Our border-crossing project in cooperation with the polish Nowy Staw Foundation and the Forum of Ukrainian Journalists inofficially started on Tuesday, the 26th of August. During the whole day participants were arriving at „Gart“, a recreation center for students in Svitiaz, Ukraine.
The first group that was welcomed early in the morning was our group (the Germans). After 20 hours of travelling by car via Berlin and Poland we arrived exhausted, but happy. During the day we were preparing for our workshops and got to know Ukrainian hospitality. In the evening, the Ukrainian students and the Polish participants arrived. Later, we had a wonderful dinner outside and talked about the following days.
On the first day of work the 30 participants of the seminar “New Media and Civic Engagement” met in the big hall. We heard very interesting expert inputs of the situation of media and citizen media in Germany, Poland and Ukraine. After a short coffee break the German association „European Youth4Media Network“ was presented to us. We saw some short movies which were done in the network. After lunch it was time to get our work started. We split into two groups, one video workshop and one PR workshop. While in the video workshop participants learned how to use a camera and film an interview the participants of the PR workshop were writing articles on the current media situation and the role of citizen media in their country. The workshops should enable all participants to use and spread the learned facts in networking associations.
On the third day in Svitiaz an exciting schedule was set up. Right in the morning we started with a very informative interview with Oleg Dscholos, who was a journalist in his home town Donezk but had to flee because of the current situation in the far East and South of the Ukraine. In the interview he told us how the situation for the inhabitants and especially for the journalists in Donezk is (Link will soon be available). Afterwards we took part in a press conference in which experts of media, economy, science, education and social work, like the former minister of integration of the Ukraine Wolodimir Jewtuck, talked about the importance of evaluation in scientific and educational programs and projects. The conference was organized by the „Center of Evaluation of Scientific, Educational and Social Programs“ (CESESP) in cooperation with the Eastern European National University and the Institute for Sociology, Psychology and Social Communications and was broadcasted in Ukrainian Television. After lunch the seminar about New Media and Civic Engagement continued and was visited by Ukrainian journalists who talked about the media system in the Ukraine. The journalists learned about civic media in Germany and the Youth4Media association and discussed with the other participants about media work in times of war and crisis and in general about media competence and civic and political engagement. In the end Oleg Dscholos held a speech about journalism in Donezk and coped with very interesting but also critical questions of the other ukrainian journalists. „The people in eastern Ukraine don’t have any opportunity to get true and neutral information“.
This day started with an informative presentation of Oksana Jarosch, who is a doctor of politology. Her presentation was about Public Relations and New Media in the Ukraine. First she explained what public relations means and after that why we should combine new media and civic engagement. Citizens use social media, like Facebook and You Tube, and with them they can communicate together and to others. Jarosch told us that the Ukrainian government does nothing for its citizens. The new media could change this fact. Because Facebook is the most successful social networking service (6 Mio Ukraine people use it), she analyses the Facebook-profiles of some Ukraine local politics. Her result: most of the politics rarely use Facebook. She will help them to use it actively, because Facebook is a platform to get in touch – the government with the citizens. After a restful coffee break we heard a second presentation. Piotr Pniewski, the head of the polish organization ESWIP, told us about his activities and civic media in Poland. In the local tv they get two hours per week to show their films, which deal with underprivileged persons. After lunch Arndt Selders, head of the international department of the Bennohaus, presented openweb.tv. This is the non-commercial, independent und participative citizen media. From 1997 till 2008 it was shown in the tv, but since 2009 you can find it on the internet. Many volunteers work there and citizens can participate in one of the many editors. At the end of the day we organized a debate. In the meantime of the preparations fo the debate the video group took some interviews with Ukrainian journalists and the host Wolodymyr Danyluk. Participants of the discussion were Joachim Musholt, Oksana Jarosch, Piotr Pniewski and Ivan Savich, an Ukrainian journalist. The debate carried on the issues of the presentations because the topics were New Media in Ukraine, Poland and Germany and civic and political engagement. We have heard many interesting things and the discussion was completed by questions from the audience. All in all we got informative insights of New Media in Ukraine and Poland and discussed about the important topic of civic engagement.
This day we had an honoring visit by the chief of administration of Shazk and other important representatives. He gave a short speech and showed respect to all journalists and their work in hard times of crisis. „I want you all to be objective in these times and I wish a soon solution for the crisis“. The speech was followed by a general exchange of opinions and ideas from all participants. Afterwards the host of the seminar, Wolodymyr Danyluk thanked us all for the good and successful work in partnership and a wish for cooperation in future. He handed us numerous traditional Ukrainian presents and showed one more time the never-ending hospitality and the success of this seminar. Then we drove together to some local shops and souvenir markets, so we all had the chance to take something traditional with us to remember the great times here. On the later afternoon we had a nice trip on a motor-boat on the outstanding lake of Svitiaz. These exciting trips gave all participants the opportunity to learn more about the region and its history.Some of us took the chance to take a swim in the clear and refreshing water. We were all looking forward to the next but also last day in Gart and how it will be before our trip to the Ukraine will end.
Today we made a special journey. We´ve been invitated to the Shatsk Forest College. There we met the director of the college and his predecessor together with the director of the national park and some students from the college. The director informed us about the college, that was founded in 1963. Since the foundation more than 6000 students got a professional education in agricultur, forestry, wood processing and economy. The college has a newspaper, that is published by students and deals with critical topics and the life at the college. Some students gave an insight in their life and talked about their work and studies at the Forest College. Afterwards they learned something about Youth 4 Media and watched some videos which were produced by this association. Thereafter the director and other representatives showed us a museum which belongs to the college. In the museum are stuffed animals exhibited. We´ve seen it and it was a bit scary but also really interesting. After the guided tour through the building we got insights of the untouched nature of the huge national park of Shatsk. By cars we drove to interesting spots like old ruins, a graveyard of killed soldiers of World War II, a traditional Datscha and finally to the lake, Svityaz, where we had lunch. And this traditional lunch was astonishing! There were fried fish, fish soup, cheese, selfmade-salami, tomatoes, shashlik and – of course – some wodka. Everything was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely. Another time we treasured the hospitality of ukrainian people and had a wonderful last day in Wolynien.