10th Ecumenical Social Week


Towards Renewed Country

7-9 June, 2017, Kyiv

For ten years in a row, the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University organizes the Ecumenical Social Week. The tenth jubilee all-Ukrainian Forum this year took place in Kyiv.

The initiative to conduct the Forum in the capital was supported by partners-co-organizers, including Kyiv Regional Council and Regional State Administration, Kyiv City State Administration, Pastoral-Migration Department of the UGCC, Kyiv Center of Ukrainian Catholic University, Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Ukrainian Cooperative Alliance, St. Thomas Aquinas Institute of Religious Sciences,Center of Saint Clement, Open Orthodox University of St. Sophia-Wisdom, Ukrainian Academy of Leadership, Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. Already traditionally, representatives of the clergy, religious organizations, education, government, business, public sector, mass media meet during the Forum to exchange experiences and work out ways to solve social issues.

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This year, June 7 - 9, the jubilee 10th Ecumenical Social Week was held for the first time in the capital of Ukraine. Within the framework of the project, all-Ukrainian public Forum on "Dignity-Service-Solidarity: Towards Renewed Country" was held; traditionally it became the platform for ecumenical dialogue and cooperation between representatives of different denominations, laity, non-governmental organizations, authorities, mass media and educators. The participants gathered in search of new ways for building a civil society and working out practical recommendations in the field of social policy, intersectoral partnership and ecumenical cooperation. This topic will always be relevant, since the principles of solidarity, justice, love for the neighbor are necessary in overcoming the acute problems, especially in times of society's transformation, hostilities and general instability. This issue is relevant not only for Ukraine, but for the whole world. After all, good examples of citizens' unions in times of crisis show us that the principle of mutual assistance helps to find compromises and resolve conflicts.

Within the project, 11 events were implemented, including plenary discussions, seminars, round tables, master classes, panel discussions, presentations and cultural and artistic events, namely:

On June 7, traditionally the events of the Forum began with anecumenical prayer for the unity of Christians and peace in Ukraine, which was held at the Cathedral of St. Olexander, headed by Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti. Following the prayer in the main building of the Taras Shevchenko National University, the opening plenary discussion "Dignity-Service-Solidarity: Towards Renewed Country" began. The speakers outlined the main problems of society that prevent the formation of human values in modern Ukrainian society, the role of the church in overcoming the spiritual degradation of society.

The participants of the discussion also discussed the problem of dignity, service and solidarity, reviewed the prospects of building mutual understanding and associations of citizens for finding a compromise and resolving conflicts, shared their views on the role of religion in the formation of solidarity, particularly how Christian churches can contribute to upholding shared values. Among the speakers: Rev. Dr. Iwan Datko, President of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at UCU; Jadwiga Staniszkis, Professor of Sociology, Warsaw University; Yevhen Hlibovitskyi, Political Scientist, Member of the Nestor Expert Group; Bishop Borys Gudziak, President of the Ukrainian Catholic University; Yurii Yekhanurov, Professor of Economics, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv; Maria Rohozha, Professor of Ethics, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv; Volodymyr Buhrov, Philosopher, Vice-Rector of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

The next event within the ESW at the Taras Shevchenko National University was presented the exhibition "Patriarch Josyph Slipuj: to be yourself!" The exhibition was prepared by the Institute of Church History in cooperation with the Kyiv Center of UCU on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of the famous church leader and the prominent son of the Ukrainian people. The exhibition presented banner photo exposition, which revealed the main stages of the life and work of the patriarch Josyph Slipuj. The exposition highlighted the work of Blessed Josyph on the development of the spiritual, cultural and educational life of Ukrainians in Rome: the creation of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome, the construction of Saint Sophia Cathedral, his numerous trips for unity and support for "the dispersed" Ukrainians.

On June 8, together with the Open Orthodox University of Holy Sophia-Wisdom, the seminar of the Ukrainian Christian Academic Society "Unity of Ukrainian Christians - the new format" was held at the Metropolitan's House. Speakers shared their viewsabout the unity of all Christians. Participation in the event was taken by: Antoine Arjakovsky, Co-Director of the Department of Freedom. Society. Peace at the College des Bernardins, France; Fr. Georgy Kovalenko, Open Orthodox University of Holy Sophia-Wisdom; Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine; Monseigneur Pascal Gollnisch, Director of the L'Œuvre d'Orient Foundation; Rev. Iwan Datcko, President of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at UCU; Simona Merlot, Professor at RomaTre University, Italy; Michael Cherenkov, Professor of the Department of Philosophy of the Ukrainian Catholic University; Fr. Wojciech Surówka OP, Director of the Institute of Religious Sciences of St. Thomas Aquinas; Vitalii Khromets, Associate Professor of the Department of Cultural Studies, M. P. Drahomanov National Pedagogical University; Fr.Petro Baloh, OP; Taras Dmytryk, Executive Secretary of UCAS and others.

