Justice, reforms and minimizing state influence: the second online seminar by Aspen Institute Kyiv “(Re)thinking the Social Contract for Ukraine”

Aspen Institute Kyiv continues to implement a project dedicated to the social contract for Ukraine. On March 24-25, Institute held the second online seminar “(Re)thinking the Social Contract for Ukraine.” Leaders from various spheres, including journalism, government, business, law, politics, judiciary, and medicine, participated in the dialogue.

During the seminar, participants had a discussion based on texts by leading Ukrainian thinkers (Serhiy Prolieiev, Viktoriya Shamray, Olesya Ostrovska-Lyuta, Oleh Khoma, Volodymyr Yermolenko, Vakhtang Kebuladze, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Pavlo Sheremeta, Serhiy Korsunskyy, Vsevolod Rechytskyy), that were explicitly written for the project by Aspen Institute Kyiv. You can find a collection of essays via this link.

Denys Poltavets, director of Aspen Institute’s Kyiv program development, and Andriy Kulakov, program coordinator of the Aspen Institute’s Kyiv program for Community, moderated the dialogue. 

The first steps – reforms and changing of national consciousness 

Participants exchanged thoughts on crucial changes in Ukraine’s social contract that would help move the country forward. From the discussion, it became clear that our internal subjectivity and Ukraine’s appropriate positioning on the international stage should be among the basis of the social contract.

During the dialogue, it was noted that culture is a decisive factor of unity, appealing directly to values. In particular, there was a discussion on the importance of education and the need to compete in intellectual projects.

Some participants advocated for minimizing state influence in shaping the social contract, seeing it as a possible way of developing the country. In this context, participants discussed the prospects of deregulation.

Security, justice, and personal development: how these ideas should be embodied in the modern social contract for Ukraine

Many participants agreed that the state’s top priority should be ensuring security, which is crucial for society. Only after that it is needed to promote other areas of development.

Participants also raised the issue of personal development. The state needs to create maximum opportunities for citizens’ self-realization. Educational activities for every citizen will contribute to the country’s overall development.

In addition, participants concluded that Ukrainian society would demand justice. They also highlighted the need to take responsibility for events in the country.

Honesty and transparency: how to ensure lasting trust between the state and civil society in the future

Honest communication should be part of the government’s work. Participants believe that citizens should have access to objective information to track societal trends.

Regarding Ukraine’s future development, participants expressed that work should be done to ensure the integrity of civil servants (including through relevant reforms). They also stressed distinguishing between “politician” and “official.”

During the seminar, there was a meeting with Vadym Denysenko, Ukrainian Institute for the Future Executive director, who is also working on a social contract. Vadym shared his vision of the social contract in Ukraine and its provisions with the participants. They also discussed with Mr. Denysenko what society should do to correct mistakes made in the previous social contract and how to avoid them.

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