Main pageReportsReport from 2010 Annual meeting of the social network NGO "League of Professional Women" (LPW) & «Life Story Journal» Conference 16/09/2010 in Kyiv

Report from 2010 Annual meeting of the social network NGO "League of Professional Women" (LPW) & «Life Story Journal» Conference 16/09/2010 in Kyiv

The LPW Current Projects and Initiatives

Lazorenko Olena, LPW President, is opening the 2010 Annual meeting introducing the quests and saying that the conference is attended by the LPW members from Kiev and Kiev region, Kharkiv, Chernigiv, Symy, Lviv and Bonn.

There are two issues on the agenda today: 13th annual LPW meeting, with the results of the LPW Board Members voting to be announced at the end of the meeting and the highlight of the conference is “Life Story Journal” (see more on

The guest speakers are going to be men and women of different nationalities. Representatives of Ukraine, Germany, Norway and the USA working in international relations, mass media and public sphere are going to share their life stories. Upon completion of the conference we are going to have the reception.

I`d like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the organizations that supported the idea initiated by the LPW, namely dvv international Ukraine and the host of the event U-Media Ukraine, Internews Network. We are grateful that our guest speakers found time in their busy schedules to come and share their life stories.

The event is the fist stage of the LPW project held under the Week of Adult Education (“Life Story Journal” Conference) and supported by the dvv international Ukraine to be followed by marketing research of the providers of adult education (our research component) and research of socially vulnerable and marginalized groups in Poltava and Lviv regions. The third stage of the project implementation is setting up working group on adult education jointly with the representatives of public bodies, employers and research centers. The fourth stage is participation in European conference on adult education.

Another project to be implemented this fall is training “Equal Employment Opportunities” based on the technique of the ILO jointly with the Confederation of the Employers of Ukraine supported by the ILO/ EU to be held on October 28-29 in Kiev. The LPW members form Kiev and Chernigov region are welcome to participate.

The LPW is pleased to announce the following initiatives:
  1. Project on trade and gender dealing with the gender aspect in Euro Atlantic trade relations of Ukraine targeted at mass media. Currently we are seeking to find regional partner and funding.
  2. Preparing a written version of “Life Story Journal” and we are hoping to include the representatives of business sector into the list of our guest speakers.

We are going to have voting on the LPW Board Members 2010-2012. The LPW Board composition: President - Olena Alexandrovna Lazorenko, ICC director and senior scientific researcher of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, her mandate is valid until 2015, Information Network Coordinator and Fundraising - Natalia Vasiljevna Martynenko, expert, the EU project, Business Committee Coordinator - Natalie Nikolajevna Gurieva, representative in Ukraine The Leading Hotels of the World, International Relations Coordinator - Sue Folger, Regional Manager NIS, COP U-Media Ukraine, Internews Network Ukraine.

Head of the Consultative Group: (advisory voice on the Board) Elena Vladimirovna Lazorenko, professor, independent political consultant è Head of the Revision Commission ((advisory voice on the Board) Valentina Grigoreijevna Legkaja, executive director of the Association of Accountants and Auditors of Ukraine. Vacant is the position on the LPW members’ coordinator.

Congratulations on extending the mandates until 2012.

The LPW Board for 2010-2012

Conference «Life Story Journal»

Elena Lazorenko: As a motto of today’s conference I`d like to recall the words of a famous philosopher who said that life is a play and no matter how long it is the point is how you act in it. Today we are honored to have people who became successful not because of money, origin or their inborn talents. They are self-made people. I am sure these stories will become models to follow for everybody who is determined to succeed, keen on self-improvement. I believe the stories you’re going to hear today will boost confidence among those in doubt. These stories is our contribution into the National week of adult learning in Ukraine.

Hopefully later we are going to have them published. Before we move over to Q and A let me introduce a moderator Rodion Kolyshko, head of the department, Industrial Group consortium and the legal issues advisor at the Employers Confederation of Ukraine and Elena Lazorenko, ICC director, senior researcher at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine & LPW President.

Rodion Kolyshko: For the last 15 years Elena Lazorenko has been involved in social research and training activity the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and works as a director of the “International Consulting Company” Ltd. (ICC) Kyiv, Ukraine. She published five manuals on political theory, social capital and CSR. It was CSR that prompted the cooperation with the Confederation of the Employers. Elena got excellent education and keeps developing her professional skills and knowledge. She received Ph.D. from National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, did postgraduate courses and trainings in Management and Organizational Behavior in Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (USA); Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, (UK); Lovanium Catholic University, (Belgium). This year she has received her third ILO training certificate.

