On 5 July 2015, the International Centre for Policy Studies co-organized a forum on "Donbas Ukraine. Agenda", which was held in the eastern city of Sloviansk.
During the forum, within the framework of the project on "Initiating the Participatory National Dialogue in Ukraine", the ICPS held a round table on "National Dialogue: Overcoming the Past, Living through the Present, Building the Future" and a discussion panel on "Reconciliation Policy: Proposals from Civil Society".
Project Coordinator Olena Zakharova, who attended the forum, spoke about the aims and results of the project. She noted that the project goal was to tackle the most pressing and relevant issues currently faced by various Ukrainian regions. Ms Zakharova added that over the last year, Ukrainian society became more homogeneous. However, Donbas has remained the main fault line in Ukraine.
The current conflict in eastern Ukraine is very complex: it is a multilayered conflict consisting of three layers:
- global level - a conflict between the leading global actors on the world stage, which also involves Russia's attempts to restore its once lost position of power on the global arena;
- regional level - a collapse of post-Soviet relations and Ukraine-Russia confrontation;
- local level - the dismantling of state institutions in Ukraine after a change of government, which triggered off disintegration processes in the country.
According to Olena Zakharova, the possible scenarios for Donbas include autonomy for this region, which means that this territory will be simply abandoned by Ukrainian government. However, this scenario is not very popular with Ukrainian citizens, Ms Zakharova says. The more likely scenario is either isolation or reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine. There are fears that the isolation scenario might be secretly favoured by the government. Ms Zakharova believes that isolation is the road to the freezing of the conflict instead of its resolution.
Among the attendees was Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine. He warned the participants against forgetting about problems faced not only by Donbas but also by other Ukrainian regions. Mr Waschuk stressed that all domestic resources should be employed to reach national reconciliation in the country.
It is noteworthy that the forum aroused great interest among the target audience and ultimately brought together representatives of Sloviansk's local authorities and civil society and representatives of various Ukrainian ministries, MPs, Ukrainian experts and opinion makers etc to discuss the ways to reach national reconciliation. This serves as another proof that there is high public demand for national dialogue and reconciliation between Donbas and the rest of Ukraine.
The Supervisory Board of the International Center for Policy Studies conducted a summing-up meeting
On December 28, the Supervisory Board of the International Center for Policy Studies conducted a summing-up meeting on finalizing this year's work and identifying strategic priorities for the future. During the welcoming remarks Victor Mashtabey, the Supervisory Board Chairman, noted the importance of holding Supervisory Board meetings in order to plan the efficient and coordinated work of the Center. Respectively, within the framework of the meeting was presented an overall ICPS report for 2017, during which 10 projects were implemented, 83 public events organized, which geographically covered 24 regions of Ukraine. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, member of the Supervisory Board Oleksandr Chalyi noted on the need for a clear position of the organization and key areas of activity, which would allow ICPS to take a decent place among the leading think tanks in Ukraine. The idea of creating a regional network for the spread of ideas as well as activities on the region level was also announced. Not of a less importance is the creation of a new fundraising strategy for the implementation of new projects. Strategic priorities are defined in the following: Strategic Priority No. 1 - Developing the institutional capacity of ICPS Enhancing Organizational Capacity Strengthening institutional sustainability External communications Strategic Priority No. 2 - Foreign Policy, Security and Peacebuilding Peaceful settlement European integration Strategic Priority No. 3 - Reforms implementation and “digitalization” of Ukraine Strategic priority №4 - Protection of human/civil rights and freedoms Strategic Priority No. 5 - Sustainable Economic Development Supervisory Board Member, Doctor of Historical Sciences Igor Zaloba suggested one of the possible vectors of the ICPS work to identify options for possible cooperation with active youth in the regions for the replication of successful cases. In its turn, Denis Prymaygi initiated a proposal to create new formats for ICPS analytical products, which would increase the number of those interested as well as potential stakeholders. Also, Supervisory Board members scheduled to hold a general ICPS meeting in April.
Concept of tolerance in the consciousness of the indigenous people of Crimea: parallels between the past and present
On December 11, 2017 at the Kherson State University was held a lecture by a well-known historian, publicist, TV presenter and UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Gulnara Abdulayeva, within the communication campaign “Reinvent respect”. According to Gulnara Abuululaeva, in its broader sense, the concept of “tolerance“ means tolerance to the thoughts and actions of others, the ability to treat them understandingly. Gulnara said that tolerance is a rare personal feature, which means respect to the convictions of others. “Historically it became so that we are united with those, who share our beliefs, or with those, who speak the same language or share the same culture. At the same time, we are inclined to treat the others as “strangers” – those, who differ from us on biological, cultural or political levels. Despite the fact that the term and concept of tolerance appeared relatively recently, in the historical context, it has deep roots”, says Gulnara Abdulayeva. The event was organized by the International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS) with the support of the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine within the framework of Communication Campaign “Reinvent respect” to promote tolerance in society.
Mariana Savka: reading-performance “I Know, You Are Different”
On December 1, 2017, in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community, famous writer and UNDP Tolerance Envoy Mariana Savka held a reading-performence, “I Know, You Are Different”, which took place in Odessa. During the event, Mariana Savka spoke about her own creative work, her publishing activity, the project “12 incredible women” and the importance of a proactive social position. The text of Mariana Savka "I Know, You Are Different" is her own attempt to communicate with those, who society characterizes as different. “These texts are of a universal value. Each of the stories is about the real person who is next to us. And I am not sure whether they can be called others. For others – we all, each of us, with its unique experience, challenges, victories and personal traumas. We do not live in the heavenly valley; it is not easy for us. So let's strive for good-neighborly relations, respect each other, and then our existence will beсome a little easier”, -said Savka. Especially for this project, a well-known artist from Riga, the master of the sand show Tetyana Gavrilenko created a video with her own sand animation. The United Nations Development Program project “Reinvent respect” aims to reduce the polarization of public opinion and strengthen dialogue among various social groups, promoting respect, tolerance and mutual understanding.
On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany
On November 16, on the occasion of the International Tolerance Day, a famous Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze held a lecture «On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany», which took place in Slavyansk in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” with the support of UN Development Program in Ukraine. According to the UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Alevtina Kakhidze, in her works through art, she tries to reveal the notion of mutual respect to each other. “In the animal world there is a concept of murder, there are also quite aggressive species in the plant world, but at the same time it is a very vivid metaphor that helps us to distinguish certain parallels both in political and social lives. It was through the botany that I spoke about the notion of tolerance in a society”, - said Kakhidze. During the lecture, the artist also drew attention to the laws of stable and unstable systems in modern physics, among which striking parallels with modern political conflicts can be found. There was also a joint work of the artist Alevtina Kakhidze with the participants of the 7th floor Theater. During the class, the children created scenery for the performance “Prince and Predator” by Mark Twain. The events are dedicated to the International Tolerance Day and are the part of the ICPS communication campaign on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community with the assistance of the UNDP in Ukraine, the Swedish Embassy and the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine.
Talks on tolerance in Lviv
A series of open lectures was held at the National University “Lvivska Polytechnica” within the framework of the “Reinvent Respect” communication campaign. The events were organized by the International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS) with the participation of authoritative leaders and UNDP Tolerance Envoys in Ukraine. During the discussion, Ukrainian writer Mariana Savka emphasized on the importance of being open to others, showing signs of tolerance. “We are all very different. Our main mission is to soften people's desire to impose their will on others, as well as open up to them. Smiling at each other every day is a good practice, because there are so many things that daily torture us. The people next to us are just the sources of our mood and a happy being”, says Savka. According to the writer Lyubok Deresh, in Ukraine, there are now many dividing lines, around which a society is split. This also applies to linguistic issues, geographic conflicts, national and religious disputes. “Within each of us there is some kind of hostility, something that we constantly carry in ourselves. All of these can turn against us. I personally feel sorry that people become hostages of this, narrowing the perception of the world. For me personally, the future is where people are ready to share their goodwill, opening to others, "- said Deresh. The United Nations Development Program communication campaign “Reinvent respect” aims to reduce the polarization of public opinion and strengthen dialogue among various social groups, promoting respect, tolerance and mutual understanding.
Culture as a war for consciousness, or how to nurture a sense of tolerance
On October 29, in the framework of the 3rd All-Ukrainian Festival “Zaporizhia Book Toloka“ was held a lecture “Culture as a War for Consciousness” during the presentation of the anniversary novel “Devastation” by the famous writer and UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Lyubko Deresh. The writer noted that human fear and anger arise, in particular, due to the lack of respect. “In Ukraine, the prevailing approach is that tolerance is understood as the need to tolerate, and not to respect others. The discussion of own thoughts, which differ from the thoughts of others, in a narrow circle of mutual respect helps to reduce the degree of tension in society”, - notes Deresh.