One of the most important reforms that should be carried out in Ukraine in the short term is the decentralization of authority. Both Polish self-governments and non-governmental organizations support the construction of civil society at our eastern neighbor in various ways. An unquestionable support is the ability to use European funds for local development and the improvement of management efficiency. Theoreticians and practitioners will discuss the effective management, support of the decentralization processes, the experiences of building local democracy and the networking of local governments international cooperation as well as how effective the actions already taken and solutions in this area have been. It will also be important to evaluate the support of the European Union in the available cross-border cooperation programs.
SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
This thematic line covers issues related to science and education in Central and Eastern Europe, focusing in particular on:
- the reform of general and higher education in the countries of the region,
- the international cooperation in science and education area,
- the dissemination of innovative transnational education and research projects and programs,
- the role of formal and informal education in political, economic and social change in Eastern Europe.
The "Science and Education" line also presents the problems of communities active in the field of science and education, including young scientists, teachers and students; the line supports these communities in establishing regional and global cooperation and provides a space for discussion of their development.
POLITICS AND SECURITY
The protection of the constitutional order and national interests is an important task of every country, even more of countries undergoing difficult processes of system changes. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe suffer from deep political, social, ethnic-cultural, regional and religious divisions, which become a source of conflicts of varying intensity. Armed conflicts in the Eastern European states are often a component of the geopolitical game of great powers, leading to the loss of sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are accompanied by the process of European integration confirmed by the association agreements and free trade agreements signed. Within their scope, the countries of the region receive European Union support for reforms. The most important issues addressed in this line are: interests of the superpowers in Eastern Europe, geopolitical orientations of states, and the grey safety zone in Eastern Europe.
Thematic area devoted to tourism within this year's Eastern Europe Initiatives Congress will address topics related to creating urban tourist offer which is attractive, modern and responsive to the market needs. The participation of experts will allow to gather knowledge on the theoretical basis for the creation of modern tourism projects and to discuss examples of model solutions. The debates, conducted under each of the three thematic proposals, aim at assessing the direction of development and quality of the urban tourist offer. Participants of this tourist line will try to answer the question of how to stand out in order to survive on the tourist services market.
Development of sustainable urban transport and mobility pose a great challenge to local self-governments in terms of increasing car traffic and its related issues. Efficient public transport management and facilitating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, as well as creation of friendly spaces without architectural barriers, demonstrate the attractiveness of a modern city for its residents. Interactive and visual presentations of data, analysis regarding mobility, aspects of agglomeration and regional transport, and Polish experiences in managing Ukrainian roads and railways will be discussed during panel debates. A side event field trip using Lublin Urban Bike is also planned.
Despite the progressive integration of EU member states from Central Europe and reforms in Eastern European countries, we are still encountering differences in many areas of public activity that impede communication and cooperation with Western Europe. Should we implement all solutions from the “West”? Or should we learn from each other, watch the solutions, and adapt actively checked scripts to local realities? One thing is certain – in times of increasing nationalist and xenophobic trends both in the East and West, cultural communities should make every possible effort to maintain international cooperation and integration, by promoting openness to diversity and curiosity of others, while politicians and representatives of administration at all levels should see in the cultural community allies in promoting positive dimensions of diversity.
INNOVATION AND BUSINESS
This thematic line will inspire the representatives of science and business from the Eastern Partnership states to think in the perspective of innovation development and improvement of efficiency in implementing new technologies to enterprises and public administration. On the one hand, there will be a chance to listen to lectures and opinions of practitioners who achieved success in the field of innovation. On the other hand, the debates will serve as a platform for exchange of view and ideas between people of science and business.
MODELS OF RECONCILIATION
Thematic area covering topics such as: memory, conflicts history, positive system changes, reflections on human attitudes, current challenges of intercultural education, joint search for models of agreements in Central and Eastern Europe and examples of individual help to the other person. The line includes, among others, Polish-German and Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation in the perspective of researchers and witnesses of time, transfer of good practices, social diagnosis devoted to the reflection on hate speech, possible crisis of reconciliation depending on the leadership crisis (social, political, spiritual etc.). Invited guests from Armenia, Belarus, Lithuania, Germany, Poland and Ukraine.
Equality is one of the key issues in social philosophy and socio-political thought. The main assumption of the idea of equality is that everyone should have the same life opportunities and that the rights of a single individual should not be limited against other individuals. The most important element of this line will be issues related to equality in public life. Representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with this subject on a daily basis, as well as representatives of self-government institutions will, among others, participate in the discussion.
Discussion on relations in a triangle Germany-Poland-Ukraine will be composed of three parts: 1) regarding difficult historical relationships between Germany and Poland, and Poland and Ukraine. An attempt to take an objective look at these relations and to recommend solutions for future improvements in mutual connections will be made; 2) regarding (geo)politics, connected to changes which took place in Central and Eastern Europe as a result of European integration processes in the regional states, and to perspectives of the EU-Eastern Europe relations; 3) regarding the security issues of Central and Eastern Europe area. An attempt to present the international situation of Ukraine in terms of Crimea annexation by Russia, Donbas conflict and Europe’s reaction to it will be made as well. On the one hand, an emphasis will be made on geopolitical issues, on the other hand, though, an attempt to present the implications of Russia’s actions taken within the field of security will be made, not only regarding to Central and Eastern European states, but also post-Soviet area states.
Thematic area implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in cooperation with the OECD.