University welcomes Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarusian democratic movement, was welcomed to the University this week to address an audience of students and staff.
Tsikhanouskaya defeated autocratic president Aleksandr Lukashenko in a presidential election on 9 August 2020, according to independent observers, but was subsequently forced into exile.
Professor Luke March sat in conversation with the Belarusian politician to discuss her life, work and stepping into politics after her husband was arrested for his presidential aspirations.
The talk kicked off the Politics in Contested Times Seminar Series, run by Politics and International Relations in the School of Social and Political Science.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a mother of two who had set aside a career as an English teacher in order to help her deaf son learn to speak when she was thrust into the political sphere.
She has since become the leader of the Belarusian democratic movement, a figurehead to millions of people, addressed the European Parliament and met countless world leaders such as US President Joe Biden and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Tsikhanouskaya and leaders of the Belarus’ democratic opposition were awarded the European Parliament's 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in December 2020. In 2021 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
We are honoured to have hosted Ms Tsikhanouskaya and to have heard her reflections on the challenges to democracy in Belarus. The School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh seeks to engage, through our teaching and research, with key issues relating to global security and the challenges to democracy throughout the world.