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CMI’s high-level Ukrainian dialogue group meets in Helsinki

Published on Monday, 26th of January 2015

CMI has supported Ukraine’s efforts to build an inclusive society since 2010. Our efforts continue as dialogue among political and intellectual actors gains momentum, focusing on the need to bridge societal divisions in order to create preconditions for Ukraine’s longer-term development.

On 12-15 December 2014, CMI organised a high-level dialogue for Ukrainian political actors and intellectual leaders in Finland. The purpose of the dialogue is three-fold: to provide a high-level platform to strengthen confidence and understanding between actors, and to discuss the country’s priorities; to search for options to build an inclusive society which would resist internal and external shocks; and to agree on the future development path of the country.

The dialogue group includes Members of Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) and intellectual leaders, who together represent a broad spectrum of political views and opinions in different parts of the country, including Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

During their visit to Finland, the participants took the opportunity to exchange experiences with Finnish high-level peers. One focus area was Finland’s experiences in successfully managing multiple foreign and defence policy priorities over the last 50+ years. Another area of interest was inclusive nation building, including the transition process from civil war to an exemplary democracy, and the role of a political culture of dialogue and consensus building in uniting a divided society and building a feeling of shared destiny. Finnish experts sharing their views included retired senior foreign, defence and justice practitioners, current senior parliamentarians, as well as representatives from the media and academic spheres.

The meetings with Finnish colleagues were followed by two days of internal dialogue sessions among the Ukrainian participants. The participants focused their internal discussions on potential ways forward out of the current crisis in Ukraine, identifying thematic priority areas for upcoming planned dialogue sessions in 2015, and discussing concrete steps that could be taken by the dialogue group members upon returning to Ukraine.

The dialogue group has met in Kyiv in January to continue the discussion from Helsinki and to zoom in on the areas that the group will be working on in the future, as well as more clearly define its impact and role.

The event in Helsinki was organised with funding support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the meeting in Kyiv was organized with funding support from British Embassy Kyiv, UK Conflict Pool Peacebuilding projects in Ukraine 2014-2015.