How can Ukrainian students and youth play a constructive role in design and implementation of political reforms now and through to 2020?

Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv launch essay competition for Ukrainian students and youth.

Students catalysed the Euromaidan and provided vital energy and commitment to keep the pressure for reform on the government. The creative force of students and youth remains a vital complement to civil society’s role in pushing for and holding the government accountable for delivering meaningful results from reforms.  Are they ready to take on that role?  Do they have the tools? What must happen to enable students and youth to engage constructively and affect the outcomes of the political reform process? 


DRI and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv are holding an essay contest for Ukrainian students and youth to catalyse constructive reflections on their role in the political reform process and feed these views into the ongoing public debate about ways of reforming Ukraine. Students of undergraduate and graduate programmes from all over Ukraine are invited to submit short essays of up to 600 words answering the following question “What can students and young people do to play a constructive role in design and implementation of political reforms - now and through 2020?”


DRI and Taras Shevchenko University will support entries that are well-researched, based on critical thinking, forward-looking, socially responsible and outlining concrete examples of student and youth engagement in the reform process.  The author of the winning entry will be invited to present their essay at the forum organised by DRI, Taras Shevchenko University and the Reanimation Package of Reforms on 14 November in Kyiv as well as at the follow-on forum in Brussels or Berlin later this year[1].


Essay contest rules


1.        The contest is open to any student of undergraduate or graduate degree programmes in law or political science in Ukraine.


2.        The essay must be an original piece of work, free of any plagiarism. The essay must not have been previously published either in full or in part.


3.        All entries must be in English.


4.        Entries must be submitted in Microsoft Word format. The document must contain the entrant’s full name, age, postal and e-mail address, course of study and the name and address of the institution.


5.        All entries must be sent by e-mail to before 11 November 2014.


6.        Authors of all submissions must be available to participate in the Kyiv forum on 14 November at their own cost.


7.        The selection committee made up of representatives of Taras Shevchenko University, DRI and the youth movement “Roby Vybory” will be particularly looking for originality of ideas, feasibility of outcomes, depth of analysis and good presentation.


8.        The author of the essay retains the copyright of the respective work, but DRI and Taras Shevchenko University reserve the right to print, reprint, and distribute all essays in their entirety or in parts.


9.        All participants are asked to indicate whether they are in possession of a Schengen visa allowing travel to Schengen countries in December 2014.




This competition is part of the project implemented by DRI together with Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv to contribute to a transparent legal reform process in Ukraine that chimes with public demands for change. The project explores reform design options based on international standards, comparative examples and Ukrainian context and highlights recommendations by international bodies, in particular the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. The project is funded through a grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



[1] Provided visa formalities can be settled.