Kyiv Workshop: Your Europe, Your Thought, Your Identity (Sep 9, 2017)
Working Group on Integration, Mobility and Fighting Stereotypes
‘United in Diversity’ is a famous motto of the European Union. So we were in our working group: Nick, Demyan, Olga, Yaryna, Anna, Alex and Olga – seven people coming from the different regions of Ukraine, with different backgrounds and current occupations: students, recent graduates, volunteers and young professionals. One of the many things that actually united us, natives of east, north, south, and west of Ukraine, was as simple as love to our homeland and the common aim to invest our efforts and skills in creating country’s better future.
During the workshop called “Your Europe, Your Thought, Your Identity” organized by FutureLab Europe, our team addressed such issues as integration, mobility and stereotypes in two contexts both internal (within Ukraine) and external (towards the EU).
Having brainstormed the major problems arising in Ukraine, we all came to a conclusion that proper integration of Ukraine in the political and economic club of the European countries is impossible without the united Ukrainian society.
Our country is greatly diverse in many terms. Speaking about just one of the aspects, the nationalities: we have Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Jews, Crimean Tatars, Azov Greeks – and it’s not even the whole list of those living here. In order to get the best out of this rich variety of nations within the borders of the Ukrainian state, the proper and efficient intercultural and interregional dialogue should be established and maintained. We should know, respect, understand and be tolerant to each other.
The team decided to solve the issue of absent dialogue within the society by bringing the idea known as “The Human Library” to the more widespread use in Ukraine. This initiative helps each member of society to get to know more about the other person’s problems, to create a direct conversation between different social groups and in this way fight existing prejudices and stereotypes.
We thought that the optimal base for such events will be usual public schools. As the primary idea, we would choose one key-school to host the guests from all over the region. The audience will be not limited only to the school pupils, everybody would be welcomed to join the dialogue. The mechanism would allow organizing several events within a year in the different regions of Ukraine with the one main annual event to be held in Kyiv, the capital of the country.
To illustrate the idea during the presentation of our team-work, we offered the other workshop participants, other working groups to read two human books of an IDP – internally displaced person and the representative of the LGBT community. The audience asked questions they always want to ask about the life of the ‘human books’, as by posing questions they actually read the life-stories of those in front of them thus embracing different views and seeing the world through other people’s eyes.
Coming to the end of this short review, on behalf of the team and all the participants, I would like to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ for the brilliant work and great support to the organizers team: Alex, Milja and Liliana, with a special gratitude to Guia, organizer and the coordinator of our working group on integration, mobility and fighting stereotypes.
International Public Administration Postgraduate Scholar
Participant of the Yourthought.eu workshop in Kyiv