Olga Kurylenko and Expert magazine promoting philanthropy in Ukraine


Caroline Hartnell


Caroline Hartnell

Caroline Hartnell

I have just come back from a one-day philanthropy conference in Kiev. Organized by Expert, one of Ukraine’s 11 or 12 business magazines, this was the country’s first ever major philanthropy conference – though Expert has been running annual corporate social responsibility conferences for three years now. The majority of the 150 or so people attending came from corporate foundations, with a sprinkling of private donors and NGOs.

But growth of the philanthropy sector faces formidable obstacles in Ukraine. Mistrust of wealthy people and all their doings runs deep, as in other Former Soviet Union countries. In addition, the lack of trust between sectors is striking. A workshop session on social partnerships made quite clear that the last thing most people running a foundation want is a partnership with anyone else – from government, business or media, or even the NGO sector.

This conference, bringing together corporate foundations, private donors, media and some NGOs, may be a first step towards a greater rapprochement between the sectors. The very visible presence at the event of Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko, best known as the ‘Bond girl’ in the most recent James Bond film Quantum of Solace, and her clearly sincere interest in philanthropy, may also help. Kurylenko is everything that the wealthy oligarchs are not – young, beautiful, and untainted by association with the privatization of state assets. The December issue of Alliance will include a fuller report on the conference and an interview with Olga Kurylenko.

Tagged in: Expert magazine Olga Kurylenko Ukraine

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