The delegation of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy goes to five EU countries to study the Western experience of state building and public administration. Students will begin their visit in Brussels, and then representatives of each individual academy will explore one of the countries – Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria or France. Overall, they are going to visit 25 cities. “The countries we are going to visit have come a long way before becoming successful states. And we want to learn their experience firsthand. We will spend about 10 days in these countries studying their experiences of state building, institutions, rational forms to everyday life organization – how to make people feel comfortable where they live,” said Roman Tychkivskyi, head of the NGO “Ukrainian Leadership Academy”, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The delegation consists of 250 people.
This is the second ULA’s trip to Europe. During the first visit they had over 10,000 direct contacts with people in the Netherlands. They plan to build 25,000 new contacts during this trip. “By 2030 we want to establish more than 1 million contacts in the EU through such diplomatic missions,” noted Roman Tychkivskyi.
An important part of the project is cultural diplomacy. When communicating with foreign colleagues, students are going to tell what Ukraine is now and what it dreams to be in the future. They will take books and leaflets about Ukraine. According to the expedition partners, there is not enough information about Ukraine at present – neither about the government’s work and reforms nor the country in general, so it is important and necessary. “Even 25 years after the Soviet Union foreigners – at least I can speak for Germany – cannot distinguish between the different countries that came out of the Soviet Union. It is important to promote the image of Ukraine,” said Wolfgang Bindseil, Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine. “It is a win-win situation for both countries. It is important for Ukraine to feel the information gap that exists and the expedition like one we are talking about is, I think, a beautiful example of how Ukraine can communicate about itself, and you cannot dream of better ambassadors for your country than these bright young people,” noted Luc Jacobs, Ambassador of Belgium to Ukraine. The Embassy of Belgium to Ukraine is one of the key partners of the expedition. They helped solve a number of organizational issues and organize students’ meetings with representatives of various institutions and universities.
Among the project partners is also Western NIS Enterprise Fund. “Leadership Academy is one of our first projects. We would like to help these children grow and become the country’s leaders in the future. We have faith in these young people and support them in all their active actions,” noted Jaroslawa Johnson, President and CEO of Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Chairperson of the Board at the Ukrainian Leadership Academy.
The expedition is very topical in the context of public administration reform in Ukraine, noted Olha Stefanishyna, Director at the Government Office for European Integration. “The information received by students will be invaluable to us because civil servants are not always able to involve such a wide range of institutions, cities and states. After this expedition we plan to meet the students and discuss the results and their opinions as to the problems we face and the information that is lacking so that we could accumulate a pool of such questions and respond to them,” she explained.
The expedition will result in holding discussions and analyzing the obtained experience with the participation of representatives of embassies in each academy. “We hope that we will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the government, Presidential Administration and Verkhovna Rada, to share findings and propose the plans of development of this initiative,” added Roman Tychkivskyi.
Yaroslav Yurchyshun, executive director of Transparency International Ukraine, co-chairman of the Council of the Reanimation Package of Reforms, informed that the talks on further training of UAL students have already begun in the Reanimation Reform Package and Transparency International. “The experience they will gain in Europe will be definitely implemented in Ukraine. I hope that today’s students – tomorrow’s leaders of the state – will become the agents of change that will allow us to build a systemic quadrilateral partnership between government, community, society and business,” he noted.
“Our goal is to ensure that the values around which we unite, should become everyday tools of decision making. In the conflicts that exist in Ukraine, it is precisely these values that can unite us. […] We would like Ukrainians to become stronger and bring more benefit to mankind. Now we are flabby and incomprehensible. But, in fact, we can do much more interesting and useful,” concluded Roman Tychkivskyi.