On August 17th, 2021, the NATO Association of Canada is proud to host veteran Ukrainian stateswoman, Dr Hanna Hopko, to discuss one of Europe’s most pressing political questions. As Ukraine seeks to protect its territory from further Russian aggression, Vladimir Putin has labelled Ukrainian membership as a “red line” and hinted at armed hostilities. Meanwhile, NATO leaders have cast ambiguity over membership prospects and posed high bars for internal reform to continue the process. Dr Hopko, in conversation with NAOC Research Analyst Arjun Singh, will share her thoughts on the prospects of Ukraine both reforming and integrating with Europe amidst Russian threats, as well as prescriptions for accelerating the process. Her insights will lift the veil off corruption, aggression and social tensions in Ukraine, and herald the future of the political tinderbox in Eastern Europe.
Meet the Speakers
Dr Hanna Hopko is a Ukrainian politician, academic, journalist and social reform thinker. She was born in Hanachivka, Lviv Oblast in the then-Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 2004, she received a Master of Arts from Lviv University and, in 2009, a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in political communications. During this time, she worked as a journalist with Inter TV, Lux Radio and the First National TV channel – reporting on corruption, public health and environmental protection across Ukraine and Central Asia.
In 2014, Hopko became one of the leading young activists in the Euromaidan Movement, a year-long series of protests against corruption and alleged human rights violations under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, resulting in his removal from office. In new elections to the Verkhovna Rada, Hopko led the party-list of the Union Self-Reliance Party and was elected as a People’s Deputy. She was then appointed Chair of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, overseeing Ukraine’s ratification of the Rome Statute and legislation shifting Ukraine’s foreign relations towards closer ties with NATO and the European Union under the Yatsenyuk-II and Groysman governments. After being expelled from the Self-Reliance Party in 2015 for supporting constitutional amendments for greater federalization, she declined to seek re-election to the Rada in 2019.
Since leaving the Rada, Hopko has chaired ‘Democracy in Action’ and worked with the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, NGOs that support political reform efforts to combat corruption and monopolies in the country. In June of 2021, she organized the Zero Corruption Conference in Kyiv. She was named a Leading Global Thinker by Foreign Policy in 2014 and has previously participated in the World Economic Forum, Warsaw Security Forum and Munich Security Conference.
Arjun Singh is a Research Analyst and project coordinator with the NATO Association of Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Toronto where he specialized in political science, while also obtaining a major in international relations and minors in American studies and history. Previously, he has worked for the U.S. Department of State, the Parliament of India, the G7 & G20 Research Groups and Elections Canada. He currently writes on international security and the politics of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.