About the Event
- Serhiy Leshchenko, Hanna Hopko, and Oleksandr Solontay, Recipients of the 2014 NDI Democracy Award
With an introduction by:
- Nadia Diuk, National Endowment for Democracy
Ukraine has experienced its most politically dynamic year since becoming independent. Within a matter of months, civic activists who were protesting on the Maidan ran in pre-term parliamentary elections and now have the opportunity and responsibility to play a more direct role in shaping their country’s future. The decision to enter party politics has created new opportunities yet a myriad of challenges remain.
About the Speakers
Hanna Hopko, a newly elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is a civic activist and journalist from Lviv. She helped to coordinate two prominent civic initiatives: the “Smoke Free Ukraine” coalition and, more recently, the “Reanimation Package of Reforms,” an innovative and successful effort to promote legislative changes inspired by Euromaidan. She serves on the boards of Bogomolets National Medical University, the Okhmatdyt National Children’s Specialized Hospital, and the Anti-Corruption Center. She has also been involved with the Space of Freedom movement, the Life Regional Advocacy Center, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Bureau of Environmental Investigations, and the expert council of an inter-factional parliamentary group on spirituality, morality and health. Ms. Hopko ran for parliament at the top of the Samopomich (Self-Reliance) party’s list and was recently named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers of 2014.
Serhiy Leshchenko is a Kyiv-based investigative journalist, blogger and press freedom activist who was elected to parliament in October. Since 2000, he has reported on politics for Ukrainska Pravda, where he is deputy editor-in-chief and specializes in anti-corruption investigations. Mr. Leshchenko’s journalistic contributions have been recognized by Poland’s Foundation of Reporters, Reporters Without Borders, the Norwegian Fritt Ord Foundation and the German ZEIT Foundation. He was a Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in 2013-2014. He is the author of two books, The American Saga of Pavlo Lazarenko and Mezhygirya Syndrome of Viktor Yanukovych, both about corruption of government officials. Mr. Leshchenko ran successfully for parliament as one of the youngest candidates on the list of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko.
Oleksandr Solontay is a civil society, local governance and community organizing activist from Zakarpattia. He serves as an expert and lecturer at the Institute of Political Education in Kyiv. He was central to mobilizing activities in Independence Square and organizing Euromaidan SOS, a volunteer group that coordinated assistance during the Revolution of Dignity. His background includes service as a deputy of the Uzhhorod city council and the Zakarpattia regional council. He has authored manuals for new politicians and local council deputies, books on community development and combating corruption, and policy recommendations on state funding of civil society organizations. He has been an active leader among Ukraine’s youth movement, including founding several volunteer groups and co-authoring Ukraine’s current youth policy. Mr. Solontay ran for parliament on the list of the People’s Force party, a group that he helped to establish.