Ukrainian Leadership Academy
Ukrainian Leadership Academy is a values-based formative platform of personal and social development for young people. The Academy combines an annual program between school and university for motivated teenagers aged 16 to 20 and large-scale social projects for society.Become a student
is one of the leaders in engaging active youth and the most powerful youth leadership movement in Ukraine.
The Academy provides a year of opportunities for young people to discover the world and explore themselves
With us, teenagers learn how to work in a team, achieve goals, create projects, take responsibility for their lives and the future of the country, and choose their profession more consciously.
We create a community of responsible leaders who will be able to bring valuable change the country. Right now, together with students, we are implementing community initiatives that shape communities and unite active citizens in different parts of Ukraine.
What are the benefits of studying at the Academy to students?
The Academy is a space for experiments and the discovery of your talents. You will get a truly useful experience that will help you listen to your guts.
- Circle of like-minded people
- Awesome encounters
- Future profession
- World and Ukraine
- Adult life
You will be surrounded by like-minded people and will make friends for a lifetime
One year at the Academy will empower you with a community of peers from all over Ukraine who strive for self-development and getting from life the utmost it can provide instead of sitting at a school desk. Even now, our graduates support each other in finding their dream jobs and creating cool initiatives together.
You will meet awesome people
You will be taught by lecturers from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and UCU, graduates from Cambridge and Harvard, former ministers and members of the Verkhovna Rada, editors of well-known Ukrainian publications, directors of investment funds, and entrepreneurs.
You will decide on education and future profession
You will learn from the lecturers about entrepreneurship, financial management, philosophy, and psychology. You will have a chance to try yourself in SMM, design, and project creation. You will undertake an internship in organizations, enterprises, government authorities and communicate with people from various vocational fields: state officials, businessmen, scientists, media people, and artists.
You will see Ukraine and the world
You will explore Israel: you will see innovations, a progressive economy in the desert and you will learn the identity of a country at war. You will get to know the most influential institutions of the European Union: the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, NATO Headquarters, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, and you will get the opportunity to talk with their representatives face-to-face. You will also travel to several regions of Ukraine, where you will meet active citizens, local governments and entrepreneurs.
You will learn to live like an adult
Write a letter to the ambassador, meet with the minister or find the money for a project — you will perform practical tasks in which you will take responsibility, take serious challenges, and achieve ambitious goals. You will gain responsibility, trust and support to make your steps into adulthood more confident.
They will be surrounded by like-minded people and will make friends for a lifetime
What will your child be doing during the year?
The Academy offers an intensive schedule, which helps children work on self-discipline, as well as the ability to spend free time and take care of themselves in everyday life. They learn how to communicate with the country's top officials and their peers, make important decisions and take responsibility for themselves and others in real-world contexts.
The students will have two expeditions abroad — to Israel and Europe. They will meet with the representatives of NATO, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the World Health Organization, etc.
They will also travel to several regions of Ukraine, where they will be able to communicate with the representatives of local self-governments and businesses. During quarantine, students explore foreign countries online and travel countrywide by an individual bus and in compliance with all the safety requirements.
At the Academy, students find themselves in a safe and friendly environment where they can experiment, come up with ideas, make mistakes, and feel the support of peers and the team.
They will gain project management experience and a valuable network. They will see their power to achieve large-scale goals and will strive for more.
What do our graduates say?
At that time nobody heard about the Academy: there was no website, no graduates. That time, Roman Tychkivskyi and former Deputy Minister of Education of Israel Erez Eshel visited Kharkiv. They were so inspiring when talking about the Academy as Hogwarts in Ukraine, about the successful experience of Mechinot in Israel, that my parents and I believed them. And the Academy turned out to be a real fairy tale! We became ambassadors of Ukraine to Europe during an expedition to the Netherlands. We listened to the lecturers of the sky-high level: Yevhen Hlibovytskyi, Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, Yunona Lototska. Every day they conducted fact-checking of news and together we laughed at fakes about the Academy on Russian TV channels. Here I met Nataliia Popovych, the founder of One Philosophy, and I have been working as her assistant for three years now. I gained inner confidence, I consciously switched to Ukrainian and really understood why I love Ukraine.
