Saturday, January 27, 2018
Caux scholar returns with new insights to build peace in Ukraine

The Caux Scholars Program is a wonderful concept. The idea of bringing together diverse young people from different parts of the world, exposing them to one another and to different experiences is truly brilliant.

Presentations by my peers on conflicts in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan and other places which seemed so far away before, now became very real to me.

 I found so much in common with each participant, especially with the presenter from Syria/Armenia We supported one another. other, because it was very exhausting and difficult emotionally for each one.

In my own presentation, I was really glad to speak for our (Ukrainian) political prisoners in Russia. Also, the time spent not just in the classes, but also in activities such as hikes, a trip to the UN Headquarters, and working at the conference offered us more opportunities for learning and bonding. 

I have gained many insights from our classes. For example, I discovered that one aspect of identity becomes bigger than others after a traumatic event. After the Russian invasion, my Ukrainian identity has become more important than ever.

At times I felt extremely overwhelmed and not capable of absorbing more information or emotions. Yet, participating in this program was a rich, powerful experience.

I returned to Calgary determined to to be further involved with the Initiatives of Change work in Canada and Ukraine. I want to launch the Ukrainian internally displaced children’s participation in the CATS (Children as Actors in Transforming Society) program in Caux, and to contribute to peace in Ukraine.

Ganna (Anna) Zhakarova, Calgary (originally from Ukraine)