After the events of the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine made a decisive historic choice in its shift towards democracy, notwithstanding current threats to security and sovereignty from Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. Due to these circumstances, Ukraine is on the frontline of democracy between Russia and the West. In 2019, Ukrainians are facing major decisions in their country’s democratic development with the presidential and parliamentary elections. During the 2019 Presidential elections Ukrainians elected Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former actor with no political background, with 73% of the vote. The more important Parliamentary elections are yet to come in the fall, and the resulting coalition will shape the future government.
In light of the elections the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program at the Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law has gathered DC-based policy makers, high-level Ukrainian state officials and parliamentarians to discuss lessons that should be learned from the presidential elections, and what can we take away looking toward the October 2019 parliamentary elections.
The Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program at the Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law has organized a conference on these political developments to discuss pertinent policy issues that will affect Ukraine’s future. This conference reflects how UELP fellows are creating an important place for conversation on global development and Ukraine at Stanford University by raising key questions about the country’s future direction. They are also providing knowledge to their own community by connecting stakeholders in Ukraine to resources at Stanford and Silicon Valley.
Agenda can be viewed here.
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Panels will include the following:
9:15-10:45 Reforms in Ukraine
Since the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine has been scrutinized for its record on implementing reforms. However, in the past five years there have been many more success stories than in the history of Ukrainian independence prior to 2014. This panel will explore some of the most successful reforms in post-Maidan Ukraine, such as steps taken to improve the health care system, economics, and anti-corruption efforts. Please join the discussion on Reforms Panel Moderated by former Ambassador Steven Pifer with the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Oleksandra Saenko, Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine Dr. Ulana Suprun, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament Mustafa Nayem and the Ukrainian Emerging Leader Fellows at Stanford – Natalia Mykolska, former Trade Representative of Ukraine and Oleksandra Ustinova, former Board Member of the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Ukraine.
11:00-12:30 Church and Identity
On January 5, 2019 the tomos of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was signed, thus granting independence for the Ukrainian church, after centuries of subjugation to Russia. This was a historic move for Ukraine on many levels, from its cultural significance to its role in fighting Russian propaganda as the churches under the Moscow Patriarchate were massively used for propaganda Since then, at least 340 parishes that were formerly under the Moscow Patriarchate have joined with the newly independent church. The creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a watershed moment in the global understanding of Ukrainian identity.
12:30-2:00 Luncheon: New Faces in Ukrainian Politics
In light of the upcoming 2019 parliamentary elections you will have the opportunity to meet representatives from major political parties and movements who are considered up and coming reformers in Ukraine. The goal is to engage parliamentarians and others in a discussion about the future of Ukrainian political development. Stanford will bring together reform-minded stakeholders from prominent political parties that will be contending in the October 2019 parliamentary elections so that a multitude of opinions can be voiced and debated.
2:15-3:45 Security and Foreign Policy
One of the largest challenges Ukraine’s next president will face is the security of the country against Russian aggression. The 2018 Kerch Strait incident not only demonstrated the relentlessness of Russia’s continued incursions on Ukrainian sovereignty, but raised questions as to how Ukraine and the West should act in light of such attacks. Whoever wins the spring 2019 presidential elections will face important strategic decisions in the war effort and cooperation with international allies.
4:00-5:30 Tech & Innovation: Shaping Ukrainian Future
IT industry is a growth engine of Ukraine’s economy. Ukraine IT outsourcing industry is a globally recognized leader. Tech ventures working with enterprise software, ML / AI, cyber security, life-science, big data management, gaming, agribusiness and e-commerce. Exports of Ukrainian ICT services is the third largest export sector showing constant growth. Foreign investments into the industry are increasing ($285 mln in 2018). Moreover, the number of SMEs tech companies is growing as well (4,000+ IT companies). Furthermore, from year to year the number of successful tech ventures with Ukrainian founding teams and R&D offices in Silicon Valley is increasing. Ukraine has the largest and fastest-growing engineering talent pool in Europe with 160,000 specialists in 2018 and 242,000 prognosis by 2025. The country’s universities and polytechnic institutes graduate over 100,000 new engineers annually incl. 23000+ IT graduates.