One of the traditions of the Kirkland Program are annual meetings of “three generations” of the scholarship holders organized at the Embassy of Poland in Kyiv at end of August. Their participants are the Promgram alumni from previous years, participants of the current year and the new scholarship holders who will come to Poland in the middle of September.
Such meetings are an opportunity to renew friendship, establish new contacts and – in case of new program participants – get firsthand account of studies and realities of life in Poland.
This year the meeting took place on August 28. The Embassy of Poland was represented by Anna Kuźma, Science Counselor, and the Kirkland Program representative was Anna Więcek, Organization and Promotion Coordinator. The agenda of the meeting included two presentations by the Program alumni, Oxana Chorna (2006/2007) and Oleh Levchenko (2009/2010) and a presentation made by the this-year alumni (Iryna Ivankiv, Tetiana Botsian, Iryna Vasylyk, Iryna Galaktionova and Iryna Fayfar) on the cities of the scholarship holders’ affiliation during their stay in Poland.
Oksana Chorna studied economy and management at the University of Wrocław; her hobby is photography. Her presentation was devoted to volunteering in view of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Oksana currently is a volunteer in one of the Ukrainian regiments. She delivers medications and supplies for soldiers; for money raised among her friends she buys first aid kits, helms and bulletproof vests, dressings and food.
Oleh Levchenko has for many years been the director of Podole Regional Development Agency (PARR) and recently has been cooperating with Deputy Prime Minister Wołodymir Hrojsman. Oleh (in cooperation with Iwona Jurkowska, Polish volunteer in PARR) presented the idea of creating the Ukrainian-Polish Discussion Platform. The project is addressed to local communities, self-governments and expert clubs. Its goal is the development of consultation mechanisms for local communities that would allow the Ukrainian alumni of Polish scholarship, scientific and study programs to share their experiences and knowledge obtained during their stay in Poland and jointly participate in developing solutions to be applied during reform implementation in Ukraine.
Under this project, meetings have already been organized at the General Consulates of Poland with participation of Ukrainian and Polish experts. According to Oleh, first such meeting, which took place in the General Consulate of Poland in Vinnytsia confirmed the thesis that “the events participated by Ukrainian experts and alumni of various scholarship programs are met with great interest by local communities.”
The alumni and new scholarship holders had also the opportunity to talk about their plans for the future and possible further professional and social contacts. Several people declared that they are interested in joining the Discussion Platform.
Traditionally, the new scholarship holders got a lot of tips from their older colleagues regarding the chances offered by the Program.
The meeting was attended by 32 alumni and 14 new scholarship holders.