“Kyiv-2011” Ukrainian Diaspora Youth Forum
September 12, 2011
“KYIV-2011” UKRAINIAN DIASPORA YOUTH FORUM
The “Kyiv 2011” Ukrainian diaspora youth Forum was held in Kyiv from August 22 to 30, 2011 – the first of its kind in the history of independent Ukraine. The Forum gathered 50 youth leaders from 30 countries. The Forum was organized by the Conference of Ukrainian Youth Organizations (CUYO)Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and the Ukrainian Civic Organization “Molodyi Narodnyi Rukh” (Young People’s Movement).
The Forum’s official opening took place on August 23 at the Kyiv Teacher’s Building during the conference “Diaspora youth – the future of the Ukrainian diaspora”. Greetings to the conference were extended by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), UWC President Eugene Czolij, former UWC President Askold Lozynskyj, UWC’s First Vice-president and President of the European Congress of Ukrainians Jaroszlava Hartyani, Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee on European Integration Borys Tarasiuk, renowned Ukrainian civic activist Bohdan Hawrylyshyn and the newly-elected Head of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council Mykhailo Ratushny. Conference participants discussed the challenges facing the Ukrainian diaspora youth which were defined as not only the preservation of Ukrainian cultural heritage and outlook for future generations, but also support for the development of ties in the diaspora, consolidation of efforts to unite the Ukrainian diaspora and support for the establishment of an independent, democratic, law‑abiding Ukrainian state. Forum participants initiated contacts with youth organizations in Ukraine requesting that Ukrainian youth from the diaspora be included in educational, cultural and academic programs and projects in Ukraine.
During the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the Ukrainian youth was taken aback by the presence of police cordons and the secret service on the streets of Kyiv. This fact, together with the ongoing political persecutions in Ukraine, evoked outrage among Forum participants that was reflected in a Forum resolution: “For diaspora youth it is very important for Ukraine to be a democratic and, most importantly, a law-abiding state. Thus, we, participants of the “Kyiv 2011” Ukrainian diaspora youth Forum voice our protest against the illegal political persecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, Yuri Lutsenko and other representatives of the opposition. We consider these actions on the part of the government as unacceptable and amoral”.
That same day the Ukrainian Civic Organization “Molodyi Narodnyi Rukh” and the association “Pokolinnya 2020” (Generation 2020) organized a concert celebrating Ukrainian Independence Day that featured performances by musical groups “Varyon”, “Vroda”, “Kamohryadeshy”, “Veremiy”, “Ukrainski Barvy”, “Sviata Vatra” leader Ruslan Trochynskiy from Estonia, readings by several young poets and a number of interesting competitions.
Over the course of the following two days, Forum participants took part in master-classes on project preparation, proposal writing, fundraising, organizational management, conducted by professional SALTO-trainer Andriy Donets. He spoke about the opportunities presented by the “Youth in action” and “European youth foundation” programs. The purpose of the trainings was to encourage cooperation among diaspora youth from different countries on projects organized by European foundations.
During the Forum, participants had the opportunity to meet prominent Ukrainian civic and political activists. They met with the Deputy Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament Mykola Tomenko, Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee on European Integration Borys Tarasiuk and the Premier of the opposition’s shadow government Serhiy Sobolev, and took a tour of Parliament. Participants met with representatives of 23 civic organizations in Ukraine who informed about their activities. In addition, Forum participants had the opportunity to travel outside of Kyiv. Forum delegates went to Kaniv, where they paid their respects to the Great Kobzar Taras Shevchenko at his Tomb and Museum, then to Chyhyryn, where they visited the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Museum and Doroshenko’s Bastion, and other historical sites. The Forum ended with an unforgettably moving concert by the Veryovka National Academic Folk Chorus.