On the 16-19th of July, Ukrainian Students for Liberty hosted the very first European Students for Liberty Eastern European Retreat (EER), which gathered 30 brightest advocates of liberty from 4 countries and 8 biggest Ukrainian regions. The four-day long retreat held in a small village on the outskirts of Kyiv marked the beginning of a close transborder cooperation between the leaders of today and tomorrow and resulted in a number of great ideas about making this world a better place to live in.
Team building lies at the core of every successful organisation or movement. Its importance is primary, which is why the first day of the EER was dedicated to networking and filled with a variety of team building activities. “To recognise and make the best out of the strengths and weaknesses of every team member” – was chosen as the motto of the EER networking sessions.
On the second day, the USFL newcomers started exploring SFL, its history, structure and numerous success stories while ESFL leaders brainstormed about the upcoming events and projects. During the day the participants were joined by Maryan Zablozkyy, who is a co-founder of Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation. His most informative lecture on lobbyism was followed by a case study on advocacy in libertarian movement presented by Deimantė Rimkutė, a local coordinator from Lithuania. The lectures provoked many questions and opened out a large debate, which then got fueled by a presentation of successes of Georgian Students for Liberty and a speech on SFL’s role in libertarian movement delivered by Kevin Flanagan, ESFL Local Coordinator Programme Manager.
The power of workshops, which give a precious opportunity not only to learn something new, but also to practice it can never be overrated. The third day of the EER offered each leader a chance to find out how he/she can contribute to the SFL movement and what can be expected in return. Blogging, photoshop, public speaking and the biggest one on marketing held by Julia Kril, a local coordinator from Ukraine, definitely stand out among the EER sessions. As one of the USFL leaders pointed out, “No other student organisation provides so many tools for self-development.”
Social evenings also contributed a lot to making the EER unforgettable. “Our discussions about liberty during the socials were at times more interesting than sessions,” – wrote in the post-EER evaluation form one of the USFL leaders in Lviv.
Eastern European Retreat 2017 is just the beginning! Yet what a bright one!