A set of different views, experience in understanding values​​, and a joint search for ways to build a culture of integrity in Ukraine: participants of the Dimensions of Integrity seminar shared their impressions

In autumn 2021, the Aspen Institute Kyiv held the first Dimensions of Integrity seminar within the Integrity and Governance project. The participants of the event: civil servants, academics, NGOs and international organizations, the media community, and experts in preventing and combating corruption. They participated in the moderated dialogues, analyzed the concept of integrity, and looked for ways to build a culture of integrity in Ukraine.

The participants noted that it is impressive how the Aspen seminars gather together leaders from different fields. In a sincere atmosphere of moderated dialogue, leaders often show themselves from completely another angle:

I wanted to get to the Aspen seminar this year. And it happened! When I saw the list of participants, I became curious about how well we communicate. Among them were judges of the Supreme Court, Deputy Ministers, representatives of the Prosecutor General Office, NAPC, and NABU. In daily life, they do not communicate with journalists so much. On the first day, I realized that it was my stereotype. I saw open-minded and ready-to-communicate people. Thank you to Aspen for breaking my stereotypes – said Svitlana Ostapa, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of PBC, Detector Media .

It was difficult for me to imagine the circumstances under which all those people could be at the same place, discussing Kelzen, Rousseau, and Hobbes for five days: NABU, NAPC, GPU, APU, SAP, WACS, MIA, Ministry of Reintegration, Ministry of Health, NSSU representatives, journalists, educators, lawyers, and scientists. How could all these people write a poetic script for Antigone? We were all as close as school friends, and it was so unexpected – to meet in adulthood those with whom you can sincerely share your thoughts – says Inna Draganchuk, Deputy Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.

The seminars involve different leaders who may never meet in everyday life. It helps to see the problem through a broader perspective and, therefore, to consider different sides of the same issue:

Dialogues in the Aspen environment are the best way to see the issue in 3D format. After all, there were the opinions of the various professional representatives with their unique experiences. In the future, I plan to write a scientific article and talk to students about integrity, including academic integrity – said Maryana Afanasyeva, professor of constitutional law at the  National University Odesa Law Academy.

The seminar was a unique communication event in the category of integrity. The experience of professionals from various fields, in combination with well-chosen material and moderation, allowed us to comprehend virtue in modern conditions. Nowadays, integrity became a central tool for reforming areas where the legitimacy of decision-making is based, in particular, on the characteristics of the employee’s personality. It is necessary to develop the study of integrity as a multifaceted phenomenon to concretize it and the procedures for its application of due certainty – said Dmytro Mykhaylenko, Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court.

In addition, the Aspen dialogue creates special conditions that deepen self-awareness. Together, looking for the ways to build a culture of virtue in Ukraine, the participants also tried better understand their values:

In his autobiography, Golda Meir says: “The disadvantage of any official position is that a person loses a measure of things.” The Dimensions of Integrity seminar gave an opportunity to feel this measure, better understand their values, and see how they can guide decisions. The dialogue on integrity helped to adjust both the internal and external eye – says Lyudmyla Daragan, State Secretary at the Ministry for Veterans Affairs of Ukraine.

It is crucial to exhale sometimes and turn off the “do-just-now-think-later” mode. When you can immerse yourself in discussing worldviews, meet in live communication with interesting people with whom you will further develop joint projects, update your worldview. and understand one’s place in this world. All this is about the Aspen seminar – says Serhii Gorbachov, educational ombudsman.


New acquaintances at seminars, as well as the interaction of different leaders, bring not only a theoretical search but also further practical application of the results of the discussion:

The Aspen seminar is not about training with lectures. It’s about finding new meanings and sharing experiences and new professional acquaintances. Based on the results of the discussions at the seminar, I plan to prepare a strategy for spreading a culture of integrity in government through the Commissioners for Prevention and Detection of Corruption, as well as leaders of both public and private sectors – said Serhiy Derkach, head of NACP.

Of course, we did not find a miraculous recipe for solving all issues of virtue. But we looked at them from different angles, from different points of view and roles. The discussion on the topic of integrity, which takes place between leaders from various fields, provides an opportunity to implement and disseminate the practice of good governance in all spheres of society. I believe that such dialogue starts irreversible processes of good governance – said Oleksandr Danyliuk, a senior resident of the operational liaison department of the medical company of the 128th Transcarpathian Mountain Infantry Brigade and head of the expert group on emergency development of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

The Integrity and Governance project is implemented by the Aspen Institute Kyiv with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy.