Director of the Ukrainian World Congress Mission (UWC) to Ukraine,
Alumnus of 1st and 4th enrollments of the School for Strategy Architects
I was born, raised and studied in Ukraine but eventually I ended up in Canada and spent many years there. Canada taught me to live in the civil society. Living there, you have to preserve your identity, your faith and your language. Meanwhile it goes without saying here, people abroad must make every effort not to lose themselves as Ukrainians. Many diaspora members have such a desire, and it’s a major impetus for action.
Canada is one of the main centers of the diaspora, where it is well-structured, organised and where everyone can find their place. It is no wonder that there are many organisations in Canada. The Ukrainian World Congress is a superstructure. In fact, the UWC was founded more than 50 years ago and its main task was to bring together different diasporas in different countries to represent and protect the interests of Ukrainians around the globe. Each organisation worked in its own country but when we wanted to make a joint appeal, for example, to national governments or international organisations, we needed to speak with one voice so that we were heard and respected.
When the war started, we felt a crucial need for deeper cooperation with Ukraine.
Then the Congress approved a decision to form a mission to Ukraine and I was elected as its director. I did not really hope that I would be in Ukraine again, but I was forced to go here urgently. I was going to stay for a year, but the war has been going on, the problems have not been solved, so I am still here. And I feel how important and right that step was.
It is normal that every country helps its diaspora, but here we have worked in reverse regime, that is, the diaspora has started to help the country because we’ve had resources and opportunities. When I arrived, the main task was to figure out what the needs were and what our efforts should be focused on. We immediately started to cooperate actively with the Government, the Parliament, the President, and we still have these relations ongoing.
There is no time to overthink in tough environment as efficient decisions must be made. There are so many things, the whole world is in front of you, and you have 24 hours only. And that was one of the questions on my mind when I applied to the School for Strategy Architects. I have completed this programme twice. It is easy to get lost in the whole array of problems, and you have to work through this experience, work through the tasks to come up with a clear structure and understanding of what you should do now and further on. This is a very lively process of rethinking. We continue to work closely with the School.
Of course, political and military support for the country has been crucial to us. We needed a voice at the international level, where Russia was spreading its informational influence. It was necessary to tell the truth. We met, invited politicians and influential people for them to hear and see. Afterwards, the national governments joined the process. This is the hardest mechanism. These are more complicated decisions of larger scale.
We need to define very clearly the framework where we can be useful. We have to choose the key global points that move the country forward and focus our efforts on these points. For example, we opened the Ukrainian House through the joint efforts at the World Economic Forum in Davos which is attended by the world’s most influential people. We have our own place where we can represent our country. And we can enter new markets. The President said in his inaugural speech: "It is 65 million of us." We have been talking about this thesis for several years now. It has been heard finally.
It is good that there is an opportunity to accumulate Ukrainian forces, when everyone is at their level, when we can unite for the benefit of the country, especially at such a historic moment of evolvement.
That’s what we can multiplicate. We can guide the efforts of different people from different countries into one direction.
Ex-Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine