Despite the fact that we do not hear about the conflict in Donbass very often these days, Ukraine stays on agenda for NCPD in 2016 as well. Moreover, this year we are marking 155 years since Fridtjof Nansen was born which means that without Ukraine this jubilee would not be complete. Nansen made significant contribution with his humanitarian help under famine in 1921-1923 in Eastern Ukraine which saved 6 million people from starvation.
Steinar Bryn visited Kharkiv on the 6th of February by the invitation from an NGO “Liniia Soglasia” (line of agreement) and number local civic society activists. The intension of the visit was to develop interest to existing dialogue initiatives in Ukraine. Around 90 people visited the event hold in the central Media-studio “Vremia” (Time). There were teachers, soldiers, UN peacekeeping officers, OSCE representatives, psychiatrists, volunteers, dialogue facilitators and students. Number of local media also visited the event as well. Steinar was invited to the TV studio to make a broad interview about the importance of dialogue in general and in Ukrainian context in particular.
Traditionally documentary “Reunion” was shown with the following discussion. Many important issues were taken up during the conversation after the film. It was definitely clear that people in Kharkiv region miss the platform where they can freely express their attitude to the conflict in Ukraine, discuss the problems, share their ideas and what is more important – support and make each other visible.
The next day Steinar Bryn visited the Fridtjof Nansen memorial board at 11 Sovnarkomovskaya street – the house where Nansen had
negotiations with Ukrainian government about providing his assistance to people suffering of hunger in 1921-1923. It was also a big honor to meet the director of Ukrainian-Norwegian F.Nansen Center for Culture and Cooperation – Volodymyr Galperin, who actually initiated the idea to set up the Nansen memorial. Steinar and Volodymyr discussed importance of keeping Nansen legacy in Kharkiv and idea of organizing a Nansen seminar in Kharkiv this May.