Davos Forum: Why Ukraine should switch its rhetoric from war victim to country of opportunities

13:58 Sep. 21, 2016

Why Ukraine should switch its rhetoric from war victim to country of opportunities

People look at a Ukrainian flag that survived in Ilovaysk battle on Mykhailivska square. (GettyImages Photo)

World Communication Forum Davos wraps up in Kyiv 

The second day of the World Communication Forum Davos in Kyiv was intense and full of discussions, touching upon the importance of communications, and how it constantly changes.

Read also: Era Of Communication: Ukraine in passionate debates over its future

One of the panels at the forum was dedicated to the controversial reputation of Ukraine and Eastern Europe in the world, and what can be done to change it. A Croatian expert on crisis communications, Danijel Koletic, emphasized the necessity to aggressively promote the country through various means, such as movies, dedicated agencies and cultural events.

While addressing the public, Koletic explained that it's up to Kyiv to create a positive image of the country, and the focus on the war and Russian aggression doesn't attract people and certainly doesn't attract investors.

‘Politicians must wake up, and I also address my speech to Ukraine's Prime Minister to find money and to open special agencies for communications that would deliver the message across the six continents. They should act immediately, because the next seven years we can expect only bad communication messages about Ukraine – war, Russia, conflict. Where is the real story of the country, which invented a lot of good things?', Mr. Koletic said.

Watch also: Ukraine's international reputation is getting more attention within the country's agenda

The event also featured among others a speech of Mateusz Grzesiak, a Polish and international interpersonal and business expert and consultant with 15 years of experience. In his motivational speech Mr. Grzesiak called on everyone and Ukraine in general to stop victimizing themselves, but take the matters into their own hands.

‘Ukraine is also a story and this story will be elaborated and developed by future generations, making this a beautiful place to live, or not. When I come to Ukraine, I should know about solyanka, varenyky, uzvar and kvas. I don't have to look them up, it should be everywhere, because that's what makes Ukraine special. The question is, do you tell a story about Ukraine? if you do - perfect! If you don't, then you'll be forgotten.', Mr. Grzesiak said.

After addressing the crowds, Grzesiak sat down with UT to talk about his work and shared his advice on how Ukraine could move on from victimizing itself to promoting its best qualities.

Click here to watch the full inteview on Ukraine Today

Another panel, called ‘Women and Reconciliation', was dedicated to the difference between a female and male approach to confrontations and conflicts. Ukraine's prominent women gathered at the forum to share their thoughts on the matter, including the MP and active Minsk participant Iryna Gerashchenko, head of Internet TV Station Hromadske, Nataliya Gumenyuk, and General Director of JSC pharmaceutical firm Darnitsa, Svitlana Didenko.

‘Role of women can be different than the role of men in conflict solving. I think you shouldn't separate them, it's about being a professional, about the skills you have. But I think that women are  more open to the outer world, more empathetic and sympathetic to the pain of the other, most of the time women have a more humane position, than the men,' said Gerashchenko, who is part of the Minsk negotiations on prisoner exchange.

In an apparent attempt to demonstrate that communications can be different, from transcontinental to up close and personal, the organizers introduced a panel called ‘Crucial confrontation: just look me in the eye! How to neutralize a terrorist'.

Read also: Communications for Future: Nomination for prestigious award now opens in Ukraine

Vadym Rahlis, a certified mediator of the European Union, shared his experience of holding negotiations with people who were about to commit a crime. In one of his stories Rahlis described how he managed to dissuade a man from harming a woman whom he had taken hostage.

‘I asked for his name, and while he was answering I had like 10 seconds to analyze the woman and make a guess she was his wife, who emptied out his credit card. I told him, you could kill her and spend your life in prison, or walk away and convince her not to press charges, while I'm holding back the police. And you know, it worked', Rahlis said.

That concluded the 2016 World Communication Forum Davos in Kyiv. The participants said, they hoped the government would heed the discussions that had taken place at the forum. 

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