their beliefs, actions and the principles expressed in the Earth Charter. Their multiple activities in implementing sustainable development in their school and village communities have been guided by Earth Charter principles.

During the open lesson on the Earth Charter, I presented the Earth Charter video, told the audience about the history, mission and vision of the document and answered multiple questions from senior students, teachers and the first graders as well. The students and the teachers expressed interest in joining the Earth Charter School Network and asked for contacts with similar schools in other countries. To end with, the Earth Charter International Secretariat received a beautiful gift, an Earth Charter Tree of Life, hand-made by several second-graders of wrought copper, rhinestones and clay.

The Earth Charter has finally gained momentum in Belarus due to the efforts of the new country affiliate Sofia Savelava. She is the director and one of the founders of the Youth International Education Club “New Line” (; ; It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, a virtual Students’ Club and a youth branch of the “Transformation of Humanities” Association in Belarus. The NEWLINE Club has become an organizational endorser of the Earth Charter and constitutes the leadership team of the first Youth Charter Youth Group in the country. It was established by Dmitry Savelau, a member of the Earth Charter Leadership Team and a co-founder of the NEWLINE Club. For more information about the NEWLINE Club go to

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