The Academy helped me to reestablish contact with Ukraine. For 6 years I have been studying abroad — at the age when the personality is formed. At the Academy, I listened to the lectures of Yaroslav Hrytsak and Orysia Demska, co-organized a marathon named after the fallen soldier Igor Branovytskyi and talked to his fellowmen, talked about identity issues with peers. It reverted me to my roots. The course of financial literacy with Mykhailo Kolisnyk and meetings with entrepreneurs were of great value. One day we were given a non-trivial math problem and I was the first to solve it. It was the moment when I realized that I was really interested in finances. After that, I decided to become a financial expert, and now I work as an analyst in Horizon Capital investment company. My mission is to help Ukrainian companies conquer international markets and make them business champions.
"Never did I think you would do that," said the mentor barely keeping his tears when he saw our film about the Academy at graduation. Is was so inspiring! I have spent a year shooting short videos to capture our emotions and edited them together with my friend. So, a week before graduation, I decided that I wanted to become a director. This is still my goal. When studying at the Academy, I came up with the name of my future YouTube channel — "A Christian or a villain?". My father is a Greek Catholic priest, a Doctor of Canon Law, and I learned how to make videos. We are talking on provocative topics: is it OK to do the washing up on Sunday, is it necessary to wear a headscarf to church, is it possible to kill Putin? We have 4 thousand subscribers so far. This idea was born in the Academy — my whole current life is rooted in the Academy!
I came from occupied Crimea and I didn't know Ukrainian well. The Academy helped me to integrate. I got into the Ukrainian-speaking environment, was able to prepare for the external independent testing, and enter the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Thanks to the lectures of Mykhailo Vynnytskyi I understood that I want to study society, so I chose sociology. At the Academy, I understood that it entirely depends on me which benefits I can bring to my country. I was surrounded by very cool peers and mentors who became my family and keep inspiring me. I remember our night reflections with nostalgia — after these conversations, I began to treat myself and the world differently.
The Academy is a window of opportunities. The main thing is not to be afraid of using them wisely. I would always do my best to be active and ask a million questions during the classes. Some courses actually have changed my mindset. Once, I had a long talk with Valerii Pekar about integral dynamics and he offered me a job! That's when my life has changed forever. At the Euroindex Exhibition Company, I worked with large educational conferences and forums. After the Academy, I realized that I saw myself in educational management, so I continued working at the Lviv Business School of UCU, and later at the Lviv Educational Foundation. I am grateful to the Academy for showing direction for personal development and a community of value-based like-minded people. Here my values were formed, which are still my road map for life
"Reinterpret and do not become hostage to the situation," these words of Andrii Zelinskyi sank into my mind. I used to blame someone or something, I thought that "We are not like that but life is such". After the Academy, I clearly understood that everything was up on me. I had a narrow mind: I just wanted to become a programmer, because they earn a lot. At the Academy, I understood how diverse the world is. I became a fan of my small town in the Ternopil region, because I met people who love their cities. I want to come back to Berezhany, join the executive branch and do my best to make the city an attractive tourist destination.
I studied to become a translator, I was excited about learning, but not about the environment. At the Academy, I found a community of the same teenagers who were striving for development. At the Academy, I was able to do my favourite thing — translate and do it in public, as we went to Auschwitz or watched a movie at 3 a.m. when the Ambassador of Belgium or the former Deputy Minister of Education of Israel visited us. At no time did I have such a practice even at university!
One day a former security guard who painted ostrich eggs visited our Academy. He told us about exhibitions, collectors, how he makes a living doing that. It turns out that you can do such things and you will be appreciated! Thanks to these meetings, I understood that no matter who you are, there would always be a place for you in the world. There is no bureaucracy in the Academy. You feel like a human being, not a cog in the system. You don't take notes because you have to, but you listen to interesting people. The Academy stands on curiosity. You are not obliged to do anything. After this year the world seems to be bigger, but you have grown up as well and you can take it by storm.
