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.