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25.01.2010: Responsible leadership in Ukraine: start with yourself!
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in Kyiv, Ukraine

The final conference 'Responsible leadership in Ukraine: start with yourself!' took place in Kyiv on 19 December 2009. It was a concluding part of the project 'Development of responsible democratic leadership in Ukraine' run from March till December 2009 by an International NGO 'Foundations for Freedom' and its old partnering organisation Center for Political Education. The project was supported by the Democracy Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

The aim of the conference was to bring together the participants of 4 courses on Ethical Leadership for civil activists and representatives of youth organisations from all regions of Ukraine, as well as to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the main project topic.

There were totally 34 participants, with 29 of those who took part in courses in the Crimea, Lviv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv.

The process has started with warm emotional greetings, sharing memories and stories from after-the-course life of those who took part in same seminars, and warm getting-to-knows with new people from other seminars. The friendly atmosphere that appeared immediately was transmitted to the semi-official introductions in the hall, followed by interviews with three invited speakers.

Olena Kruglova – a graduate and coordinator of Crimean initiative 'Club for Young Leaders', and one of the leaders of 'School of New Leadership – Step' has shared her understanding and vision of leadership paying special attention to the point that a true ethical leader should be a real example and be ready to act first so that others can follow. She also spoke about social and ecological projects, where issues of making ethical decisions based on human values came up.

Second speaker Svitlana Garashchenko is an ex-member of the Council of Youth NGO 'Foundation of Regional Initiatives' in Kirovohrad region, a coordinator of the project 'School of young politicians', an expert on the issues of youth leadership, development of NGOs and gender issues. She spoke about her experience in upbringing and educating young politicians, which is focused mainly on the development of professional qualities and 'love for power', and compared prosand cons of such approach. She also shared her personal realisation that when some principles still remain with the old generation of our politicians, among the new young generation, striving towards big politics either directly or through NGOs, a widely spread lack of moral values can be observed. Svitlana has also expressed her hope for further cooperation with CPE and F4F in the area of professional education for young politicians, where moral education is its integral part.

Kostiantyn Ploskyy is a founder of the Center for Political Education and its head in 2000-2007, an initiator and coordinator of a series of conferences 'Service, Responsibility and Leadership' (SRL) in Caux, Switzerland between 2002 and 2007 in the Conference Centre of the International NGO 'Initiatives of Change', and currently the head consultant of the Main Department on issues of education, science and innovations in the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine. Kostiantyn has given some statistics about the development of Ukraine, introduced his understanding on democracy and the role of morals in the processes of leading a state. He has also shared his personal experience and problems that can occur while making ethical decisions that one meets nearly every day. The main point of his speech was the necessity to define what is really important in the life of each individual and the state, and to be 'open for life' in the questions of right decision-making and lessons that one can learn from the situations we face.

After a very 'communicative' lunch-break, all participants went on to discuss the topics they were interested in 'Open Space' format. Here are just a few themes that were raised in the group:

  • development of social responsibility among youth;
  • construction of 'Foundations for Freedom' centre/house in Poltava region;
  • the role of Euro 2012 in Ukraine, and many others.

In the closing ceremony of the conference all participants got together in a warm circle and had an opportunity to share their discoveries and impressions. Quite a few expressed comments about guest-speakers, whose speeches have striked and touched with sincerity, depth and practical approach. All participants have shared opinion about friendly and open atmosphere during the conference and joy of meeting each other. Below are a few examples of what was said:

'That seminar has changed my life. Atmosphere that surrounds us here is invisible, but influences each one'.

'I was touched, surprised and inspired by the atmosphere both of the seminar and here'.

'Only one day passed by, and I have already started thinking in Ukrainian. I want to cooperate and to think together'.

'There are people from different parts of Ukraine here. I am surprised that we have so much in common, and it inspires'.

'There was no strict frame-work, structured form. And that was the speciality of it. Each one could express oneself without any uneasiness. Others could see and accept that there are people, who think according to different measurements'.

'Just by behaving in a certain way, you are already creating a model or a template. You may not realize, but you are looked at. Some just see you and take what they like. Others would join'.

'The atmosphere of this conference is something very different from what I face each day in my life. Openness and warmth are the things that need to be taken care of and kept safe inside oneself'.

'I was surprised here, and it has also became a proof that for the short period of time people from different parts of Ukraine managed to work together as one organism. Thank you for inspiration'.

'I was touched by speeches. It is important when people of high ranks can share something that is precious for them, and are not shy about it'.

'I even felt some sort of discomfort, when one of the guests was speaking with such inspiration about his beliefs, about the God. I understood, that the way I lead my life is not the only way'.

'A man can open up in his readiness to help in small things, to make his contribution'.

'You see a new person, discover something new in him and wonder that each one is so amazing'.

'Once again I convinced myself that I need to stick to my moral values'.

'What inspired me the most is the fact here you can receive something special from each individual'.

'I would be searching for a balance between global and something specific, meaning not only doing something big for the state, but more often to help a specific real person'.

'Think globally, act locally'.

'I see a necessity to think and to care about a specific person'.

'It's a pleasure to experience that people from different regions can communicate not only about politics'.

The conference has finished after it got dark outside, however, the communication and planning of possible cooperation projects didn’t stop. The participants who got to know each other well took off to continue the banquet beyond officially organised programme.

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