This episode was recorded as a live broadcast on the 28th September 2021.
Natalia Antelava – Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning news start-up Coda Story. Originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, Natalia started her career freelancing in West Africa. Following that, she was the BBC’s resident correspondent in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, Washington DC and India. She covered the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, the war in Eastern Ukraine and reported undercover from Burma, Yemen and Uzbekistan. Her investigations into human rights abuses in Central Asia, Iraq and the United States have won her a number of awards and an Emmy nomination. In addition to a career in broadcast journalism, Natalia has also written for the Guardian, Forbes magazine and the New Yorker among others.
On the panel:
Vadym Prystaiko – Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK since June 2020. With an extensive career in Ukrainian diplomacy spanning over 25 years, Vadym has held numerous highly respected positions such as Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO, as well as Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada.
Melinda Simmons – UK Ambassador to Ukraine. Melinda joined her Majesty’s Civil Service in 2003, and served various roles in the Department for International Development, including as Department Head for Southern Africa, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, and for Europe, and Deputy Director for the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review. She then spent three years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Deputy Director of the Conflict Department. Melinda came to the role of Ambassador to Ukraine from the National Security Secretariat, where she served as the Director of the Joint Funds Unit.
Olha Stefanishyna – Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine since June 2020. Olha is the only female DPM and one of two female members of the Ukrainian Government. Olha is responsible for coordinating Ukraine’s integration to the EU and NATO, and for implementing the SDGs in Ukraine with special focus on gender equality. She has over 13 years’ experience in International and European Law, and previously served as a Director General in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. At just 34 years of age, she is known as one of the most qualified “euro-integrators” of Ukraine. Olha has a Master’s Degree in International law and a Diploma in economics, studied at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and at the Estonian School of Diplomacy.
Marcin Święcicki – Business Ombudsman of Ukraine. Marcin is a Polish politician and economist. He is a former deputy minister of economy, former minister for foreign economic relations as well as a former Mayor of Warsaw. From 2011 – 2019, Marcin was a Member of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) and the Deputy Chair of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Group. From 2007 to 2011, Marcin chaired the EU-UNDP ‘Blue Ribbon’ project in Kyiv. During 2014-2014, Marcin advised the Ukrainian government on decentralisation reform, which was launched as part of the systemic reforms following the Revolution of Dignity.
Yuliya Tychkivska – Executive Director of Aspen Institute Kyiv. Yuliya is a civic activist in Ukraine and a founder of the Open University of Maidan. She is also a co-founder of the Ukrainian think tank Bendukidze Free Market Center. Yuliya has served as a Vice President at Kyiv School of Economics for four years, and has worked as a Head of the advisory group for the Ukrainian Minister of Economic Development and Trade. In 2018, Yuliya was chosen by Forbes as one of the top 30 under 30 in Europe in the Law and Policy field.