Elena Lazorenko: Rodion Kolyshko was at the outset of one of the most powerful associations in Ukraine- Confederation of the Employers. He is an expert in comparative and national labor and social law. Has published dozens of articles on these subjects. He is actively involved in CSR issues, was one of the founders of one of the most powerful Confederation of the Employers of Ukraine, an expert in national and comparative law. He is an author of dozens of articles in law. He is actively participating on CSR processes in Ukraine globally and nationally. Rodion took an active part in the committee on the development of ISO 26 000 standards and is currently working as a scientific secretary of the working group on developing national concept of CSR at the Parliament Committee on Industry, regulatory policy and entrepreneurship. Rodion has a PhD in Law, until recently worked at Kiev Shevchenko University, teaches law at the Institute of International Relations.

«Life Story Journal» Conference speeches on September 16, 2010

International Relations

Ms. Ricarda Rieger, Country Director, UNDP Ukraine (Germany)

I spent my childhood in exotic countries. As I was very young, I didn’t have any choice and couldn't change either the place of birth or the countries I lived in, but I don't have any regrets. I spent three years in India to be followed by three years in Germany and then two years in Nepal. These were extremely educational years of my life and had an enormous influence on the choice of my profession.

My family lived in the city of Vadanacy, the center of Hindu culture. I was the only foreigner at school and had to learn Hindi quickly and at the age of six I started interpreting for my parents. I spent two years at a girls' public school in Nepal. At school we were often punished for spending insufficient time praying since there were wars going on, people were suffering and there were other social issues. Basically it was the years I spent in Nepal and India that molded my life principles and values and formed the desire to help people, as I saw how hard the life of people there was. I think I was lucky to have finished English school where dominating were the principles of international understanding.

In addition to formal education, my parents were keen on giving me informal education and instead of traveling around Nepal we could spend two months in Germany but had to get there on our own. In December 1974 I was getting to Germany through countries and continents and I actually saw the history of British -Afghani and British-Pakistani relations with my own eyes - I was only 6 years old then - and today when I watch the TV coverage of floods, wars and other calamities in Afghanistan or Pakistan I have images of these places as I remember them since the journey.

Another thing I can't forget is crossing the Eastern German boarder and extremely bureaucratic procedure of passport control. We had a special car-plate and that made it even worse. Despite my young age then, I realized what bureaucracy was and I wanted to change the system to make it more humane.

By the time I finished school I was sure that I wanted to live and work abroad. It looked that the first thing you had to do for that is to study foreign languages, in my case it was Chinese and Hindi but my parents and my parents' friends believed that I could study languages anytime and thought that I should take up something more sensible. My father is an economist and that was a decisive factor for the choice of my profession. In other words, I wanted to please him and picked up Economics. Later, in my fifth and sixth term when I started developing health problems I was sorry about it and often talked about this with my Dad. Eventually, I decided to make a carrier in economics but where the name of my father wasn't known and I turned my eyes to the UNO.

… I enjoy my work and I am happy I made this choice. In 1989 I was offered to go either to North Korea or Liberia. Since I had never lived in a socialist country and it was unlikely that I could live in East Germany, I chose North Korea. I've been to many countries. Having graduated from the department of Economics I have always tried to merge economics and common sense, at the same time I was focused more on management and environmental protection issues. I got a certificate on environmental management and have always been able to apply knowledge in my UN service.

The UNO officers should rotate after four-five years they spent in the country. Every UN officer has to apply for a position. I spent four and a half years in the Philippines then in Cambodia and when the question of a new country cropped up I decided to change the region and applied for a position in Africa and Europe. European office was quicker to process the papers and thus I was offered the vacancy in Ukraine. I am very happy to have received it, firstly, Ukraine is an exotic country but it is situated in Europe and is part of European culture and history. I have been telling my children about European traditions for years and I am very happy that now my children can see them with their own eyes.

