One year ago, the day of February 24th, changed the lives of many. The Russian full-scale invasion on the territory of Ukraine shook the whole world, bringing a lot of pain, loss and grief.
The Center for Peace and Conflict Transformation aimed to recognize the gravity of the day and organized a series of events to help people process their emotions and find hope for a peaceful future. The use of storytelling, through personal stories and expert insights, was a powerful way to encourage reflection and empathy among the listeners.
A motivated team reflected on the events of the following week and their motivation for active involvement in the organization process:
Every occasion that we created held significant value to me. Being distant from home and unable to offer aid there weighs heavily on my conscience. Yet, through my involvement in organizing events, particularly the art exhibition "The Path of Memory," I sensed that I could make a difference and contribute to Ukraine, even if I cannot be there physically - Mariia Klichko.
I want everyone to understand that autocracy and imperialism are dangerous to all of the world, and each of us should do everything we can to support freedom, justice, and peace that Ukrainians are fighting for - Yuliya Odynets.
The personal storytelling from LCC students in the form of Listening Circles was particularly moving. The deep and personal insights from those impacted by the war were a stark reminder of the human cost of conflict. These stories encouraged listeners to empathize with the pain and suffering of those affected by the conflict.
The Ukrainian Expert Panel offered a sobering reality check, with experts providing their insights on the current state of affairs in Ukraine and the world. Two LCC alumni, who were currently working in the civil society sector of Ukraine, joined the community via Zoom to share their new reality. Dr. Tetiana Kalenychenko, who works in the field of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding and Dr. Tina Polek, anthropologist, who reflects on the phenomena of a new normality Ukrainians have, also joined to paint a picture of the challenges facing Ukraine and the importance of national identity in the face of adversity.
An Art Gallery became an expressive journey of storytelling. It included an information exhibition and interactive stages for remembering and recognizing the realities of the war. It also showcased the positive wins among the community, including the popularization of the Ukrainian language and international support. While walking through it, participants were invited to carry a stone of resilience and add it to the resilience memorial at the end of the path of memory.
On the day of the 24th of February, the LCC community gathered together in a heavy and emotional moment of silence to recognize the loss that had occurred due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was a moment of reflection and solidarity, as the community came together in peace and hope for a better future.
Please watch the video of the moment of silence here.
By Tetiana Lekhush (Intern for Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation)
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