Advanced Training for strenghening project partnerships
In the German-speaking space scientific engagement with Ukraine – its history, ethnography, language and literature – has been rather weak in comparison with other similar research areas. The current state of affairs in the field of Ukrainian studies is characterized by financial cutbacks and reduction of teaching positions, which equally affects Ukrainian research and proliferation of Ukraine-related knowledge in Germany in a negative way. Such a condition is also reflected in a very limited number of Ukraine-related educational programs offered in German universities. Only less than a dozen of students majoring in Ukrainian studies graduated successfully in Germany in the last 20 years. As a result, the level of expertise on Ukraine appears to be rather low in those spheres of action, where profound knowledge about the second largest European state should be available.
Public discourse on Ukraine is often shaped by stereotypical thinking and argumentation, as it has become evident in the context of the on-going conflict on its territory. Even if the existence of Ukraine as a state is not questioned, there is frequently a lack of necessary knowledge concerning the underpinnings of its national independence and the historical developments in which it is grounded. Not in the last order, this lack of knowledge revealed itself in the appraisals of Russia’s interventions in Crimea and Donbass. In the same vein, questions of ethnicity and identity often overshadow more important questions of identification, as is clearly seen in case of the myth about “two Ukraines”.
To effectively undermine such stereotypical thinking, wider proliferation of basic knowledge about Ukrainian state, Ukrainian language and culture, as well as its European history is necessary. Although there do exist international summer schools in German universities, as for instance, Ukrainicum in Greifswald and Viadrinicum in Frankfurt (Oder), they are targeting primarily students. Until now there has been no advanced training programs for professionals in the field of Ukrainian studies in the German-speaking space, which makes this initiative unique.
Ukraine Calling is intended to improve the situation by means of continuous expansion of Ukraine-related knowledge on the part of professional actors in the responsible positions in the field of politics, public administration, media, economy and civil society.