On September 25-26, 2018, the Congress of Eastern European Initiatives was held in Lublin. The Congress is a meeting place of thousands of partnership practitioners, as well as a platform for a dialogue between science, culture, education, self-government, and government bodies.
VII Congress of Eastern European Initiatives is devoted to the establishment of strong relations of regional cooperation between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the context of the 100th Anniversary of the restoration of the Polish independence, civil society and freedom. This is a great opportunity for discussions about the future of modern Europe, its identity, emerging challenges, and the need for deeper integration and cooperation.
Representatives of such Ukrainian cities as Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lutsk, Rivne, and Sumy participated in the Congress, sharing their experience and establishing partnerships with various cities in Eastern Europe.
Panel discussions on regional partnerships, transnational and regional co-operation have become an important element of the Congress discussions. The discussions centered round key issues related to science, education and politics, innovation and business, cultural heritage and reconciliation, as well as local democracy, which is very important for the reform of the present-day Europe. Moreover, tourism, innovation, mobility and equality panel discussions were noteworthy, aimed at creating an understanding of how to build agreements and long-term partnerships at different levels effectively.
The Congress has become a platform for getting acquainted with the experience of advanced cities in industry 4.0, building a transparent relationship between self-management and business, establishing incubators, science and technology parks as the bases of startups and scientists, managing the public transport system, and developing cycling tourism, transcultural and intercultural development of society. The debates about the war on Donbass, geopolitics and the security of the world aroused considerable interest. Pavel Koval, a key guest of the Congress, a former deputy of the European Parliament, a representative of the Institute of Political Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences, shared his own vision of the further development of Europe in his report "Europe is a Fatherland? The Real Plan or Utopia", wondering whether "Ukraine will take only the icing from a cake, or will enter into serious political and economic relations with the EU".
In 2018, the actual discussions were about the equality of migrants, IDPs, and national minorities, heritage and reconciliation ("Various but Equal. Heterogeneity in the Workplace", "Milestones in Education. Presentation of Research Materials on inter-neighborhood and interethnic relations", "Women in the Field of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe", "City Invisible Inhabitants: the Presence of Foreigners in a Cultural space", "Region Changes: Transculturalism", "Migrants at School", etc.
The delegation from Vinnytsia presented its experience at the Forum of Partners (HUB City of Senses, Technological Park, accessibility for people with disabilities, intercultural urban development, etc.).