Bilateral projects such as town twinning or scholarship programmes are essential to bring societies closer together beyond political diplomacy. The opportunities offered by cultural diplomacy and how the funding sector has changed since 2014 were the topics of our Germany breakfast discussion in Kyiv.
After the "Revolution of Dignity", the perception of Ukraine in Germany has changed. The political narrative was long dominated by the crisis, today it is much more multi-dimensional. This shift in discourse is also reflected in the budgets of the federal ministries. Since 2014, bilateral programmes to support Ukraine have received more funding. Nevertheless, knowledge gaps exist in both countries about (socio-)political processes in the other country. Dialogue formats such as the Ukraine and Germany Breakfast Debates can make an important contribution here.
Using the work of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) as an example, the guests at the event were given an overview of German foreign cultural and educational policy. Within the framework of its funding programme zivik, ifa is currently also supporting civil society actors in eastern Ukraine. Exchange across the borders of political diplomacy can prevent or defuse crises and conflicts.
The 9th Germany Breakfast Debate had the title "The image of Ukraine in Germany: How can the perception be improved?" The welcoming address was given by Dr Bertram von Moltke, Envoy of the German Embassy in Ukraine. Our speakers were Karoline Gil, Co-Chair of the Regional Forum of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and Deputy Head of Department "Dialogues", Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa, Stuttgart) and our colleague Ljudmyla Melnyk. The event was moderated by Sergiy Solodkyy, Deputy Director, New Europe Center, Kyiv.
The Germany Breakfast Debates are part of the project "German-Ukrainian Researchers Network" (GURN 2) and take place in close cooperation with the Ukrainian partner organisation New Europe Center (NEC, Kyiv).