From Copenhagen to Kyiv: Youth, exchange and civil society in times of crisis

3 May 2022, 17:00

In 2020 the Danish Foreign Ministry decided to fund a new Ukrainian-Danish Youth House in Kyiv, Ukraine. The idea was to create a platform for young Danes and Ukrainians that supports youth participation, democracy, creativity and exchange. Less than two years later, young Danes are witnessing how their Ukrainian peers struggle to survive a war. Today, the life of young people in these two countries couldn’t be more different. Yet, the common longing for peace, democracy and freedom unites us even in the darkest times. Now more than ever support for Ukrainian youth matters. For this discussion we invited Julie Anfred Bojesen, the director of the Ukrainian-Danish Youth house to discuss the citizen’s ideas about Ukrainian Youth. Julie was the head of the secretariat of the Danish Foreign Policy Society before moving to Kiev in 2020 to establish the Youth House. In February 2022, she was forced to leave Ukraine and now continues to work for Ukrainian youth from Denmark.

 

What have been the biggest challenges to create mutual understanding between Ukrainians and Danes? What role can civil society play to foster mutual understanding? And how can Ukrainian youth best be supported in times of war?  In January of 2022 there were around 16,000 Ukrainans living in Denmark. Which role does the Ukrainian diaspora play in building new bridges between the two countries? What role has Danish society played in welcoming Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war? What should Danes and others in the EU know about Ukraine, one of the biggest countries in Europe? These are some of the questions that we discussed with Julie and the participating citizens.

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