The Kennan Institute is pleased to announce a new series of workshops on "Socially Sustainable Development in Russia." All modern states face the challenge of promoting economic development while ensuring the social sustainability of that development. Economic progress and business interests compete with other interests of society as a whole, such as protecting the environment and other social needs like education, health care, and pensions—commonly referred to as the social safety net. Russia is confronted by additional interrelated challenges that further complicate this competition of economic and social interests. How Russia handles these challenges will prove significant in determining Russia's relative economic and political position in the world.

The first of these challenges is overcoming the legacies of the Soviet era and the economic unraveling of the 1990s. The Soviet social safety net was largely undone during the 1990s, and the fight to replace the various components of that safety net is still underway between the branches of government, and between the state and the private sector. The second challenge is closely related; inequality, both between groups in society (social inequality) and between and within regions (spatial inequality), is a key issue that, if left unaddressed, could challenge the stability of the state and society. Further complicating Russia's task are alarming demographic trends. With the Russian population declining by about 700,000 people each year, there is a very real concern that in the future Russia may lack the population to sustain its economy, its military, and even its territorial integrity. Finally, the Russian government has stated its intention to balance its extraordinary wealth in energy and natural resources with the need to develop a post-industrial economy. Yet the resurgence of the state in the economy is restraining the growth of other new businesses in precisely those knowledge-based industries that Russia will need.

The Workshop Series is designed to serve as a forum in which junior scholars from a variety of disciplines discuss different aspects of research topics, share research findings, and provide policy recommendations. Participants in the series will explore the ways in which policymakers and practitioners can find mutually beneficial dialogue with academics. These workshops will be led by human geographer Michael Bradshaw, University of Leicester, U.K. and Chatham House, London, and will bring together a dozen U.S. researchers from various disciplines with recent field experience for two meetings.

The first workshop will take place in early 2009, and will serve as a forum for the participants to present their current research. Themes identified at the first workshop will serve as the basis for new or revised research to be completed by the second meeting in Fall 2009. Key policy actors such as World Bank and U.S. Department of State officials will be brought into dialogue with the workshop participants at the second meeting.

Selection for the workshop series will be based on an open national competition. Participation in the series is limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. Applicants should be at the post-doctoral level (pre-tenure) or be Ph.D. candidates who have completed field research for their dissertations. For non-academics, an equivalent degree of professional achievement is expected. The workshop series is interdisciplinary. Any area of social science or humanities research that focuses on issues of economic development and social sustainability in Russia is welcome. The Kennan Institute will provide per diem costs and travel support for workshop participants.

Interested applicants should submit an abstract (fewer than 1000 words) of their current research, a current CV, and two letters of recommendation to: Economic Development and Social Sustainability in Russia Workshop, Kennan Institute/Woodrow Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004-3027. Abstracts and resumes may be sent by email to: Joseph Dresen ( Recommendation letters must be sent by mail. All application materials must be in English and must be received by December 15, 2008. PLEASE NOTE: This deadline has been extended.

When writing your proposal, please keep in mind that the objective of these workshops is to shed new light on the issue of Russian economic development and the social consequences of that development. What is happening on the ground in Russia? Are problem areas being recognized and addressed, either by federal or local government agencies or the private sector? Issues of particular interest include economic diversification and small/medium business development, infrastructure issues, social safety net issues, and social/spatial inequality.

The "Socially Sustainable Development in Russia " Workshop is supported by the Program of Research and Training on Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII). For further information, please contact Joseph Dresen at 202-691-4245 or (