How can Ukraine attract investment and return refugees after the war, why do Russian narratives dominate in Africa and Latin America, and is the West tired of war? The Ukrainian Forbes published an interview with the President of the Ukrainian World Congress, Paul Grod.
Journalists spoke with Paul Grod during his recent visit when the UWC President participated in the Yalta European Strategy (YES) 2023 forum.
What is the Ukrainian World Congress, and what was it focused on during the war?
A third of Ukrainians live outside the country. It is important that these Ukrainians integrate, but not assimilate, in other countries, that they remain conscientious Ukrainians who will support Ukraine.
The priority of the Ukrainian World Congress is Ukraine’s victory in the war, post-war reconstruction, and a strong Ukrainian world abroad.
We unite organizations of Ukrainians in 70 countries. Our communities in these countries are working to strengthen support for Ukraine. Governments support Ukraine when civil society demands it.
What does it look like in practice?
For example, on February 24, 2023, we organized a large-scale campaign supporting Ukraine in almost 400 cities worldwide. These rallies were covered in the local media; our representatives gave interviews in the language of the country of residence, where they told the truth about the war.
Another important direction is financial support for Ukraine. Since February 24, the organizations that are part of Congress have given Ukraine USD 500 million in humanitarian aid. Separately, the Ukrainian World Congress collected USD 90 million as part of the United with Ukraine initiative to purchase equipment for the Armed Forces.
At the beginning of the war, territorial defense lacked everything: first-aid kits, body armor, helmets. Then, we concentrated on these positions. Now, we buy drones and armored vehicles. This week, we are handing over 27 British armored vehicles and trucks for disposal. We also finance the repair and modernization of this equipment. 25 such machines are already on the front line.
Another area of our work is the Energize Ukraine project. We cooperate with the Ministry of Energy, Ukrenergo, and other state and private companies. They provide us with a list of what we need, with which we go to Western energy companies and ask them to cover these needs.
The new stage of this work is the energy autonomy of Ukrainian schools and hospitals that suffered from Russian aggression. In October, we plan to complete the pilot project in Chernihiv. The solar panels and batteries we will supply should fully provide one of the largest schools in the region with energy.
With this pilot project, we will reach out to donors and energy companies to help scale the program. The cost of such modernization of one school is up to USD 75,000.
Read the full interview by the link.