I studied IT and already worked as a system administrator, but with time I lost my interest. I wanted to understand who I am and what I want and the Academy gave me a push. One day during some event, my mentor gave me her camera to take pictures. All followed by my first ever experience of shooting and editing a video from our trip. This is how I became a videographer of the Center. I loved it so much that my parents got me a camera. A few months after graduation I got the first commercial order from my Academy peer who worked for Valerii Pekar. It was wow! I have been doing photography for three years now and it has become my favourite hobby and the main source of income. At the Academy, I learned to communicate with different people so now I find it easy to talk to my models.
A manager of my Center once said, "It is less important to know the formula than to be able to find it." The Academy didn't provide answers but taught to find them through conversations with mentors and discussions with peers. Every morning I woke up with people who had goals. I can still remember our morning jogging among the pines in Pushcha-Vodytsia, motivating conversations during breakfasts. I learned to listen, trust, delegate and really work in a team.
During each expedition, I saw cool initiatives and fantastic people! I am talking about the young people, who created the "Friends" space and do something in Kostiantynivka daily, the town left by the majority of the population. I am talking about the guide from Chernihiv, who is raising money to restore the 11th-century church. I discovered Ukraine because I used to see only the western regions. I mustered project activities as I organized a three-day event for 800 teenagers — I was engaged in activities related to partners, location, advertising, external communications, logistics. It was a frightening, responsible challenge and I had to work hard. I gained the skill of critical and analytical thinking, as well as complex problem-solving.
At the Academy, I developed a desire to help people through projects and be socially useful. While studying at the Poltava Center, we organized a healthy lifestyle festival: we gave lectures and discussed nutrition, providing an opportunity for Poltava citizens to try different sports. I was so pleased when I saw how grateful the participants were! I learned to work on ideas, project formats, present them to partners and fundraising. These are the skills I am using now while organizing a "Molodvizh" forum in Lviv for 2 thousand participants. The Academy has broadened my horizons. When I'm involved in various community projects and startups in Lviv, I see the big picture now.
When you grow up in a small village, it seems that politicians and stars are unreachable super-people. The Academy erased this border as I talked to many famous people, did an internship in the Cabinet of Ministers, and recently, as a graduate, moderated the Academy's meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister. I broke the entrenched stereotype that you can only be successful with wealthy parents or with a Harvard diploma, and I have gained faith in myself. For myself, I discovered running, reflection, conscious tourism, and found my best friends. I learned how to create projects and tried myself in communications and that's how I gained the skill that now I am paid for since I work as the Head of the Communications Department at EdEra.
At the Academy, I got interested in news. The state was no longer something abstract but appeared to me as clear mechanism. We got acquainted with the work of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Bank, the Verkhovna Rada. I developed critical thinking, the ability to discuss and express my own opinion. At the Academy, we mastered the culture of debate, and we communicated with the lecturers on an equal footing. We always planned everything, that's how I learned time management, and I have recently become a coach on this topic for the Red Cross. I am currently studying programming and I already work as a developer in a leading IT company SoftServe. At the Academy, I understood that I want to work with people and develop in IT exactly as a project manager.
At the Academy I was inspired by me peers! One girl was on the FLEX project and had already created a business project for students at schools before she entered the Academy. There was a scout who despite her age was already raising young followers. Another student was engaged in cybersecurity. I felt so uplifted with every new story! I mastered my public speaking skills, as we were taught to speak fluently without cliché in front of an audience. At the Academy, I learned to listen to myself and keep going no matter what.
If formal education provides knowledge in the form of "the lector is reading and you are taking notes," the Academy pays attention to communication while solving common problems with community peers, or while talking to mentors or debating with lecturers. We practised determination and built team spirit through sport. We thought over and gained experience through reflection. The Academy gives soft skills that are required for any profession. I'm studying engineering. This is a project job that requires teamwork, which is exactly what we learned at the Academy.
