November 18, 2019

Autumn School Resilience League 2019 on disinformation and societal polarisation

International Autumn School Resilience League 2019 gathered around 70 young professionals and experienced experts from the Baltic states, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries. During the 6-day long event, participants discussed various aspects related to cognitive resilience against hostile disinformation, societal polarisation and harmful radicalisation.

The autumn school started by the VIP-day started in Tallinn and continued by lecture sessions in Narva- Jõesuu. The key-note speech entitled “Weaponised religion: comparative examples of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Estonia” was made by Mr. James Sherr, Senior Fellow at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, ICDS.

The VIP-day of the autumn school was conducted at the Estonian Ministry for Foreign Affairs where public discussion “Disinformation threats and modern politics: is it worth regulating virtual environment?” was held with the great interest. In her opening remarks, H.E. Christiane Hohmann, German Ambassador to Estonia, stated on resilience: “How to maintain an open dialogue, open systems, exchange views and at the same time be sure that our values will not be destroyed and supplanted? For me, this is part of resilience. It’s not only about technology, it is about us, about who we are and why we are here.”  The event featured honorary speakers including: Mr. Peer Krumrey, Director of the FES Baltic States,  Mr. Marko Mihkelson, Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, Mr. Tomas Jermalavicius, ICDS Head of Studies, Dr. Iryna Brunova-Kalisetska, Leading Expert in Conflict Studies and Reconciliation, and Ms. Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament.

The rest days of the school, the participants spent in North-Eastern Estonia where they had an opportunity for enhanced interactive learning sessions with experienced experts from Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Great Britain, Ukraine and other countries. Young professionals discussed current issues and trends in the field of countering disinformation, reshaping of national information policy, peculiarities of spreading the language of war and peace in polarised society, psychological resistance to media toxicity, rumour verification in social media conversations, algorithms of thinking in the post-truth era, counter-PR: how organisations and states counteract media-terror, neurobiological mechanisms of reality formation and mechanisms of employing “useful idiots“.

Many  participants shared and presented their professional experience, achievements and projects during several “peer-to-peer learning session”. Traditionally, the group visited Narva for a guided tour throughout the main places of interest of this interesting town, getting a broad introduction to historical heritage of this unique region.

Autumn School Resilience League 2019 was jointly organised by the National Centre of Defence & Security Awareness (NCDSA, Estonia) and ICDS. Our main co-operation partners are NATO, German Embassy in Tallinn, U.S. Embassy in Estonia, Estonian Development Cooperation and Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES-Baltic). Resilience League is an international co-operation platform for experts and young professionals to create shared experience, obtain new practical knowledge and develop innovative methods for effective counteracting hostile influence.