The European Forum Alpbach: changing lives

The application process for the scholarships to participate in the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) has already started... Do not hesitate to apply! As someone, who had joined the EFA three times, I can definitely say that it will be one of the best experiences in your life.

I had understood human rights from a very different prism, yet in 2014 the war forced me to flee from my hometown of Donetsk. I found myself as an internally displaced person (IDP) as did almost 1,5 million people from Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. I have never been a passive observer: simply, the war and displacement left me no choice and the fight for human rights and freedoms has been burned within my very existence.

In 2015, I received a scholarship for IDPs from NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach.

The Forum was ‘a breath of fresh air’ and, what is more, it has positively changed my life. All above, I realized the value of international experience and uniqueness of the platforms, as the EFA, for young community leaders and human rights activists.

My participation in 2015 was very enlightening, so I joined the EFA 2016 as a seminar assistant. Being a member of a multicultural team and supporting the conduction of the seminar week, I obtained priceless practical and communication skills. Moreover, the EFA inspired me to apply for master programme abroad.

The EFA helped me understand the multidisciplinary nature of law and policy, the role of international organizations and made me think about possible solutions to the challenges in Ukraine. The EFA is widely known, and I believe that this experience also contributed to my admission to Central European University (CEU), where I had been studying Human Rights. Thus, in 2017, I joined the EFA for the third time, this time as a member of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach and future CEU student. It was a unique opportunity for me to enlarge my network, to prepare myself for the following academic year and to learn more about existing international ‘trends’ in law- and policy-making.

Currently, I am the Vice President of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach, and I am happy that now I can personally contribute to promotion of the Forum in Ukraine and its scholarship programmes.

Empowering Ukrainian youth - is something I find absolutely inspiring and important for building the future of our country. For me, as a human rights lawyer and a researcher, the Forum primarily provides a unique opportunity to deliver a message on behalf of the conflict-affected population and Ukrainian civil society. Thus, the conflict and displacement in Ukraine is becoming protracted, and I value the Forum as an advocacy platform to stand for the rights and freedoms of the people affected, to raise awareness of the international community and to discuss the mechanisms to resolve the existing problems. Moreover, the EFA is about beneficial academic experience, meeting co-minded people from a wide variety of countries, learning from experts and peers, trying new things and broadening your horizons…

Ganna Dudinska

Vice President of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach,

LLB (National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy),

LLM in Human Rights (Central European University)

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© NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach, 2019