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Successful execution of the PAIC study tour to Kyiv from 26 November to 1 December 2017

The study tour to Kyiv between 26 November and 1 December was an academic event organized by the Institute for European Politics within the framework of the project “Platform for Analytics and Inter­cul­tural Commu­ni­cation” (PAIC). The tour culmi­nated in the partic­i­pation in this year’s think tank conference in Kyiv.

The objective was to enable young researchers who are affil­iated with univer­sities and insti­tutes to meet with repre­sen­ta­tives of Ukrainian think tanks to gain a compre­hensive insight into their work. The meeting further aimed to identify cooper­ation possi­bil­ities between German researchers and Ukrainian think tanks. Therefore, a wide range of topics was covered in the area of domestic and foreign policies, energy, education and the issue of migration, the majority of which dealt with those topics that are essential to the under­standing of the current situation of the Ukrainian state and reform processes within the society as a whole.

The annex­ation of Crimea and the military conflict in Donbas were the most frequent issues which gained particular attention both within Ukraine as well as abroad. Mustafa Dschemiljew, former deputy chairman of the national assembly of Crimean Tatars spoke to the partic­i­pants of the study trip about the current situation of the Tatars after the annex­ation in 2014. Further insights into the topic were provided by Vyach­eslav Likhachev, coordi­nator at the Ukrainian NGO Vostok SOS and researcher at the National Minority Rights Monitoring Group, whose organi­zation documents human rights abuses on Crimea and in the East of Ukraine.

The military conflict in Donbass and the academic approaches to conflict solution were discussed by Iryna Bekeshkina from Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation and Oleksij Haran who is a professor of politics at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

Other focal subjects included topics which are in focus of active reform efforts in Ukraine. Svitlana Kononchuk from the think tank Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research shared her assessment about the upcoming parlia­mentary elections in 2019 and whether open party lists and trans­parent financing will have an influence on the expected outcome. Anton Antonenko and Denys Nazarenko from think tank DiXi Group spoke about achieve­ments and challenges in the imple­men­tation of the planned energy reforms especially in regard to trans­parency and regulatory commis­sions. Envisaged adjust­ments in the education sector and their conse­quences were covered by Igor Samokhin and Oleksandra Slobodian from CEDOS, a think tank focusing on education, migration and urban devel­opment. Kateryna Kulchytska from Europe without Barriers informed on the process of visa free travel between the European Union and Ukraine under the associ­ation agreement and how this may help to support the reform processes.

In the field of foreign policy a focus was set to inter­na­tional relations which were repre­sented in the cooper­ation between Ukraine and Germany. Serhiy Solodkyy from renowned think tank New Europe Center spoke about the role of Germany in Ukraine before the partic­i­pants accepted an invitation to the German embassy where Florian Pötter exemplified the manifold German-Ukrainian relations.

The political part of the study trip was rounded off by a session about the impor­tance of infographics for a visual presen­tation of academic output and effective commu­ni­cation with stake­holders. Roman Kulchynskyy and Pavlo Myronov from conducted this unit.

On the last day, the partic­i­pants were given the oppor­tunity to attend this year’s think tank conference in Kyiv which was organized and conducted by the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foundation in cooper­ation with the Institute for European Politics. Main topics of the first day focused less on thematic contents, instead, it addressed changes and perspec­tives of the think tank environment in Ukraine and how these organi­za­tions could deal with the impacts of digital­ization, financing and recruitment diffi­culties and which challenges are to be expected in the following year.

The study trip took place within the framework of the project “Platform for Analytics and Inter­cul­tural Commu­ni­cation” (PAIC) which is conducted by the Institute for European Politics (IEP, Berlin), in cooper­ation with the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foundation (IRF, Kiev), the der Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation (DIF, Kiev) and the think tank initiative „think  twice UA“ (Kiev), supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany in 2017–2018.