For the further development of Europe and European civic rights, we are highly dependent on the functioning of Europe's hallmark: democracy. In a democracy we are always stronger together than alone. Exchanging our opinions and understanding each other is the only way to continue the social process, the EU has so successfully started after the end of World War II. This makes pan-European dialogue crucial. Sharing and promoting European values in every part of the continent brings citizens from different countries and cultures closer to one another. Separated individuals become a strong European society.
Europe needs new and fresh ideas. Ideas that reflect the perspective and the diversity of Europe’s citizens, especially in times like these.
In 2021 Ukrainian Vibes – European Public Sphere took place the first time. In seven webinars, people from all over the world, but mainly from Ukraine, discussed civil participation regarding democracy and sustainability in Europe and Ukraine. Now, the next Ukrainian Vibes tour starts and is ready to open a space for dialogue between citizens to discuss, elaborate and share thoughts on issues regarding Ukraine and Europe.
The war in Ukraine has changed the setting of the project drastically. While we were talking about European Integration and principles of direct democracy in the country just some month ago, we now face a situation in which the dialogue has shifted to a fundamental discussion on citizen participation during war.
Against all odds, four new volunteers from the ASA-programme form the team who will execute the project over the next six month. In addition to Anna Proskurina and Olha Mordiuk joining from Kyiv, Ukraine, Nele König and Katharina Julia Bews from Germany join this year’s Ukrainian Vibes team. All four team members are students in different academic fields, such as sociology, applied mathematics, physics and environmental sciences. What brings them together is the urge to connect their expertise to a practical level, connecting civil society with issues close to their hearts, always with Europe in the back of their minds. Living and working together in Cologne, Germany, the team starts to develop a concrete concept for the tour.
One thing is certain: this year’s Ukrainian Vibes tour will be in person, as well as online. The team plans to travel to Ukrainian communities in Europe and set up the wooden dome right there. The topics which will be discussed vary between human rights, democracy, Ukrainian history in context of the current situation as well environmental aspects which can be linked to civil participation. After physically touring with the wooden dome, the team will organise an open online conference with experts, where the collected input will be discussed. The overall goal of the tour is to collect ideas, thoughts and concrete solution approaches to problems of the respective topics and record them in a catalogue of ideas.
The team is highly motivated to start planning the tour. “I decided to do something and not just sit in front of my computer and read about injustices or the cohesion of society but to really do something” states Nele König, telling us about her motivation to join the project. Olha Mordiuk, shares her passion for the project by saying: “I am eager to create a safe space for people to share their thoughts on our topics in a context of war”. As an omnipresent subject, the war in Ukraine shapes the expectation of the tour. “Now with the ongoing war, it is all the more important to have this kind of exchange and give the possibility to understand and ask. I’m therefore looking forward to bring our different backgrounds together in order to discuss in an inviting atmosphere” states Katharina Julia Bews and refers to the open space which is created by the European Public Sphere. Here people who want to throw something into the scale pan for Europe come together. A space emerges where everyone’s ideas are valued and welcomed.
Together with our partner organisations Change Communication and the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, and with support/funds from Engagement Global and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) the Ukrainian Vibes – European Public Sphere tour sets sails for a summer full of open dialogues on the future of Europe.
Find more about the Ukrainian Vibes – European Public Sphere project here.