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On October 20-21, the Democracy Study Centre (DSC) – a project founded by the German-Polish-Ukrainian Society (GPUS) and implemented in cooperation with the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre with the generous support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, successfully organised Forum “Pulse of Ukraine.” The Forum brought together almost 200 young participants from Kyiv and other cities from all over Ukraine and more than 20 speakers from more than 11 countries. The programme of the Forum was very intense. A fascinating series of 6 discussions took place on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, October 20, the first panel discussion on Cyberspace security, propaganda and fake news focused on the concept of hybrid warfare. The second session was about building the economy and building the Mittelstand. The panel’s participants talked about how to get a really stable and sustainable economic growth in a country that is still going through the enormous upheaval of overcoming its past of communist history. The third discussion focused on how Western Europe and Eastern  Europe complement each other and can inspire each other to overcome the challenges to liberal democracy that we are seeing today. It discussed Ukraine’s crucial role in the region in the revival of Eastern Europe. The fourth and the last panel discussion on Saturday was about advancing democracy itself and the rise of populist nationalism is a challenge to liberal democracy and why democracy itself is a very complicated concept.

In his opening speech, the former Prime Minister of Poland and Founding Rector of the Democracy Study Centre, Marek Belka addressed the participants of the Forum: “In 15-20 years you [Ukrainians] can change things dramatically for the better. There are many prerequisites how to change it but I think that the main is to have the sense of purpose and sense of direction.” He extended his main message to the Ukrainian youth by saying that currently there are many “assaults on liberal values, they can be tempting, especially when the life seems to be difficult, but in the longer term it will work against you.”

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko in his speech noted: “It is very important to take the responsibility. The responsibility for your house, for your yard, for your street, for your village and for your city. It is important to take the responsibility for the whole Ukraine because we are living in this country.” He wished our young participants to have a productive and interesting Forum: “It is important to believe in yourself, in your strength, in your country, and to work hard. I want to wish you fruitful discussions during the forum. And I am sure that the future of our country depends not on those who sit and discuss in social networks what and how to do better, but on those who take the responsibility and work hard.”

Left to right: Marek Belka, Former Prime Minister of Poland, Founding Rector of the Democracy Study Centre, Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv and head of the Kyiv City State Administration, and Barbara-Maria Monheim, Founder and Chairwoman of the German-Polish-Ukrainian Society.

More photos here