Democracy Hubs visit from Ukraine 

On March 1st , we were both honoured and grateful to host the delegation from our Ukrainian partner, Klitschko Foundation, at Crossing Borders in Copenhagen. What would turn out to be an exceptional warm and emotional visit started with the presentation of the Great Debate Camp winners, which took place last November in the western part of Ukraine. At the camp, youth participants inspired us with their stories, and also shared their strong motivation and determination to be part of the Democracy Hub project. That is a formidable demonstration of Klitschko’s determined efforts in empowering youth to be the change they want to see in their own lives.

On the basis of that, we were looking forward to welcoming the youth group, showing them around the city, and at Crossing Borders’ own headquarters, where we ended up spending an exciting evening together.

During the visit, we had a session of the Fabo Learning Lab where our participants got the opportunity to engage with and be part of the global learning platform. After the session had left everyone both a little wiser and hungry for more engagement, we all went to the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD). Here, Director of DIPD Lisbeth Pilegaard gave us a warm welcome and then a great chance to discuss democratic values and its vital importance in society. None of us wanted to miss out on commemorating this day, so we took lots of group photos during this special visit.

Late in the afternoon, we went back to Crossing Borders’ offices and invited all our guests to participate in CB’s monthly event, Food for Thought. This evening was spent in the company of award-winning Afro-American musician, professor and storyteller, Norman Fearrington. The many and often surprising stories about a long life spent as a musician for the likes of Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Santana, John Coltrane and David Bowie came to a halt when all of Food for Thought’s participants introduced themselves and it turned out that Ukraine was heavily represented in the crowd. Norman stopped his storytelling for a time and visibly moved started to talk about the invasion in Ukraine and how much the devastating situation was on his mind. He praised the Ukrainian youth for not giving up hope and for continuing their quest for education, travel, and friendship amid this terrible time. It was a moving moment for all at the event and a reminder to not take anything for granted. Norman’s heartfelt speech to the youth group visiting us was an unforgettable moment.

At the end of the visit, many hugs were exchanged between CB’s project coordinators, volunteers, and the youth group. Presents were awkwardly given, and friendships forged. It was indeed a successful and educational visit.

Anna, Inna, Mariia, Yelyzaveta , Vitalii and Olena and all the Democracy Hubs participants have inspired us and made us proud.  The special partnership with Klitschko Foundation has created a solid foundation for further and a longer-term collaboration, and we are glad that we can contribute to Ukrainian youth fighting for their dreams.

We are thankful to our partners, the Klitschko Foundation and the New Democracy Fund for making this project possible.

Video Credits: Crossing Borders & Klitschko Foundation

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