In parallel with the seminar at the premises of the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, the first part of the panel discussion, entitled "Contemporary Cooperative Movement in Ukraine as a way to strengthen communities" was held. In the discussion participated Zynovii Svereda, President of the Ukrainian Cooperative Alliance; Tetiana Vasylyk, Charity Foundation "Strengthening of Communities"; Valentyna Lanovenko, Academy of Organic Gardening; Nicolas Perrin, Agriculture Advisor at the French Embassy in Ukraine; Leonid Ihnatiev, International Association "Euro strategy"; Oleh Demchuk, ASTA school; Olena Polhovska, Business School "Elite"; Svitlana Karvan, European Social Academy; Ruslan Kraplych, Princes-Benefactors Ostrozky Foundation. The speakers outlined the main problems of modern cooperation and ways to overcome them.

In the second half of the day, the second part of the round table "Modern Cooperative Movement in Ukraine as a way to strengthen communities" was continued in the walls of National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv. The participants of the round table exchanged their experience in foreign cooperative movements and outlined the main stages in cooperation’s development in order to strengthen the Ukrainian community. Co-operative education was also discussed, where innovative and practical modern examples were highlighted. The projects of organic agriculture development in Ukraine were presented. Participants of the round table: Roman Vashchuk, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine; Olha Trofymtseva, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Ukraine; Tetiana Vasylyk, Director of the Foundation for the Strengthening of Communities; Andrii Hordiichuk, First National Agrarian Cooperative; Andrii Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce; Volodymyr Senyk, Program Coordinator for Development at the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine; Vladlena Martsynkevych, Program Coordinator for Central Asia and the Caucasus of the “CEE Bankwatch Network” International Network; Tetiana Kaminska, Rector of the Cooperative Institute of Business and Law; Natalia Prokopchuk, Project Manager and Expert on the Development of a Favorable Business Environment in the Swiss-Ukrainian project "Development of the organic market in Ukraine"; Yulia Usenko, Chairman of the Board of the All-Ukrainian Investment and Sustainable Development Agency; Olena Berezovska, President of the Public Union “Organic Ukraine”, Antonio Gazzanti Pugliese Di Cotrone, Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Maltese Order in Ukraine; Svitlana Pavlenko, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine and others.

On the same day in the afternoon, together with the Institute of Religious Sciences of St. Thomas Aquinas, a round table "Social service - mission and vocation of the church" was held in the conference hall. The role of the church in shaping dignity, service and solidarity and how social organizations help with social adaptation in the process of socialization were discussed at the round table. In the round table participated: Fr. Vitalii Khrabatyn, Expert of the Pastoral Migration Department of the UGCC; Jerome Dartiguenave, Foundation L'Œuvre d'Orient, France; Fr. Oleksii Struve, Director of the Business French Agency in Ukraine; Yurii Lifanse, Head of the Community of St. Egidius in Ukraine; Fr. Vasyl Kolodchyn, Director of CF "Caritas-Odessa"; Hryhoriy Seleshchuk, Program Coordinator IDPs Assistance at the Caritas-Ukraine.

At the end of the day, everyone had the opportunity to pray for peace in Ukraine at the Chapel of the St. Thomas Aquinas Institute, headed by Rev. Iwan Datsko, President of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at UCU.

On June 9, in conjunction with the Kyiv Center of the Ukrainian Catholic University and the Ukrainian Leadership Academy, a frank conversation "Living Landmarks: By The Way of Testimony, Service and Communication" was held. In the conversation participated both religious and public figures who have a considerable authoritative experience among young people. The main speakers of frank conversation were: Bishop Borys Gudziak, President of the Ukrainian Catholic University; Ivan Malkovych, Director of the Publishing House "A-BA-BA-GA-LA-MA-GA", Uliana Suprun, Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine. Moderated the conversation Oksana Kulakovska, Director of the Kyiv Center of UCU. Participants had the opportunity to communicate with the young people who were present at the event. The purpose of the speakers was to convey the importance of moral and spiritual consciousness in shaping human dignity and solidarity. In their life examples, they showed how to work and not surrender in order to achieve the highest human values.

Upon completion of the open conversation, all interested persons had an opportunity to take part in the workshop "Leadership Development" organized by the Ukrainian Academy of Leadership. During the workshop, young people actively participated in various exercises that helped them to identify their skills and abilities for social adaptation and helped to highlight key leadership qualities.

At the end of the Forum a thematic concert of folk and spiritual music "Prayer for Ukraine" was held. In the concert participated: National Honored Chapel of Bandura-Players of Ukraine named after H. I. Mayboroda, Municipal Academic Revutsky Academic Male Capella and Academic Chamber Choir Khreshchatyk and Natalka Buchynska, who was leading the concert, also performed folk music pieces. The special atmosphere of the concert gave the audience an even better opportunity to understand the challenges faced by modern Ukraine through music and culture.