Ukraine: EoC Winter School

The EoC was presented at the beginning of February during the Winter School held by the Ukrainian Academy of Banking and the "Caritas in Veritate" Social Academy.

by Mykhaylo Melnyk

150202 07 Sumy 01 ridFor a number of reasons it’s rather unusual for Ukrainian students to be mobile, to travel to other cities, to meet their fellows from other universities. Therefore, the winter school held in Sumy (Ukraine) from 2 to 7 February was a unique opportunity for the participants to meet and experience the cultural peculiarities of the different regions of Ukraine in a friendly environment of cooperation and mutual support. Because of this, the most important outcome of the winter school was that young people from all over Ukraine were able to meet and socialize, discuss their plans for the future, organize joint projects - and much more.

Needless to say, such unity between young people of the East and the West of Ukraine is especially 150202 07 Sumy 02 ridimportant in the current historical and extremely difficult times of crisis and civil war in the country.

Even though after arriving in Sumy, the 42 participants declared that they were quite familiar with the topic of the winter school: “Values in Economy and Business”, by the end of the school all of them admitted that the contents of the lectures and workshops were actually all very new to them and that the illustrative examples given by the lectures provided them with a number of insights into the subject of corporate social responsibility.

The school was hosted by the Ukrainian Academy of Banking, and kicked-off by its Associate Professor Petrushenko’s lecture on the ethics in business. His lecture sketched the main philosophical background of the ethics in business and introduced the major definitions of the subject matter of the social responsibility of businesses in society.

150202 07 Sumy 03 ridThe next presenter was Cristian Loza Adaui from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) who gave an introduction to the Catholic social thought providing the basis for the EoC. His lecture was entitled: “The Business of Business is the Human Person” and initially it surprised and puzzled the participating students. Cristian Loza Adaui made a very deep theoretical introduction into another way of seeing business from a more humanistic and socially responsible and responsive perspective. He developed this topic further during the next day with a presentation that focused more on the practical application of the values in the context of social market economy. The students were very active in communicating with the guest lecturer – and not only because the subject was new to them but also because many of them had never before experienced a live in-class communication with an instructor from abroad. Therefore the reactions from the audience ranged from exact and specific inquiries into the fundamental principles of Christian social thought to naïve questions like “Please say something in your native Peruvian Spanish”.

The presentation of Teresa Ganzon from the Philippines who shared her experience of running Bangko Kabajan, a rural financial institution based on the culture of giving and the Economy of Communion was also a new experience for the students who had never had a Skype lecture before and who admitted to be surprised by the very idea that banking could be based not only on the principles of profit maximization. In fact they could learn about a successful experience of running a financial institution that operates based on the respect for every customer as a person and taking into account his or her particular situation.

Professor Tatiana Vasylieva talked about responsible social entrepreneurship 150202 07 Sumy 07 ridin the Ukranian context, spending the entire fourth day together with the students. She invited in local representatives from banking and insurance business who spoke very openly and shared both their positive and negative experiences and presented their vision on how the main obstacles to a more socially responsible business in Ukraine could be overcome. Participating students found this lecture very interesting and engaged in a long discussion about the problems of contemporary Ukraine.

Every day there were sessions of the winter school that were especially devoted to working on a number of small-group projects related to the subject of corporate social responsibility, ethics and values in business management. The representatives of the "Caritas in Veritate" Social Academy, the promoter of the school were there every day and joined in the discussions of the students’ ideas, helping them in their assigned tasks and in presenting their ideas to an external audience in an innovative manner.

150202 07 Sumy 08 ridThe last day of the winter school saw the presentations of the fruits of all the work done in groups. All of them were very creative in terms of design, content, and the way they were presented, and also because of their use of all possible media. What turned out to be really interesting was the analysis of the controversial relationship between the traditional attitude towards the way business should be done in order to increase profits as much as possible and a social responsible entrepreneurship based on ethics and the values of the common good. All in all this winter school… was a great success.

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