On January 26-27, the VII Global Ukrainians Forum was held in New York. For the first time the meeting of Ukrainian expats that promote Ukraine’s interests in the world was held in the United States. The organizers of the event were Global Ukraine and Razom.
The key focus of the forum was “people’s” (or public) diplomacy. After all, cultural, educational, business and veteran branches of diplomacy are the priority areas of activity for both Razom and Global Ukraine.
Numerous participants came to the Civic Hall to listen to panel discussions and take part in the creative workshops. The attendees came from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington states, Washington, D.C., Canada, France, Poland and Ukraine. One single thing that connected all of the forum participants was active passion toward unleashing the potential of Ukraine and the Ukrainians.
The first topic of the discussion was the development of Ukrainian cultural diplomacy and cooperation of the network of “national diplomacy” Global Ukrainians with state institutions. The founder of Global Ukraine network and the discussion moderator Violeta Moskalu shared her strong belief in the importance of collaboration and communication between Ukrainians living abroad in order to reach the common goal of helping Ukraine.
Further, the creative workshop on the topic of education “How to increase the number of international educational projects for Ukrainians” brought together the initiators of educational projects Nazar Lyubchenko (Razom Ticket), Mykhailo Lemesh (Ukraine Global Scholars), Yuriy Sergeyev (Ambassador of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Representative to the United Nations (2008-2016)), and Timofei Milovanov (honorary President of the Kyiv School of Economics). The participants managed not only to discuss important initiatives and challenges, but also to develop new educational ideas that can be implemented both in Ukraine, and abroad.
The forum provided an opportunity to also discuss global initiatives and joint projects of business diplomacy. Participation in this panel was moderated by Lyuba Shipovich, Vice-President of Razom, and the main speakers were Natalia Brandafi, COO of Meest-America, Inc., and Ivanna Lotoshinska, Chairman of the Association of Businessmen and Professional Ukrainians in America. Then, the forum participants had a unique opportunity to hear moving stories of how veterans fight to bring victory closer day after day. The stories were told by Andriana Susak, strike-fighter, Maria Berlinska, film director of the documentary Invisible Battalion, founder and manager of the Center for Support of Aerial Exploration, and Natalia Voronkova, former adviser to Ukraine defense minister, founder of the Volonterska Sotnya (Volunteer’s Hundred).
Understanding the challenges facing Ukraine in 2019, the forum also discussed how to mobilize the Global Ukrainians network and Ukrainian migrants to participate in the elections, and created a tentative plan of action on how global Ukrainians can help civil activists in Ukraine. For instance, one of the topics at the VII Global Ukrainians Forum was the importance of providing support and protection to Ukrainian activists. Antonina Kumka, president of Canadian-Ukrainian organization Kohorta, talked about numerous attacks on public activists in Ukraine and called for action to learn more and support and join initiatives that have already been created for public disclosure about the attacks: ЗахисТИ – мережа колективної безпеки and Хто замовив Катю Гандзюк?
In the end, we, the Ukrainians around the world, are looking forward to more cooperation, collaboration and joint effort. And we invite you to be a part of this action.
By Iryna Solomko