Dr. Oleg Manaev is the founding professor of the Department of Social Communication at Belarus State University where he has taught for over fifteen years. He has held visiting professorships at universities in the US, Canada, Brazil and Europe and received numerous international fellowship awards for work around the world.
With over 170 scholarly articles to his name, Dr. Manaev has authored and edited an additional seventeen books on civil society, democracy and the media, including three in the past three years: Emerging Civil Society in Independent Belarus. Sociological Experiences: 2001-2005, Presidential Elections in Belarus: from Limited Democracy to Unlimited Authoritarianism (1994-2006), and his most recent, Belarus and Wider Europe: Quest for Geo-Political Self Identification. While teaching in Belarus, Dr. Manaev established the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) and the Belarusian Association of Think Tanks (BATT) to examine democratic movements, media, market economies, rule of law and civil society. His public visibility made him a target of consistent pressure from Belarusian authorities, who in recent years have severely restricted the activities of NGOs, independent media and academic institutions. Under increasing threat, including shutting down both IISEPS and BATT by the Supreme Court, as well as threats of formal charges from the General Prosecutor Office for “discrediting the Republic of Belarus,” Dr. Manaev appealed to the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund through his colleague Dr. Peter Gross of the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville, to bring him to university’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
On the IIE-SRF fellowship as an assistant professor at UT, Dr. Manaev taught several media courses on campus and at various other academic institutes in the US. In addition to his work on campus, he continued to pursue independent research, publishing numerous works in US and international journals. He served as a corresponding editor of Political Communication, an international quarterly journal, as he maintained close ties with his colleagues in Belarus.
Conditions at home look no more promising for change, but Dr. Manaev is committed to overcoming the myriad offenses to academic freedom in his country.
“I continue my work not because of my political or ideological stance, but because providing unbiased and objective information and analysis to the public is part of my professional and public obligation. Despite all of the obstacles, I can see concrete results of our activities, and that spurs us forward.”