Strategic Discussion Club in the Regions

05:40 PM 15-6-2015

The key objective of the project is to involve regional elites who for a long time have been in intellectual isolation to participate in the debate on strategic development of country.In the course of over 20 years of Ukraine’s independence, its Authorities have not managed to develop a long-term strategic vision of the country’s national security. Ukraine’s foreign and security policies are exposed to momentary decisions – depending on domestic political situation – and suffer from a considerable lack of continuity and stability. The sporadic attempts to encourage public dialogue on the main directions and priorities of Ukraine’s national security policies failed to create a framework for elaboration of a comprehensive plan of strategic development of Ukrainian security and defense sector.

In 2012-2013, the Institute of World Policy in the partnership with the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine under financial support of the Norwegian Embassy carried out six Strategic Discussions Clubs in Kyiv where famous Ukrainian and foreign opinion and decision makers took part. As a result of this project, IWP has prepared final report “Ukraine: Diagnostics of the National (In)Security” where major threats to Ukraine were identified and set of recommendations was proposed. Europeanization was defined as a critical tool to strengthen Ukrainian capacity to resist both domestic and external risks (majority of experts suggested domestic problems as the most dangerous for the current Ukraine).

Russian aggression against Ukraine has enhanced the need to continue meaningful public debates about threats and challenges to Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity. An issue of security became important not only for expert community and political elites but for ordinary citizens (especially those who share border with Russia). Being aware of the challenges facing Ukraine today, IWP have decided to hold regular public discussions on the strategic vision of Ukraine’s national security policy in eastern and southern regions of the country.
Open public discussions with the experts from Central and Eastern Europe will help to eliminate longstanding myths about Euro-Atlantic cooperation and European integration, thus fostering internal communication, understanding, and reconciliation between Eastern and Western, Southern and Northern regions of Ukraine.
First regional Strategic Discussion Club was held in Kharkiv on June 26, 2014. The speakers: Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine Marcin Koziel, Head of the Centre for political studies «Penta» Volodymyr Fesenko, Director of military programs of Razumkov Centre Mykola Sungurovskyi and famous Polish analyst Grzegorz Gromadzki.
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At the special workshop Grzegorz Gromadzki talked with the journalists who came from different regions about benefits and challenges of European integration, coverage of these processes in the media, and Polish experience of European integration. The event was held within the project “Wider integration: you form the future”, which aims to spread pro-European and democratic values among regional journalists of Ukraine. The project was supported by the international organization “Internews” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
On September 19, the IWP held a meeting of Strategic Discussion Club in Zaporizhzhya. The event was attended by leading Ukrainian experts, diplomats of the EU member states and journalists from all over Ukraine. Together with local experts, civic activists and journalists, they discussed the most important issues of Ukraine’s national security.
Speakers: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Ukraine Wolf Dietrich Heim, representative of the Embassy of Norway in Ukraine Sihbyorn Litland, associated expert of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives “Viitorul” (IDIS) in Chisinau Leonid Litra, and Scientific Director of the School of Political Analysis (NaUKMA) Oleksiy Haran. Lithuanian political observer Rimvydas Valatka attended the event in Zaporozhye at the invitation of the IWP.
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Before SDC meeting Rimvydas Valatka, being also an editor of the popular Lithuanian newspaper, acted as a moderator on workshop for regional journalsts. Journalists from Lutsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Lviv, Poltava, Lugansk, Khmelnytsky, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya together with Valatka discussed the opportunities and challenges of the European integration of Ukraine and coverage of these processes in the media.
Odesa became the third city to host Strategic Discussion Club on security issues. Regional opinion and decision maker got an opportunity to discuss the security challenges with Marcin Koziel, Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine, Vadim Karasev, Director of the Institute of Global Strategies, Mikhal Katsevych, political observer of «Newsweek Polska», and experts of the Institute of World Policy.

The meeting of Strategic Discussion Club “The EU, NATO…What will Ensure Ukraine’s Security?” took place in Mykolaiv on February 11. The event was attended by the Ukrainian military and foreign policy experts and diplomats of EU member states, in particular: Ambassador of France to Ukraine Alain Remy, Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy in Ukraine Martin Day, Military Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine Mindaugas Kviklis, Counsellor at Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine Richard Scarborough, Director of military programs at the Razumkov Center Mykola Sungurovskiy, Chair of the Board of the Center for strategic Studies Pavlo Zhovnirenko, journalist of the Czech daily newspaper «Lidové noviny» Kateřina Šafaříková.
After the meeting IWP invited experts and diplomats of EU member states to visit the Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University to talk with the students.

On March 11, the Strategic Discussion Club meeting in Dnipropetrovsk brought together the representatives of local government, civil activists, European diplomats, and prominent political experts. Deputy Foreign Minister of Lithuania Andrius Krivas, Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine Marcin Koziel, Head of the Norwegian Diplomatic Mission in Kyiv Jon Elvedal Fredriksen, Deputy Director of the Center for Eastern Studies Adam Eberhardt (Poland), and professor Oleksiy Haran (NaUKMA) accepted IWP’s invitation to visit the city in order to discuss with its citizen difficult security situation of Dnipropetrovsk.
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On April 16, IWP invited European diplomats and leading Ukrainian experts to Kherson to discuss security issues with regional experts, civil activists, representatives of local authorities, and journalists. The Strategic Discussion Club in Kherson was attended by Marius Yanukonis, Ambassador of Lithuania to Ukraine, Pavel Buchek, Deputy Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Ukraine, Richard Scarborough, Counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine, Oleksiy Haran, Scientific Director of the School of Political Analysis at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and Sergiy Solodkyy, Deputy Director of the Institute of World Policy.
Video of the event is available here.
The “Strategic Discussion Club in the Regions” project is supported by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway


On June 17th, IWP held the final meeting of the Strategic Discussion Club in Kyiv. To the meeting, which topic was ““Ukraine-NATO: Diagnosing the partnership”, numerous Ukrainian and European security experts have been invited.

The strategic discussion was attended by Øystein Bø, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, Jon Elvedal Fredriksen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to Ukraine, Igor Dolhov, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine on European integration issues, and Marcin Koziel, Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine, James Sherr, Associate Fellow at the Chatham House, Iulian Chifu, President of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Centre (Romania), Roman Vashchuk, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Canada in Ukraine, Bjorn-Olav Knutsen, Principal scientist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishmen, and others experts, high level officials, and diplomats.


Moreover, as a result of these SDC, IWP has presented analytical paper “Ukraine-NATO: Diagnosing the Partnership”.
To download the publication click here