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NEWS

22.04.2009

Reclaiming Democracy Panel Discussion in Kyiv

Kyiv. A presentation of the Book "Reclaiming Democracy – Civil Society and Electoral Change inCentral and Eastern Europe" and a Panel Discussion with co-authors took place on February 5 at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (www.ukma.kiev.ua), Center for Polish and European Studies (http://www.cpes.com.ua). The series of book presentations and panel discussions is a project financed by the ERSTE Foundation (www.erstestiftung.org) and organized by WUS Austria.

Despite the high number of around 60 people in the rather small room, the main part being students of the bachelor programs (mostly from Faculty of Social Sciences and Social Technologies, Department of Political Science), as well as international students at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (from Sweden, Norway and USA), some civil society activists (from PORA) and journalists (Radio Liberty), the atmosphere was friendly and informal. The discussion was moderated by Maksym Yakovlyev.

Some of the students remembered the years of the Orange Revolution and were interested in hearing about similar processes in other Central and Eastern European countries. Some students reported that they came to hear the discussion or even have the opportunity to ask presenters some questions. It was not surprising that a lot of questions went to Aliaxandr Kudrytski, journalist from Belarus - this country is both an interesting neighbor of Ukraine and, at the same time, a country young people in Ukraine unfortunately know very little about.

Following issues were discussed: Joerg Forbrig, co-editor of the book, introduced the publication and the main topics covered; Miljenko Dereta impressed the audience with his presentation, showing slides of the Serbian oppositional movements discussing the role of the media in the processes of democratization; Iryna Chupryna, presenter from the Ukrainian side and one of the authors of the chapter on Ukraine focused on the aftermath of the Orange Revolution (the issue was discussed between a Political Analyst, Civil Society Activist and journalist Dmytro Potekhin, who even quoted several sentences from the book both during the discussion and later on, in hison-line blog (http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/potekhin/498c60e32b748/).

Since most of the students present in the room were both political science students and economists, the issue of failure of the "revolutionary" movements to transform intopolitical parties was discussed in a comparative perspective.

The event can be consideredvery successful as also the student’s evaluation was very positive.

The ERSTE Foundation together with the German Marshall Fund of the United States provided the Academy with free copies of this important publication on civil society movements in the region. Click here for more information and free download of the book!