Workshop ”Think Tanks in Ukraine: Strengthening expertise and promoting European cooperation” in Kyiv

On the 15th and 16th September, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and the Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation (DIF) conducted a workshop in Kyiv in the framework of the project “Think Tanks in Ukraine: Strength­ening expertise and promoting European cooper­ation“, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. In several thematic blocks 14 repre­sen­ta­tives of Ukrainian Think Tanks, both from the Ukrainian capital and from the regions (Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, Lviv and Odessa), had the possi­bility to expand and deepen their skills in different fields of think-tank work.

At the beginning of the workshop Dr. Katrin Böttger, Deputy Director of the IEP, pointed out the impor­tance of exchanging knowledge and experts between German and Ukrainian think tanks which is the basis for sustainable cooper­ation. At the same time, Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of the DIF, empha­sized that Ukrainian think tanks are facing new tasks, like the demand for quali­tative analyses from Ukrainian politi­cians who are becoming more and more open towards think tanks.

In a further step the results of surveys amongst German experts and repre­sen­ta­tives of Ukrainian think tanks were presented by Ljudmyla Melnyk (IEP) and Maria Zolkina (DIF). The results in the fields of commu­ni­cation, structure of scien­tific analyses and inter­cul­tural differ­ences were of particular interest. There was evidence for the existence of several discrep­ancies between Ukrainian and German respon­dents, e.g. in the defin­ition of think tanks or concerning the question which topics are regarded as increas­ingly important for Ukrainian think tanks. Whilst Ukrainian experts view foreign policy analyses as priority, German experts expressed the wish for more infor­mation in social fields like education and health systems or the pension system of Ukraine. The complete results of the surveys will be published online in German and Ukrainian until the end of November 2016.

In the seminar “Think Tank Publi­ca­tions” Dr. Katrin Böttger presented possible forms of scien­tific analyses and, using different examples, she discussed with the partic­i­pants the special structure and the require­ments of Policy Briefs and Policy Papers. There­after, the workshop “Advocacy and Work with EU-Insti­tu­tions” with lectures by Dr. Olena Prystayko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels, and Taras Kachka, Deputy Executive Director of the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foundation, took place. During the discussion with the experts it became clear that knowledge about the internal working processes of EU-insti­tu­tions is inevitable for successful advocacy concepts. Furthermore, important instru­ments for cooper­ation with the EU were explained. The second day was organized by the two freelance-trainers Kateryna Stetsevych, Kulturgenossen­schaft e.V., and Carolin Savchuk, Savchuk & Partner. The seminars “Fundraising” and “Public Relations” dealt with topics like the prepa­ration of project appli­ca­tions as well as official forms of commu­ni­cation with German partners were discussed. One of the central topics was cultural differ­ences in the work of Ukrainian and German think tanks which were discussed openly.

The workshop revealed the need for expertise and instrument concerning the cooper­ation with German and European think tanks and insti­tu­tions and showed at the same time that repre­sen­ta­tives of Ukrainian think tanks are striving for such cooper­ation. Following the workshop, the partic­i­pants have the possi­bility to apply their acquired skills and to submit a policy paper for a planned online publi­cation series in the framework of the project.