This article was originally published online for Ukraine Today by Dr. Lada Roslycky, Director of Strategic Communications at Ukraine today. Click here to be re-redirected to the original post
Last week was the first week of spring 2016. It was also the first time the Odesa Security Forum took place. Ukraine Today was the proud media partner of the first ever Odesa Security Forum. The event was co-organized by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, The Odesa Regional Council and sponsored by the NATO Information and Documentation Center, The Black Sea Trust Fund and the Pridunavie Charitable Foundation. The forum took place under Chatham House rules and brought well over 60 top security experts and opinion makers from around the world. Very few people outside of this area of expertise recognize or understand the value of the Black Sea Region, and the role it plays in geopolitics and international peace. A cross-road between East and West, North and South has a centrifugal effect in countries as far away as Venezuela and China.
There was something uniquely special about this event. Not only was it the 1st Odesa Security Forum, its speakers and participants, have a proven track-record of dedication to international peace and justice. With the exception of those whose mandate prevented them from speaking freely, most spoke sincerely and candidly about the war in Ukraine, the dangers of Russian propaganda and the hypocrisy of state and non-state actors in this time of so-called hybrid war.
Eight panels within two days considered issues such as the geopolitical situation in the Black Sea region and asked if it is a centrifugal security crisis? The successes and failures in security cooperation in the Black Sea region were also considered in light of separatism, conflicts and the continuing wars in the region and Syria.
Communication was considered from two main angles: a weapon of war and instrument for peace. Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Finance Artem Shevalyev was a keynote speaker on a panel dedicated to the considerations of International Economic Development & Cooperation.
Importantly, Odesa and the region of Odesa are positioned in a very strategic manner. The area has the potential and ability to play a lead role in the development of international trade (think: The New Silk Route) as well as a connector to other democratic states in the European Union. Its energy, infrastructure & development capabilities, and needs were presented. They were at the very least intriguing.
No Odesa Security Forum would be complete without the consideration of transnational organized crime. Under the Chairmanship of Deputy Governor of Odesa, whose father was the former Prime Minister most reputably known for implementing controversially harsh economic and social reforms in Russia, the aspects of transnational organized crime were considered. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the issue of cybercrime sprung to the foreground.
What made this event particularly unique is that it also identified ways forward and speakers provided solutions. We at Ukraine Today can proudly announce that many of these men and women agreed to be recorded providing one hybrid solution to a specific security problem. We are excited about the fact that we will be sharing the video with you soon. Rather than publishing a post-conference book, Ukraine Today has taken a unique approach to spreading the words and positive ideas of security experts. It will be a tradition uniquely belonging to the Odesa Security Forum to offer the public a short video compilation of “hybrid” solutions to matters affecting the security of Odesa, Ukraine, the Black Sea Region and the world at large.
Ukraine Today will offer you special insight into the matters that were discussed during this two-day forum, and we will provide you access to hybrid solutions. Their positive energy, frankness combined with expert knowledge and a sincere desire to realize justice and peace, are bound to have a butterfly effect for peace; a reminder to us that as the period of rebirth begins on this planet, all that we must is be the change we wish to see in the world.