I have two sons, both were born in Germany but one of them considers himself a Pilipino another believes that he is a Cambodian. My kids are my constant inspiration but there is another person whom I greatly admire, it is my 70-year old aunt. She has been a housewife all her life but when her husband died, she joined an NGO in Romania, got driving license and now she is collecting medicines and delivers them herself to Romania. To save money, as she doesn't have much, she drives her truck and spends nights in the car on the highway as long- distance truck drivers do. By the way, she came to visit me here in Ukraine having spent 36 hours on the train. I admire what my aunt does and I often think that she does more in terms of helping other people than I do in my job having a good salary and good retirement benefits.

Mr. Olav Berstad, Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Ukraine (Norway)

I was quite young when I realized the key advantaged of free society: it gives equal opportunities for personal development irrespective of gender, origin, financial well being of your parents and other things. That's what you can clearly see in Norway, the country with the highest employment rate. Equal employment and educational opportunities are quaranteed here by law. It has always been like that, including the time when I was at high school.

I believe that when I visited the Soviet Union for the first time when a student the most striking thing was the sharp contrast with Norway. I was keen to see the country but when I did happen to be in Leningrad I was overwhelmed with what I saw. I couldn’t believe that such beauracratic and restricted world like the Soviet Union could exist. I stayed in Leningrad for five months that had a big influence on the choice of my activity.

Then I studied ancient archeology at Lund (Sweden) and I remain dedicated to this field even now. I am interested in history, namely Kievan Rus, I like music, etc.

But my work remains my main hobby. I have been in diplomatic service since 1980 and it takes most of my time. I have worked and traveled to many countries, to name a few, Ankara, Washington, New Orleans, Moscow and Baku. Naturally I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and three kids.

Public Sphere

Ms. Olena Velichko, Head of Department, State Security and Stock Market Commission of Ukraine (Ukraine)

I am an active and energetic person by nature. I believe that there is no hobby group or type of activity I wasn't involved in when a child. Unfortunately I couldn't play piano or any other musical instrument as I didn't have ear for music but I was talented enough o dance and sing in the choir. I was in a constant search of new adventures and activity and it was my driving force in childhood and what remains a motivating factor now. I have been learning all my life. My mother is a teacher, my father is a scholar but they never lectured me what to do. I was the one who took the decisions. Moreover, when at school I always did my Math on my own, even when I had a difficulty my Dad would explain it to me and then he 'd destroy the notes for me to start it from the scratch on my own. He kept saying that if I understood how to do it, I'd be able to cope with it on my own. It was a good lesson for me.

I combined school with ballet dancing and it wasn't easy if I wanted to have good grades at school, so I missed a lot of dancing classes but when I happened to be at the dance contest at the House of Pioneers I was so keen to participate in it that I convinced my partner into it, I found a dress and shoes that were two sizes smaller but I did it! I could always got what I wanted, and my family has always supported me in tit and these are the most important things for me.

I was unique in a way, as to my PhD research since it is directly connected with….. flower production and gardening. I think my PhD was the most beautiful as it was represented with the samples of all flowers grown at 25 businesses of Ukraine.

Institute of National Economy gave me a necessary impetus for further development. When a student at Trade economic University I was actively involved in the activity of the Young Communist League and by the fourth year of my study there I became a course leader. I was an intern at one of the best enterprises then- Central Department Store – that was going through the process of automatization and my diploma paper was one of the best at the university. People could hardly imagine I could combine work and study but I did it.

I also got married and had a daughter when I graduated. Six months after the graduation I took a teaching job at the Trade professional school. I had to grow up quickly as at the age of 25 I had to teach Control and Audit, I was the youngest instructor!

But that's not the only field of my activity. In addition to teaching I am a civil servant. I keep retraining and refreshing my knowledge in Audit. I am an assistant professor at the chair of accounting and people say I am a good boss. I take these were the reasons for my colleague and an old friend to invite me to work at the State Commission on Securities and Stock Market. Securities market is dynamically developing and it is appealing to me. Though I was invited to work as an expert in auditing and accounting, I seem to be involved in a variety of other things that are fascinating and enjoyable to do.

This is also a source of knowledge to share with my students. I try to find time for the family too, actually the story of my family could be an idea for the novel. For you to have an idea: my oldest daughter and my husband’s son got married and have three kids. When the eldest granddaughter was born, my husband and I were in the USA on a World Bank Program and the name for her was offered by Mr Parhomenko, a leading accountant of the country. Then my daughter, and she is no less active than I am, decided that they should have a boy. Here you are, she had twins. She is an active Mommy, a qualified accountant and auditor and now she decided to publish a magazine for parents.

