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The Eighth Working Session

The eighth DSC session took place on May 4-5, 2019. This session themes were diverse: urban development, the Christian right, and Donbas. Three high-level experts came to the Centre to share their expert assessments. Much time was devoted to the development of the group projects, as well as search for ideas and initial preparation for the yearly Forum to be held on June 21, 2019.

A PowerPoint presentation “Wrocław: How a Destroyed City Became the European Metropolis” was delivered by Mr. Rafał Dutkiewicz, the former Mayor of Wrocław (2002-2018), and currently the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy (Germany). Mr. Dutkiewicz reported on how he managed, during his 16-year-long presidency in Wrocław, to turn this Polish provincial city into an internationally recognized center for innovation and progressive development. His questions triggered lively responses by the scholars.

In her academic lecture, “A ‘Sacred Enterprise:’ Christ’s Body in the Contemporary United States,” Dr. Olga Solovieva, Assistant Professor of Literature at the University of Chicago, provided insight into the peculiarities of post-war American culture wars and their increasing impact on the US parties’ politics, academic discourse, mass media, and public affairs. Besides, Dr. Solovieva’s lecture on the relationship between the church and the state in modern liberal democracies partly touched upon problems discussed currently in Ukraine. Using the example of the US, it illustrated the difficult relationships between liberalism and conservatism that happen quite often.

The final expert presentation at the 8th DSC session was made by a well-known member of the Ukrainian Parliament and a legendary initiator of the Euromaidan Revolution, Mustafa Nayem, who spoke on the subject “Donbas: let’s call things by their proper names.” Mr. Nayem outlined how Ukrainian policies need to be changed in order to prepare the reintegration of the Donetsk Basin into Ukraine. In particular, he proposed to hold a roundtable discussion with the participation of government officials and representatives of Donbas.

Further training section of the 8th DSC session simulated a panel discussion, in course of which the scholars were introduced into a situation where they had to quickly and succinctly outline their ideas on a certain topic in front of the audience. The simulation was designed to prepare the scholars for the upcoming final Forum of the DSC where some of them will address the Forum at a podium. The scholars gave short impulse statements, answered the questions asked by the moderator Andreas Umland, and reacted to each other’s statements. One of the purposes of the training was to encourage scholars not only to present their own points of view, but also to connect their own thoughts with those of the other panelists so as to keep the discussion at the podium interactive.

A special section of the 8th DSC session was devoted to the first test of a new business game for kids, developed by a scholars’ project group together with children from the “Our Kids” center located in the same premises with the DSC, in 28-B Tychyna Avenue. The scholars were joined by a group of children from the “Our Kids” center, they enjoyed the new game.

The main part of the 8th DSC session, however, was devoted to finalizing the projects for their completion and presentation at the final 9th session in June 2019.

That is all news from the seventh working session of the DSC. We will keep you updated!

Materials for the session: