The Democracy Study Centre was founded by financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany. The EU wants to develop a great potential of young people from Ukraine, Eastern Partnership and Russia.
The Democracy Study Centre helps to understand the democratic values and spreads the knowledge among the young people.
The best of the best were invited to participate in the project. Young, active people which knowledge of different foreign languages, with great experience, and with great motivation were recruited to participate in the pilot project. They want to transform Ukraine, they want to develop their country and to make positive changes. They receive financial support and study with the best professors – economists, political scientists, journalists, sociologists and leaders of international NGOs.
The very first opening meeting of the Democracy Study Centre Project launched by the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre (EUYPC) took place on October 29th-31th, 2016. The “Our Kids” Centre in Kyiv, which will be the venue for the project, hosted 29 selected fellows from Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to participate in an 8-month project that aims to encourage a dialogue between young Eastern European academics, activists and journalists. The goal of the DSC is to contribute to democratic, economic and societal development in Ukraine by projects developed by the fellows in the context of their DSC participation. An exciting and interesting 3-days programme was prepared by the EUYPC team. On Saturday fellows had a welcoming presentation, followed by the reception. All fellows were separated according to their knowledge, expertise and interest in 5 working groups: political, economic, history, NGO and e-learning. On Sunday fellows got to know each other closer on a special DSC teambuilding prepared by Anna Lenchovskaya. Later that day the participants had to work in their groups and prepare presentations of their projects for the next day.
Monday, 31 October 2016, was an official opening day. On behalf of the German-Polish-Ukrainian Society in Ukraine and the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre, the Democracy Study Centre was formally launched. The day started with a welcoming speech by Barbara Monheim, a Chairwoman of the German-Polish-Ukrainian Society. Frau Monheim congratulated the fellows with the start of a project and said that she would expect from them some great and inspiring projects that would allow DSC to live and prosper. After that, “The EU’s Transformative Power in Times of Crisis: Lessons from Enlargement” panel discussion on the occasion of the opening of the Democracy Study Centre in Kyiv started. The moderator Daniela Schwarzer opened the discussion. The first panelist, Marek Belka, a Polish professor of Economics, former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland, former Director of the International Monetary Fund’s European Department and former Head of National Bank of Poland, gave an exceptional lecture, where he talked about the European Union values, EU integration and Poland’s transformation. Marek Belka is also a Chancellor/Rector of the DSC.
Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine for the European integration Mykola Movchan talked about priorities of cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine. According to Mr. Movchan, youth exchanges are crucial to this process, because such exchanges lead to a change of mentality among young generation.
Ivan Vejvoda, a Serbian political scientist and diplomat, Senior Vice President of the German Marshall Fund, talked about the Western Balkan countries experience. In his opinion, institutions should be the key to transformation. He encouraged Ukrainians to keep faith in the reform process. Mr. Vejvoda also talked about the importance of a civil society.
Next panelist was Ivan Mikloš, a Slovak politician, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Slovak Republic, member of the National Reform Council of Ukraine. Mr. Mikloš also talked about the reforms and mentioned that Ukraine has to learn from the Balkan countries. He said that Ukraine has a huge potential and that the system is finally changing for the first time after the Euromaidan.
Daniela Schwarzer then gave the floor to the audience, who had many different and interesting questions to the panelists. Quite a fruitful discussion began on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, salami tactics, free market economy, judiciary reforms and more.
Several media (TV Channel Espresso TV) were presented at the grand opening.