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Creating a space for dialogue amidst conflict in Ukraine

Thursday, 16. January 2014

F4F Regional Meeting in Kiev, UkraineDialogue was used  to improve understanding and  develop trust building at the Regional Meeting of Foundations for Freedom, which took place in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 6-8 December 2013.

Around 60 participants from different parts of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Romania, Germany, Poland and Latvia took part in the Regional Meeting. All of them had been participants in Foundations for Freedom (F4F) projects or initiatives. F4F is a non-governmental organization which was founded in 1993 as a programme of Initiatives of Change in Eastern Europe.

The aim of the meeting was to introduce  the participants of different F4F projects and the partnering networks, whilst providing space for experience and information exchange about the current projects of Foundations for Freedom. Projects include: Ukrainian Action: Healing the Past, a new project in the Crimea Living History of GenerationsHouse in Baranivka and projects developing ethical leadership in Ukraine. During the last day of the meeting a General Assembly took place to which all members of F4F network were invited. There was discussion about the current situation in Ukraine and the needs of the society .  

During the Regional Meeting the documentary film Beyond Forgiving was shown, which featured a story of forgiveness , following the tragic events of the South African conflict. The film was followed by a discussion of the issues raised. 

The Regional Meeting took place during the mass protest in ‘Maidan Nezalezhnosti’ (Independent Square), the main square in Kyiv, when thousands of people called for political change. Protests began on 21-22 November 2013, when Ukrainians gathered at the square following the Ukraine’s decision to suspend the signing of the agreement of association with the European Union.  During the night of 30, November, demonstrators were chased away by the special police force ‘Berkut’ which led to even more people protesting in the centre of Kyiv...  

Members of the ‘Berkut’ had been allocated  to the hotel where the discussions and sessions of Foundations for Freedom took place. Because of this, some sessions of the Regional Meeting took the form of a dialogue on the recent events in Ukraine. Participants talked about the issues in working groups and, as a result, some of them spoke to the ‘Berkut’ to find out their opinions on recent beatings of demonstrators by the special police. 

Following Regional Meetings in December 2013 and January 2014 a set of dialogues was organized by Foundations for Freedom entitled ‘Todays situation in Ukraine: searching for mutual understanding’.   

A three day meeting of the Foundations for Freedom team included conversations, activities and practical experience, proving the effectiveness of F4F activities in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership anddeveloping dialogue and understanding in society.  

View photo report from the Regional Meeting on Facebook: Day 1st>>Day 2nd>>

Liubou Pranevich