Ukrainian leaders met to develop a common understanding of national identity

Aspen Institute Kyiv created and continues to develop a platform to discuss the past, present, and future of Ukrainian national identity. On September 4th, Ukraine’s political and civic leaders, as well as public intellectuals and business owners met for the 5th seminar in the “Rethinking Ukrainian identity” series.

At the beginning of the seminar, the Executive director of Aspen Institute Kyiv Yuliya Tychkivska stressed that the goal of the Institute is to help Ukrainian leaders develop mutual understanding. It can only be achieved through an open and unbiased dialogue.

Despite having varying views on national identity, the participants had an opportunity to openly discuss them. The goal – not to convince each other, but to try to understand the other side. 

The discussion spanned across several sub-topics:

  • Ukraine’s golden age – is it in Ukraine’s past or it still lies ahead for the country.
  • Ukrainian heroes.
  • Multiple facets of identity – personal, local, and national.
  • Identity through the prism of security, especially considering Ukraine’s geographical location.
  • Ukraine’s place among other nations and perspectives in the globalized world.

Roman Kobets, Ph.D. of Hryhorii Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, and Andrii Kulakov, Program Director for NGO Internews-Ukraine, as well as Community Program Director at Aspen Institute Kyiv.

Olena Fomina, the director of the program “National identity”, underlines the importance of further dialogue about the past, present, and future of Ukraine:

“Dialogue is impossible without the willingness of each side to understand the other one. “Rethinking national identity” seminars show that there is such a willingness on both sides, and we only need to create a space for conversation. We are convinced that the ideas discussed during the seminar will transform into actions. They will become the cornerstone of national policies, as well as a common vision for Ukraine’s development”.

“Rethinking national identity” project was initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Informational Policy of Ukraine and is financially supported by the European Union.