Mr. Olexiy Miroshnichenko, Executive Vice-President of Confederation of Employers of Ukraine (Ukraine).

I was born in a small town of miners in the center of Ukraine. I saw the mines and other industrial enterprises, young people didn't have much to do there then. My father was a miner and my mother worked in the library. I do remember the smell of books even now you can’t mix it with anything. The next thing I do remember is my school. Teamwork makes you follow the rules of the game and sometimes tame your ambitions for the sake of accomplishing the goals.

In 1976 I finished school and entered Voroshilovgrad Flying school and when the time to take oath came I realized that it wasn't my cup of tea. My parents were very disappointed with my decision but I made up my mind and moved to Kiev. I entered the Institute of construction, and that was a random choice, but the profession of an engineer specializing in geodesy seemed to be romantic. I made wonderful trips to Kamchatka, Georgia, to the north of the country and Vologodskaya region.

Then I got into routine construction work, namely residential area of Trojenschina. I recall the days I spent in the army when I was offered a job at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the department of construction. Ukraine became independent and the Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrial Workers was formed and in 1993 I started my carrier there. Nobody had a clear idea about the organization then but I saw incredible opportunities there. Our organization took part in the presidential elections then and upon elections practically everybody joined the Administration and in fall 1994 we started hiring new staff. The work at the Association broadened my horizons, especially memorable were the trips to Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland where I heard the word employer for the first time. I didn't even know how to translate it and came across some opposition when promoting the notion. Some people couldn't believe that we 'd have the term in Ukrainian but my colleagues and I were determined and developed the Law on employers in 1999. It took us two year to overcome the resistance and opposition and in 2001 it was approved. We started to cooperate with the trade unions and in 1999 we concluded the general agreement between the trade unions, the Association and the Cabinet of ministers. It was for the first time when we started talking about salaries, living standards, labor conditions and other important issues. In 2001 I headed the Service of the Prime Minister Kinah.

Looking back, I can say that the key and crucial events are yet to happen in my life. My colleagues and I are actively working on introducing changes into the educational system. My colleague, who is in charge of Finnish programs, told me once that within last three years in Finland special attention is paid to life learning and I'd like to do smth about it in Ukraine. Currently these issues as well as the Law on the national system of qualification are severely opposed to but we are determined to implement it.

It seems to me that the weak spot in the system of education in Ukraine is quality. The main thing education should provide is skills and our system of education fails to do it. It is strange that 60% new employers are graduates of an high school and not professional educational establishments. Ukraine is a leader in terms of the number of educational establishments and spends a lot of money on education. This system should be changed as it doesn't provide for desirable results. Moreover the work loads on the teachers at school in Ukraine is probably the lowest: on the average there are 13 pupils per one teacher and the cost of training one student is 5000-25 000. We are proud that there are 500-600 students in professional schools in Ukraine, just to compare with 25 000-40 000 in Scandinavian countries. This field is extremely interesting and complex and has turned from job into the focus of my life. I also like to drive through Europe and Ukraine, very often without the GPS to stay open for new and unexpected things I see when traveling.

Media Sphere

Ms. Sue Folger, Regional Manager NIS, COP U-Media Ukraine, Internews Network (USA)

I think school was the best period of my life. I was born and grew up in Vermont, the state where there are more cows than people. My father was a Professor of Biology and my mother worked as a teacher at school and at family dinners they kept talking about their students. It was in secondary school when I started learning Russian. In 1975 I visited Moscow and Leningrad and when I happened to be in Red Square in February I fell in love with what I saw there. My secondary education was also focused on art and theatre. I keep painting today too. I also love sports and consider team games a key component for understanding the nature of relationships between people and humane development.

At the university I added History to my interests and hobbies I had at school. I did Masters on Pushkin. Then I started traveling to Moscow and cooperating with Russian journalists. For ten years I used to work at various positions to include CBS and Vremja magazine. Thanks to the work on TV I traveled through the Soviet Union, met interesting journalists. When I came to New York, I worked at New York University at the chair of journalism and was actively involved in supporting various projects, once we organized an exchange of Russian and American journalists. While in New York and Moscow suddenly I felt an urge to go back home and I returned to my state and started working at the local university where I was involved in fund raising and educational programs abroad. In 2003 Internews agency, I was cooperating with when in Moscow, got in touch with me and offered this job. I was honored and happy to take the job. I had a son already and was looking forward to new job.