I used to think that I wanted to live abroad because medicine, education, and security are better there. But at the Academy, I met the founder of Prometheus, saw how Dozorro and Prozorro, and the Charitable Foundation Enjoying Life work — all these cool things are created by Ukrainians! I understood that Ukraine is a land of opportunities. Even when I was studying at school, I organized several visits to disabled people and launched an English Club in my home town Ladyzhyn. I understood that I can make some influence, but I felt lonely along this way. I made friends at the Academy who became my support and power. We created the "Dobrodvizh" project and involved hundreds of people in good deeds! We keep implementing important initiatives together after graduation.
I want my village Dariivka in the Kherson region to become the most developed one in Ukraine. This is the mission that I formed in the Academy. Back in school, I fulfilled some projects in my village, but I lacked mission-level work and like-minded people. I had all that at the Academy where I have upgraded my managerial and planning skills and leant how to leave my comfort zone. I am currently studying social work. It may not sound too sexy — I would not have even considered this profession before. However, the Academy gave awareness and the ability to see deeper, rather than chasing a wow name. I am happy with my choice as I am studying practical instruments to ensure the functioning of the community. After graduation, I will definitely come back to develop my village.
After school, I didn't know what I wanted to study. My close ones suggested foreign languages, physics and mathematics, law. But the experience of projects at the Academy let me realize that I want to study management. I mastered public speaking as I had to speak in public a lot, I learned how to manage social networks, read books thoughtfully. Also, I became more confident in my decisions, and together with assertiveness in life values, I gained a community of people, with whom we still keep in touch.
There were a lot of my "first times" at the Academy. My first trip abroad, to the Western and Eastern Ukraine, and my first trip by plane. My first public speech in front of a large audience, my first attempt to organize projects and fundraising. I learned to work in a team, listen to others and find compromises, accept and give useful feedback. I had studied computer sciences, but when at the Academy I understood that I wanted to work with people, so I am developing as an IT manager. I wanted to try myself in state service to bring a young value approach. Through the Academy Center I found out about an opening at the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption and now I am working there in the IT Department.
How can you help the Academy and the country
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What do the Academy's partners, teachers and friends say?
I listened to project presentations from students of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy and, you know — I have no doubt that Ukraine will soon become an example for others! I wish the whole country was like this so that Ukraine was charged with such energy. It is necessary for people like them to get a quality education, feel free and have access to all the opportunities. They will stay here and build Ukraine of the future, which we will all be proud of.
On May 15, 2018, we ate the European Council were visited by the group of students from Kyiv wearing red t-shirts branded “I am Ukraїne I love freedom”. I had a chat with them. For a long time, I haven’t seen such an enthusiasm and positive emotions among young people.
I wish there was the Ukrainian Leadership Academy when I was 17. I believe, the Academy exposes the world experience of gaining education when a diploma is not the cornerstone. This education implies understanding and perceiving the world, not limited by fear of it or its challenges. It's about personality growth. Even if you are facing a lack of knowledge — you are equipped with a way to get it. You know the philosophy of how to keep up in society. The Academy is something non-trivial, something new. However, I have never met people who got disappointed in it.
The Academy helps these young people to better understand themselves, to find an area in which to develop, to hear the inner voice. Students learn to be flexible, respond to the challenges of the world and become true leaders of the 21st century.
I value the Academy for the fact that young people have a year to get rid of illusions, to feel how the state processes work. It is very important for young people not to be on the sidelines, but to take an active part in creating change, to take responsibility, to learn from mistakes. It is impossible to get it just sitting at a school desk. So the Academy is the right way.
The Ukrainian Leadership Academy is one of the best things that has happened to Ukraine for the last 7 years. This is a very important program to educate the leaders of the future who will lead Ukraine to the top league of nations in the next generation. Without such leaders, there will be nobody to hand things over from those who are trying to lead Ukraine today.
