Dialogue of East European Partners (DEEP)


Access to information is a hallmark of modern democratic, stable societies. In support of emerging democracies around the world, American publishers, governmental organizations and non-governmental (NGO) not-for-profit entities have significantly assisted many countries by providing books and, to a lesser extent, other materials for general education and professional training. The objective of such work is to help people help themselves. Millions of books have been donated by the Sabre Foundation, the Soros Foundation, the Brother's Brother Foundation, the International Book Bank, and others to organizations in Central and Eastern Europe. These gifts are among the most visible manifestations of the commitment of the United States to the development of democratic institutions and market economies in the region. The logistic assistance provided by these organizations and the financial support provided by USIA and other agencies of the American government and by private foundations and other NGOs have been crucial in providing the people of Central and Eastern Europe access to otherwise inaccessible materials.

For their part, the non-profit partner organizations selecting and distributing these materials have developed unique networks for assessing needs and reaching end-users. It is now time to open these distribution networks to broad European as well as American participation.

Therefore, the organizations participating in the DEEP Dialogue of East European Partners conference in Budapest, 6 - 8 November 1995, express their thanks to the Sabre Foundation, for its leadership in book donation projects in Central and Eastern Europe, and to the other donor organizations who have provided these valuable donations. The partner organizations also have developed varied methods to assure the effective distribution of the donated materials in the specific conditions of their respective countries and, on the basis of their experience, have approved the following:

A. Recommendations to Donors

  1. Despite the fact that many positive changes have occurred in Central and Eastern Europe since regimes were changed at the end of the 1980's, most of the educational and cultural institutions still lack the financial resources necessary to acquire materials critically needed as countries in the region seek to establish democratic societies and market economies. In addition, many of the recipient agencies face financial difficulties because of the general state of the economies of these countries. Therefore, there clearly is still a widespread need for donated educational and scientific materials.

  2. In addition to the materials donated from the United States, it would be very helpful if donations and logistic and financial assistance from European countries could be arranged in order to assist the countries of Central and Eastern Europe as they prepare for European integration.

  3. Textbooks and reference books are the most important types of materials needed in the majority of the recipient countries. Textbooks at all educational levels (primary, secondary, university and continuing education) are needed. Special emphasis should also be given to materials to be used in teaching the English language since these are still urgently needed in most Central and East European countries. Materials in other Western European languages are also needed.

  4. In addition to books and other traditional, basic printed materials such as journals, the partner organizations would like to indicate the growing need for other types of informational materials such as videos, audio recordings, software databases, compact disks (CDs) and microform (microfilm and microfiche) materials. The donation of such materials will significantly contribute to the information resources of the recipient countries.

  5. In addition to donated books, access to other materials at discount prices would be very much welcomed by the partner organizations. The participants in the DEEP conference appreciate the Reduced-Cost Journal Service available through the Sabre Foundation U.S. and express their hope that similar projects for obtaining other materials important for students, professors, researchers, professionals and libraries can be arranged.

B. Commitment of the Central and Eastern European Partners

  1. The partner organizations recognize that they are part of a unique regional information distribution system and that they have accepted the responsibility to provide important services to a variety of users. They pledge to adhere to all pertinent laws and regulations of the countries in which the donors and recipients are located as well as to the requirements established by donors. They will maintain such records as would indicate compliance with these regulations.

  2. The partner organizations in each country pledge themselves to securing the widest possible access and utilization of donated materials by refining the procedures of requesting, processing and distributing materials and to regularly monitor these procedures.

  3. The partner organizations are committed to seeking local support, both financial and material, which will further strengthen the program of donations and will maximize the utilization of the limited resources available.

  4. The partner organizations will engage in regular consultations with each other and with donor organizations in order to promote mutual assistance and international cooperation in strengthening the developing democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.

  5. The partner organizations will cooperate with the donors in seeking to alleviate any impediments to the program such as the imposition of customs duties or taxes upon donated items by officials in the receiving countries. The partners will inform the donor organizations in a timely manner of any difficulties encountered or of changes in local regulations or documentation requirements.

The participants in the DEEP conference express their thanks to the National Széchényi Library in Budapest for graciously hosting the conference and to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, whose financial support made the conference possible. They also commend the Sabre Foundation for its ongoing commitment to and support of the developing democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.

Budapest, 8 November 1995

English Cultural Center, Brest, Belarus
Center for the Study of Democracy, Sofia, Bulgaria
Fondacija Sabre-Zagreb, Croatia
Center for Democracy and Free Enterprise, Prague, Czech Republic
Sabre- Hungary Alapitvány, Budapest, Hungary
Free Enterprise Transition Center, Kraków, Poland
Slovak Academic Information Agency-Service Center for the Third Sector, Bratislava, Slovakia
Sabre-Svitlo Foundation, Lviv, Ukraine

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