The second On a social contract for Ukraine seminar: working on mistakes and sustainable development as a guarantee of future peace

Aspen Institute Kyiv started the On a social contract for Ukraine project to engage in a dialogue about the future of our country. On October 19, was held the second seminar. Community members and Institute programs alumni attended the event. Leaders of state administration, business, jurisprudence, science, and media joined the dialogue.

Understanding the phenomenon of the social contract through their own leadership experience, the participants discussed the formation and development of Ukrainian society, as well as responsibility for the stable course of the state. Denys Poltavets, director of program development of the Aspen Institute Kyiv, and Andriy Kulakov, program coordinator of the program director for the Aspen Community of the Institute, moderated the event.

Powerful militarization, volunteerism, and flexibility to change: what should be the Ukrainian contract society

Some seminar participants said it is crucial that we, as a nation, reflect on what happened and how to prevent a new war in the future. In particular, in the future social contract, we should emphasize security. The basis of post-war life should be the militarization of Ukraine with mandatory military service for men and women, following the example of Switzerland and Israel.

Participants also noted that the social contract is not static or complete but rather like a living organism. Therefore, Ukrainian society should work out that type of agreement that could change in the right direction. One of the keys to the flexibility of the social contract could be a developed volunteer movement, which would help develop the country in various vectors in the future. Also, developing individual leadership on a national scale will help in the future in solving new challenges.

Who should form the social contract

A crucial component of the social contract is those who form it. First, it is important to involve as large several communities as possible, so that the contract is considered representative, inclusive, and nationwide. Secondly, it is necessary to answer the question of red lines: whether all communities will participate in the process and why. In particular, the seminar echoed the opinion belonging to the Ukrainian political nation, which is crystallizing today, will not be determined by default. Therefore, it is also crucial to define the contours of this political community.

Threats and challenges that Ukrainian society will face after victory

The participants noted that now our society is united. We are moving away from paternalism and can make our own decisions. However, there are some risks to be aware of:

Security discourse carries the risk of monopolizing power. The demand for justice and legal reform should increase in the Ukrainian society contract.
The lack of trust is one of the fundamental reasons for answering where we want to go and who we are. We need to work through the issue of trust to reach a social contract.
The issue of institutional stability. Without it, there will be no stable course for the country. In Ukraine, there is a personalized perception of the institutions. We perceive them through their leaders. Such a model should be developed, in which the change of leaders will not affect the general course of institutions.

The project “Social contract for Ukraine” is implemented with the support of NED (National Endowment for Democracy)