I was the first lecturer who Roman Tychkivskyi contacted when the idea of the Academy emerged. I had no doubts because Ukraine was in great need of such a program. I have been working in education for over 20 years, I went from a bachelor's degree to a doctorate in philosophy in one of the Western countries and I see an issue in entering university at 17. According to research, young people who use the gap year become way more successful. They expand their horizons before going deep into a particular speciality. This is a common approach in the world. I am pleased that this year my son also became an Academy student. In two months, I noticed some changes, even at the household level. If this is the effect of only two months, then it is difficult to imagine what is awaiting after the entire program.
For me, the Academy is a brand of freedom and educated choice, as the Academy forms a personal liberty. At extracurricular activities and parent meetings, I tell high school students and their parents about this program. The global practice and child psychology suggest that gap year after school is reasonable, as at the age of 18-19 years old a person has a better understanding of what he or she wants to do compared to 16-17 years old. There are two Academy graduates, who tell about it from their own experience. I like that the Academy's program is based on the experience of Israel, a country that has been at war for decades but still is successful. It is important for me that the Academy speaks to children in the rhetoric of a strong state.
Any communication with these students evokes your memories and inspires you to look into the future. Students of the Academy represent the Ukraine in which I would like my children and grandchildren to live. I want them to have someone to communicate with, make friends with, start a business, fall in love and have families. It is a big responsibility to be among such students. When I took my first steps in business, I had no one to consult with and this slowed down the path to the goal. With my support and experience, I aim to facilitate this path for young people.
The Academy expands horizons and opportunities for young people. How teenagers will use the gained knowledge, we will see in a few years. However, even now we have got some good examples: we have a graduate of the Academy working in the company. She is engaged in marketing. We are very satisfied with her level and potential. I believe that investment in youth is important. That is why I support the Academy. The future belongs to it.
Not just talking, but acting is the approach of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy community. After talking about changes in the work of the post office during the quarantine, students initiated a "mail" flashmob #pyshy (write) to exchange greetings from all over Ukraine. Even during our Zoom meetings, I felt their energy, drive and desire to generate new ideas.
This is the matter of survival and existence of our country and nation! Now is the time to train our future ministers, presidents, prime ministers, company CEOs. This must be taught! This is a great job that the Ukrainian Leadership Academy does.
We need a critical mass of people who will make a difference. We will not break out of our vicious circle without young people. The Academy already has 1048 graduates. And when it reaches 10,000, we will live in a completely different world.
The Academy is developing and changing a small part of the world in Ukraine but this part is obviously very powerful. When the Academy’s students appear in a certain place at a certain time, the world becomes better.
I believe that to build a strong state, we must start educating and developing our youth. We must support things that are important to us. Social responsibility takes you to a completely different level: in the future, it will allow you to communicate with the best people and get an even higher income. I know few if any world-class businesses that would not help their community grow or meet challenges. It's more than a trend, it's almost a mindset of new entrepreneurs.
Today, youth first think about the things like "Who am I?", "What do I need?", or "How can I make the greatest contribution in this world?". The reflection that characterizes today's youth is the key to the future because they think about it. So the main thing is not to just keep thinking but to act. Ukrainian Leadership Academy teaches how to connect reflection and action.
Our main goal is to create conditions for youth development. For this purpose, we need to develop a new competence for our understanding — leadership. Cooperation with the Ukrainian Leadership Academy is a step towards creating new opportunities for Mariupol youth. Through similar formats, we say: "Learn, live and develop Mariupol."
The Academy is the tool for changing people's consciousness, thanks to which they will start thinking: "If the country feels good, I feel good as well." Mykolaiv can become the best city in Ukraine thanks to young leaders. This is a real chance to change Mykolaiv and Ukraine.
The projects like the Academy have a positive impact on the investment brand of Kharkiv. Around the Academy is being formed a proactive community of business, opinion leaders, representatives of influential international organizations, diplomats, and public leaders. This creates a healthy environment and testifies to the city's openness for investments and new projects