Course date

10 July - 21 July, 2000
Application deadline
15 February, 2000
Course Director(s): 

Ivan Szekely

Open Society Archives, Central European University/ Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Herbert Burkert

Legal Stuides, St Gallen University for Economics, Law, Business Administration and Social Sciences, Switzerland

Claes Granstrom

National Archives of Sweden, Stockholm

Gergana Jouleva

Access to Information Programme, Sofia, Bulgaria

Charles Kecskemeti

International Council on Archives, Paris, France

Boris Pustintsev

Citizens' Watch, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Access to public documents and information of public interest is an essential element of a democratic society. Preserving these documents and making them available for research, thus providing a basic means for opening up the past - including the recent past - is an equally important condition of democracy. Archives play a crucial role in fulfilling this condition, and the way they take part in operating these basic informational utilities is highly dependent on the education and the attitudes of the archival community.
 
In Western democratic countries the basic guaranties of openness are essentially ensured, while in the Central and Eastern European region the basic principles of openness and the rules of access were introduced after the change of the political system. These societies were deprived of vital 
information for long decades, and after the changes the task of reforming the handling of information and documents has been burdened with the moral necessity for an informational recompensation, the legal pitfalls of lustration, or the new concession of scholars to open up the files of the old regime.
 
The course offers a possibility for members of the archival profession, as well as for researchers, historians and decision makers in public administration, especially from countries of the region, to become acquainted with these governing principles and existing examples from western and newly democratic countries. Participants should learn about each other's situation, problems and solutions; they should clarify their legal and ethical arguments, taking differences in political and cultural traditions and legal frameworks into consideration.
 
The course also provides access to high level professional information and relevant literature. As a result, participants should be able to help implement the principles and introduce the regulation, which will contribute to changes in attitudes. These new forms should also be 
incorporated into university and professional education in their own countries.
 
Target audience 
The course is primarily recommended for mid - and upper level archival managers and professionals from state administration who take part in considering actual access requests or in preparing access (or secrecy) regulation. It is also recommended for young university lecturers and researchers in the informational - legal, communication or political fields; for historians and publicists whose work depends on the accessibility and publication possibilities of documents from the recent past; and for activists of NGOs fighting for openness and freedom of information.