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Pulse of Ukraine


“Our Cities, Our Future: All Politics is Local”


June 21st-22nd, 2019

Deadline for registration

June 17, 23:59


Conference Hall, “Our Kids” Centre at the Left Bank, Kyiv


Decision and opinion-makers, entrepreneurs and civic activists from Ukraine, other Eastern Partnership countries, Russia and the West

Working Language

English, Ukrainian

Forum 2019 Key Topic:

A phrase from US politics in the 1980s – “all politics is local” – is just as relevant in Ukraine today as it was in America back then. Cities are a driving force of economic prosperity and political progress, vital centres of democracy, and a focus of both social tension and community cohesion. Kyiv is a global city with an ancient heritage, and many modern challenges. Ukraine’s decentralisation, democratisation and urbanisation policies are big political and administrative tests. They also involve broader economic, social and even cultural consequences.

Different cities can be very different things. Urban planning policies and smart investment play a vital part in making our cities both dynamic and harmonious places to live in. Cities can be the source of both security and insecurity: centres of corrupt clan networks and criminal gangs versus pioneers of democracy and national reform projects; the context for individuals’ alienation and loneliness versus frameworks for citizens’ close interaction and strong community-building; causes of environmental pollution versus generators of sustainable growth and ecological innovation; the scene of inter-communal tensions versus platforms for inclusive policies and successful integration. Our Forum’s four panels and keynote debate will address these topics, bringing together discussants with very different professional profiles, interests and expertise. The concluding debate will challenge the alumni and audience to identify their priorities and set an agenda for the next generation.

Forum 2019 Specific Topics:

  1. Keynote debate: Populism and the challenge to liberal democracy
  2. Putting politics into practice: Global city planning in the 21st Century
  3. Culture, Heritage, Identity and Integration
  4. Smart investment: Jobs, Growth and Sustainable Development
  5. An Agenda for the Next Generation

Questions to be answered:

  1. How do we ensure that growth in cities is inclusive, not divisive?
  2. How can we balance safety and security, on the one side, with civil liberties, on the other?
  3. How should we address tensions between national, regional and city governments?
  4. How do we curb corruption and promote transparency?
  5. How will the next generation use new tools and smart investment to solve old issues?

The Pulse of Ukraine is a yearly forum organised within the framework of the Democracy Study Centre (DSC), a project founded by the German-Polish-Ukrainian Society (GPUS) and implemented in cooperation with the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre with the generous support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

The Forum’s objective, at a time when Europe is haunted by an uncertain future and rising illiberalism, is to bring together, connect and inspire young leaders and innovators, “idea-preneurs,” to strengthen their potential to build, defend and advance democratic societies. At GPUS, we believe that we can make a difference by promoting cross-border, cross-sectoral and cross-generational dialogue and collaboration which will enable us to better feel the pulse of our countries as well as times, and will help us build stable, modern and fairer societies.  

Ukraine is a country on the move, working assiduously to overcome its Soviet past, and create conditions for a sustainable democratic future. It is on the front-line of the struggle for a united Europe, buffeted and challenged with an armed conflict on its territory. The Forum will highlight the challenges and successes on this path as well as seek to provide impetus for positive change.

The conference participants consist of young politicians, senior experts, grassroots activists, civic leaders, journalists, and entrepreneurs from Ukraine and abroad as well as donors, diplomats and representatives of international organisations and delegations to Ukraine.

The Forum is hosted by the DSC Fellowship including twenty four fellows and scholars organised within a framework of high-level and in-depth monthly working sessions, idea-labs producing mentored scholarly work, as well as ambitious civic initiatives in the sphere of civic education, distance learning and youth engagement in grassroots politics.

Materials for the Forum:

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