USPS Parliamentary Program: MPs completed the first seminar

The Ukrainian School of Political Studies, with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation, has launched a parliamentary program for newly elected members of the Verkhovna Rada. In 2014, we held seminars for MPs, who later formed the Interfactional Union “EuroOptimists”.

This year, more than 30 MPs from various parties, factions, and groups joined the program. These are representatives of the “Voice”, the” Servant of the People”, the “Batkivshchyna”, “European Solidarity”, the Group “For the Future” and non-partisan MPs.

Values as a guide

During the opening of the Parliamentary Program, Svitlana Matvienko, Director of the USPS, noted that the purpose of the seminars is to lay the foundation for inter-party dialogue. The parliamentary program is not about teaching, but about values for politicians.

In fact, the first seminar, which was started by the head of the Department of Philosophy of Culture, Ethics, and Aesthetics of the Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a member of the Supervisory Board of the USPS Yevhen Bystrytsky, was dedicated to values.

He discussed with MPs the concepts of truth, identity, and responsibility: why the idea of responsibility has taken center stage in the latest philosophical and ethical explorations, and why honesty, identity, and accountability are essential concepts for politicians.

Professor of the Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv Vakhtang Kebuladze continued the discussion about values with MPs.

According to the speaker, in the modern world and in Ukraine in particular, there is a conflict between traditional and modern values. What does the concept of tradition mean to us and what does it have to do with modernity? How do traditional and modern values relate – for example, security and freedom? How are traditional and contemporary values embodied in such social institutions as the church, political parties, and state institutions, the family, and educational institutions? Answers were sought during reflections.

Which reforms are a priority for Ukraine?

The first day of the seminar ended with a meeting with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Ukraine Tobias Thyberg. He visited the Parliamentary Program to get acquainted with members of the Verkhovna Rada, discuss the agenda of the parliament, and the possibilities of cooperation between Sweden and Ukraine.

Tobias Thyberg also noted that the first reforms for Ukraine should be anti-corruption and changes in law enforcement and justice. And only after that it will be possible to discuss the opening of the land market or privatization.

About the origins of politics and the values of the near future

Perceptions of politics have changed for society over time. But in moments of crisis and confusion, it is worth returning to the origins and study the history of the concept from the depths of ancient Greek philosophers.

On the second day of the seminar, the participants of the Parliamentary Program spoke about the essence of politics and values of the near future with Andrii Baumeister, Associate Professor of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

According to the speaker, in the future, the values of loneliness and silence will come to the fore. After all, when publicity and social control reach horrific limits, a person will again learn to go into himself. And then, perhaps, feelings and thinking will become deeper and more refined than now – in an era of speed, populism, and the pursuit of love of the masses?

Is populism good or bad?

Ivan Gomza, associate professor of the Master’s Program in Public Policy and Governance at the Kyiv School of Economics, discussed populism and its consequences with MPs.

Ukrainian and global election campaigns do not do without the use of populism – sweet promises that voters believe in. It seems to us that populism could have arisen only in the post-truth era. But in fact, it came much earlier than the Trump or Orban election campaigns.

With Ivan Gomza, the participants of the Parliamentary Program learned more about the history of populism and considered the threats and opportunities posed by populists in Ukrainian politics.

How to survive all the mistakes during the convocation?

Members of parliament are also people, and mistakes can be made —especially given the busy work schedule, media pressure, and growing voters’ dissatisfaction.

Svitlana Zalishchuk, Oleksiy Mushak, and Victoria Ptashnyk, members of the EuroOptimists inter-factional union, shared their experience and life hacks of “survival” in the parliament with the newly elected MPs.

In particular, the former MPs spoke about their failures and moments of success during the parliamentary term, as well as about what it is like to live after Verkhovna Rada.

How to communicate your values so that they are understood?

A revolution is not an event but a process. The Ukrainian value revolution began in 2013 and continues to this day.

In this process, it is crucial to communicate our values – about the Maidan, Donbas, and Ukrainian patriotism – so that the Western information consumer understands and supports Ukraine.

But how? Participants of the Parliamentary Program spoke with the Head of the Secretariat of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance Mykhailo Vynnytskyi about the value messages in the right “wrapper”.

His “recipe” – more positive messages about us, emotions, stories, and simplicity.

How to remember values day by day and make them meaningful in life?

There are very few people ready to join the process of changing the country every day. And this is one of the reasons why these changes are happening more slowly than we would like. Those conscious and active who are, get tired, burn out. The Maidan did not last long. It was not enough to allow new ones to come to power.

How to remember values day by day and make them meaningful in life? Vitaliy Deinega shared his experience as a head of Come Back Alive – a foundation that emerged as a volunteer initiative in 2014 and now trains the military, influences public policy as a think tank, has a veteran focus and cares about so that the war is not forgotten until it is over.