I have two younger brothers, one is a scientists, another is a chef. My mother died many years ago and my father remarried several times. In the last marriage he has two kids, so I have a sister and a brother. My eleven-year old son Charles is a smart and energetic guy, love sports, he plays soccer and rides the bike, that the passion we share with him, I love bicycle too. I like swimming, generally I love sports and young people going in for sports, they always have a goal. So I share my free time between mountain biking, theatre, concerts, knitting, sowing. But my favorite hobby is my work.

Mr. Vasyl Zorya, Chief Editor, "Narodny Deputat"/ "Peoples' Deputy"/ Magazine (Ukraine)

I can be called a child of perestroika. I spent fifteen years of my life during the stagnation and break-up of the Soviet Union. I wasn't directly affected by these processes as I was an ideal child for my parents, an A student at school but my friends and I started noticing that the Soviet system was falling apart. We listened to rock music and the radio stations that were banned then, we played the games that were against the existing political system, for instance we pretended as if we were gentry. We had our publishing house called, strange as it may seem, BUT. It was in 70s and I believe that perestroika gave me freedom. Many people are blaming Gorbachev but I believe that thanks to perestroika and then independence that we got as a result of it, I could work abroad for four years.

When working at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs I actually happened to be at the very top of a carrier of a diplomat: I got an assignment at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC. As part of the delegation I've been to Pentagon, the IMF head quarters, NASA, White House. I toolk 9/11 close to my heart, I had a feeling that I lost my dearest friends then. My stay in the USA was sort of a look into the future to see how the world is going to develop. I do remember my return to Ukraine in 1996, Independence Square and the sounds of Boney M roaring from the loudspeakers- all that looked like a setback into the past to the year of 1978. I remember how painful the process of developing freedom of speech was in Ukraine. I was invited to head the new program at state-controlled TV channel. Ukraine was visited by the president of Turkmenistan and one of the most important issues on the agenda was gas supply issues. Official message then was that gas would be soon supplied to Ukrainian cities and towns. When the viewer saw the images of Kuchma giving a hug to the president of Turkmenistan, the anchor was reading the news we developed that the gas wasn't to be supplied to Ukraine for lack of technical possibilities. Then I was to report about that to the prime-minister who was saying that our message was false. In six months there was a new prime-minister in Ukraine who said that even two months after the news was aired the gas wasn't supplied to Ukraine yet. That was a good example for me to understand the situation with the freedom of speech and it became the main reason for me to stay in journalism and give up diplomatic carrier.

So I chose my profession and career under the influence of the University and my foreign trips. Thanks to the university I met my beloved wife.

At hindsight, I think that trips abroad that I made had even bigger influence on my life. At the university we paid more attention to the history of the Communist party than Ancient Greece so life was a better teacher than the syllabus. During my first visit to DC we stayed at the hotel next to the place known for Watergate scandal that was the reason for Nixon impeachment. Later I was lucky to meet with Bob Woodward, one of the fathers of Watergate scandal.

I enjoyed participating in various scholarships and grants and thanks to one of them sponsored by the IMF I was honored to be among 186 other members including the prime-ministers of the member-states that took decisions of historic significance.

I witnessed the marches of antiglobalists, conflicts of interests regarding TNK. I absorbed all that and it gave me the freedom that I feel now in my activity.

I don't have much free time. Every member of my family either studies or works. I have a wonderful wife and two daughters, aged 20 and 24 they are independent. Every of them got an invaluable experience. My wife worked for the Library of Congress. One of the daughters was the winner of the English contests for three years and I was on cloud nine for her. But when recently I asked her how much she was making at the Canadian Embassy she refused to answer. This is another sign of freedom we got thanks to perestroika, our independence and influence of western media. I had lengthy discussions with Mr Brzezinski and Mr Baltserovich about so called transition period. This is the notion that combines the remains of the past and the future that hasn't come yet.

In 2003 I was actually the only Ukrainian journalist who was in Tbilisi during the revolution of roses. When a year later I saw what was happening in Ukraine I realized that the future hadn't come yet as the young people were not ready to support it yet. I wasn't allowed to show the film about Saakashvily on Ukrainian TV, I was to edit the movie without the permission of the producer, unprecedentent case. And it was the movie where Saakashvily was speaking about the friendship with Ukraine, about the possibility for our country to become a regional center of freedom and opposition to Russian influence. I did show the movie and half a year later I changed the job.


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