The International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS) together with the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine initiates a communication campaign #RespectUA on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the society.

                                                                          

The aim of the project is to reduce the polarization and strengthen dialogue among various social groups.

Within the framework of the project it is planned to establish the UNDP Tolerance Envoys concept in Ukraine to promote the values of tolerance and mutual understanding. Multi-level communication in the society regarding this issue should belong to moral leaders, opinion-makers and those Ukrainians, who have gained recognition in various fields.

The project activities cover the conduction of a series of events: public lectures for socially active groups in different regions of Ukraine on promotion and establishment of principles of mutual respect, practices of tolerance and acceptance of different opinions in the Ukrainian society.

The following known Ukrainians have joined the initiative:

 

 

 

Since 2017, 12 well-known Ukrainians have become UNDP Tolerance Envoys, raising awareness of the issue of equality in Ukraine, not only within conventions, not only in human rights protection, but also in other areas of life, such as music, the environment, the media, theatre, sports, art and literature.

Because the language of culture is the language of equality, these languages are in turn the languages of peacebuilding.

UNDP Tolerance Envoys had to become investigators: to identify the causes of intolerance and find traumatic stereotypes and phobias.

They have also worked as mediators and peacekeepers: influencing the development of a culture and tradition of mutual understanding and respect, reducing the polarization of public sentiments and advocating for the strengthening of dialogue in Ukrainian society.

The communication campaign on tolerance promotion in Ukrainian society, which was initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine confirmed the need to establish dialogue between various social groups on urgent and sometimes challenging issues.

Numerous meetings led by Envoys in Kyiv and the regions of Ukraine have confirmed that discussions about the future, without forgetting the past, and discussions about a common vision for the country's progress can be an effective mechanism to reduce aggression and intolerance.

Ukrainian society critically needs effective communication on important issues such as intolerance and the threat it poses to the country's development, the interconnection between tolerance and security, and the importance for the future of a comprehensive and large-scale national dialogue.

Can a team of energetic, well rounded and hardworking people do it? Perhaps.

Can anything be changed in a year? Probably.

But more good things should be done over time. That’s why there are newcomers in the envoys’ team.

During the next campaign phase in 2018-2020, the replenished team will focus on developing a regional network of leaders who will become promoters of the values of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding, as well as human rights, at regional level in Ukraine.

Interaction between the national-level envoys and the leaders of the regional network is intended to provide effective communication for such issues as respect for human rights and freedoms, social cohesion and dialogue in the regions of Ukraine.

In addition to the establishment of the regional network of leaders for tolerance promotion, a series of art, literature and sporting events are planned to be held as part of the campaign to attract as many people from different social groups as possible.

Every voice counts. Every thought and every opinion. Learning to hear each other is the first step towards find respect. To learn to speak in a way that all voices sound harmonious is the next step. To learn to talk about painful topics so that they are a conversation and not a scream or a denial is yet another step forward.

Come together! We will listen, speak, move and create.

This way it will be easier to feel the value, necessity and uniqueness of every person.

Real respect for the value of diversity and the indisputable equality of each and every person.