Track III Dialogues in Ukraine - Trends and Challenges
"Track III Dialogues in Ukraine - Major Trends and Challenges” was a collaborative research project carried out in 2016-2017 by the Center for Peace Mediation and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in EU Studies at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine.
The project was the first research-based attempt to better understand the difficulties in dialogues on civil society level in Ukraine with the explicit goal to build a scientific basis for systematic responses to these difficulties.
Following an action research approach, the project engaged Ukrainian and international mediation and dialogue practitioners in the analysis of challenges and strategies to tackle them.
The empirical data collected in the course of the project revealed six patterns and possible related risks:
1) Different dialogue concepts and an overuse of the term “dialogue“ risk to undermine its value
2) A focus on “technical” instead of “existential” issues bears unclear risks
3) A geographical focus on the East of Ukrainian/Government controlled territories risks further societal polarization
4) A focus on mainstream political views in dialogues risks further exclusion of “the other Ukrainians”
5) A quantitative overrepresentation of women at track III is not leading to their qualitative influence
6) Dialogues that are not embedded in sustainable project strategies risk to have low impact
Starting point of the project was an Expert Round Table (ERT I), hosted by the Center for Peace Mediation in March 2016. It brought together international experts, who have been conducting mediation or dialogue activities in Ukraine, to discuss hypotheses on the reasons for the observed difficulties. The Discussion Paper "Challenges to Mediation and Dialogue in Ukraine: Distrust in Procedures and A Dysfunctional Market" (English / Ukrainian) put together the insights of the Round Table.
In the course of 2016 and 2017, Tatiana Kyselova conducted two focus-groups and 40 semi-structured qualitative interviews with Ukrainian and international dialogue facilitators, dialogue participants and individuals from organizations such as the OSCE and the United Nations and international donor organizations active in Ukraine, to further explore possible reasons for challenges dialogue activities on Track III (civil society/grass roots level) are facing.
In November 2016, the research team met with Ukrainian and international mediation and dialogue experts for an interactive focus group and a brainstorm session. Subject of the focus group was a series of open questions that came out of the Expert Round Table I and the field interviews carried out in Ukraine in summer 2016.
At a second Expert Round Table (ERT II) in May 2017 in Kyiv, a policy paper draft and tentative recommendations deriving from the research were feedbacked by Ukrainian and international dialogue facilitation experts. The final policy paper “Track III Dialogues in Ukraine: Major Patterns and Resulting Risks” summarizes the main findings and illustrates its implications.
The research report "Track III Dialogues in Ukraine: Full Research Report" provides a more comprehensive account of the key findings and quotes from interviews as well as of the methodical approach taken in the project.
The project was supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Tatiana Kyselovas' research was funded by the EU Seventh Framework programme for research and innovation under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609402 - 2020 researchers: Train to Move (T2M).