Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, citizens, public stakeholders and security officials have sought ways to better cooperate across sectors and communities as part of a unified war effort to protect communities and utilize citizen participation in public emergency responses. On June 18-19, CEPPS/IRI hosted a “Youth Political Leadership Academy Seminar” to educate young participants of the importance of cooperation across military and civilian institutions and to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively engage with authorities in their own communities. The training took place in the city of Dnipro and included 26 participants, more than half of whom were women, from the Dnepropetrovsk region. In addition to focusing on increased collaboration and strengthening relationships across youth, government and state agencies, the training also addressed the specific legal features of martial law provisions, how emergency situations impact public and military institutions, and how civilians can lead in working with military administrations.
Youth participants were also able to better understand the legal frameworks and unique perspectives of various civilian and security institutions through structured simulations and exercises. CEPPS/IRI’s trainers and experts also discussed their own experiences interacting with authorities in emergency situations and provided youth participants with the tools to effectively work with officials and strengthen citizen participation during emergency responses in their own communities. In addition to this Seminar, leaders of the Ukraine chapter of the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) are working with multi-generational members of underrepresented groups, including women, LGBTQI+, and people with disabilities for greater political inclusivity and to build networks for the next generation of politically active Ukrainians.