About the Participants:
Ales Bialiatski is a Belarusian civic leader and founder of the Minsk-based Viasna Human Rights Center, which aims to provide financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families. A former prisoner of conscience himself, Bialiatski has won several international honors for his work, including the 2012 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In the course of the current protests, Bialiatski and "Viasna" received the 2020 Right Livelihood Award, granted by the Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation for "their resolute struggle for the realization of democracy and human rights in Belarus" and the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, granted by the European Parliament. Bialiatski is also an author of eight books and a member of the Belarusian PEN Club.
Michael McFaul is Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995.
Dr. McFaul also is as an International Affairs Analyst for NBC News and a columnist for The Washington Post. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014).
David R. Marples is a Distinguished University Professor of Russian and East European History, University of Alberta. He is the author of sixteen single-authored books, including Understanding Ukraine and Belarus (2020), Ukraine in Conflict (2017), Our Glorious Past: Lukashenka’s Belarus and the Great Patriotic War (2014), and Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine (2008). He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has also edited four books on nuclear power and security in the former Soviet Union, contemporary Belarus, and Ukraine.
Olga V. Solovieva
Olga V. Solovieva is Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. She is interested in comparative history of democratic thought and practice and intersection of culture and politics in East Slavic countries. She was a co-organizer of the 2019 workshop "Cultures of Protest in Contemporary Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia" at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago.
Zhanna Charniauskaya is a leader of the Belarusians in Chicago nonprofit organization and is a community organizer. Among her projects are traditional Belarusian celebrations, cultural events in the greater Chicago area, including a concert series “Centuries of Belarusian Singing Tradition” for the Global Voices program at the International House of the University of Chicago. Currently, she is involved with the projects supporting the Freedom movement in Belarus. Zhanna is also a chemistry teacher at East Aurora High School in Aurora, IL.