Empty wooden chair in middle of shelled street

Fellows seek justice for civilian victims of Russia’s war  

26 Jul 2022 While still faced with the ongoing horrors of the war in Ukraine, Oleksandr Vodyannikov has turned his attention to compensation for civilian victims, and bringing in international support.  Oleksandr is currently a consultant at Ukraine’s Law Reform Commission, which advises President Zelensky on the country’s legal system. He also participates in the justice working group […]
A woman waving a Ukrainian flag

Perspectives on the war in Ukraine with Fiona Hill

22 Jul 2022 Since the start of the war, the John Smith Trust has been bringing together its network of change-makers and leaders in the former Soviet Union, to discuss how best to support Ukraine. On 12 July, our Fellows met with Fiona Hill, an eminent Russian foreign policy expert, to discuss developments of Russia’s war on Ukraine. […]
Young people in park

How to encourage a global generation of change makers and problem solvers

08 Jul 2022 As a student Saida Ibrahimava found there weren’t enough places for young people to exchange ideas, learn from and collaborate with each other. Her mission is to change this for the next generation of young leaders. Saida says: “I found there was a disconnect between those who passed on knowledge and the knowledge receivers. I […]
Two women harvesting vegetables

As the challenge of climate change intensifies our Fellows seek solutions

24 Jun 2022 Climate change is a defining problem of our age and it will take an unprecedented collective effort to change the trajectory we are currently on, an effort which preoccupies many of our Fellows. As legendary British documentary maker David Attenborough said at the global climate change conference COP26: “We are, after all, the greatest problem […]
Smoke over landscape in Ukraine

Ukraine: efforts to tackle the war’s devastating environmental impact

17 Jun 2022 Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, environmental lawyer Olya Melen-Zabramna has been documenting the catastrophic environmental impacts of the war and planning for her country’s future rehabilitation. Olya, a John Smith Fellow since 2004, is head of the legal unit at Environment-People-Law (EPL), based in Lviv, Ukraine. She works with colleagues to collate data on damage […]
Man speaking in conference room

Armenia: in search of a lasting peace

27 May 2022 Human rights lawyer and politician Edmon Marukyan is contributing to negotiations for a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan in his new role as ambassador-at-large. Edmon, a John Smith Fellow since 2013, was appointed to the role of ambassador-at-large in March and represents his country at a high level on issues assigned by the prime […]
Old woman in front of bombed house

Ukraine: what our Fellows are doing and how you can help

24 May 2022 One of the most important things that we can all do to support efforts to halt Russia’s unlawful attack on Ukraine, is to keep informed and to share facts about the war with others. This point was made very clear during an online event at Chatham House in May. Currently, many of our Ukrainian Fellows […]
Young woman with long dark hair standing next to honey products

Sweet opportunities for Moldovan honey

20 May 2022 Political reforms in Moldova following last year’s elections are creating fertile ground for social enterprises and small businesses, such as beekeeping, to flourish. After a landslide victory for the reformist Party of Action and Solidarity in elections in July 2021, Moldova is looking for a closer relationship with the European Union. Its desire to adopt […]
A row of people at a desk with microphones

In Kyrgyzstan: “Justice is our goal, arbitration is our means”

06 May 2022 When a justice system is hampered by corruption, settling civil and commercial disputes through private arbitration offers an alternative to the courts, but change rarely comes easy. In common with its Central Asian neighbours, Kyrgyzstan inherited a Soviet-style judicial system. Corruption remains a big problem and changing the system is a long, difficult process. The […]
Ashgabat city scene

How data is essential for sustainable development in Turkmenistan

29 Apr 2022 Our Fellow Sofiya Yuvshanova is helping strengthen Turkmenistan’s national capacity to generate evidence for better monitoring of the UN sustainable development goals. The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda to end poverty and inequality, drive economic growth and tackle climate change. Turkmenistan was one of the first […]
Female war protestor stands alone with banner

No world leader has successfully fought alone against a united world

22 Apr 2022 Nurturing connections, support and understanding across borders should always be a priority for civilized societies, but in the face of the horror unleashed by Putin, it is also an act of resistance. And will be key to his defeat. Putin and his soldiers have no respect for the international rules of war and are trying […]
Aid package with a child's hand drawn card

Humanitarian mission in Ukraine: “Together we will win”

12 Apr 2022 Mykhaylo Nakhod, co-founder of civic movement Svidomi, based in Western Ukraine, turned his organisation into a volunteer humanitarian mission the moment war broke out. He and his staff had planned in advance what they would do in case of war, so when it started, they were quick to establish a volunteer centre at their base […]
A boy with handcuffs and hands over his face

Towards a justice system fit for children

08 Apr 2022 Globally, UNICEF estimates that 261,000 children are being detained in the justice system, evidence in itself that our societies and systems are failing our children – and we need reform. Usually children are held in detention for petty crimes, some have been coerced by adults and many are the victims of prejudice related to race, […]
Cambridge University flying the Ukrainian flag

Support the Ukrainian Global University

04 Apr 2022 Artem Shaipov, one of our Fellows in Ukraine, has helped launch the Ukrainian Global University (UGU) to support Ukrainian students and create a pool of educated people able to help rebuild the country after the war. As of 26 March, 733 education institutions have been damaged due to bombing and shelling, and 74 of them […]
Women in discussion round table

Challenges and opportunities to stand up for gender equality

01 Apr 2022 Women and girls in Central Asia still face deeply entrenched inequalities, according to a group of Fellows from the John Smith Trust network who met in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 5-6 March. Sixteen Fellows – both women and men – from six countries in the region came together for an Ideas Exchange to discuss the most […]
Ukrainian soldier stands in rubble of a bombed school

Fellows in Ukraine fight hard for freedom and democracy

18 Mar 2022 Bearing witness to war is painful. None know that better than our Ukrainian Fellows right now, though our Fellows from elsewhere in the region are feeling the pain too, including those in Russia. At the John Smith Trust we usually spend our days helping build fairer, more sustainable and inclusive societies across the countries of […]
Little girl in a crowd holding woman's hand

The shelter project: helping internally displaced Ukrainians

10 Mar 2022 Since the war began Victor Liakh, one of our Ukrainian Fellows, has set up a shelter project for Ukrainians who’ve lost or fled their homes. They need funds now. Victor is president of the East Europe Foundation and working through its network of more than 500 local partner non-governmental organisations, it launched the shelter project […]

Statement on Ukraine from the John Smith Trust  

01 Mar 2022 The John Smith Trust is deeply concerned and saddened by the war in Ukraine, and these feelings are shared by John Smith Fellows across our network. We strongly condemn this violent aggression by Russia and support every effort to halt the unlawful attacks on Ukraine. Our immediate concern is the welfare of the Ukrainian people, […]
A man sitting at a desk wearing a suit

How digital technologies are transforming life in Ukraine  

18 Feb 2022 COVID-19 highlighted the importance of digital technologies in connecting people with each other and with essential public services. In Ukraine, Victor Liakh was well-placed to respond. As the COVID-19 pandemic restricted physical contact, people around the world turned to digital technologies to sustain many aspects of their daily lives. People went online to work, learn, […]

How can mentoring change gender biases in the Kyrgyz workplace?

11 Feb 2022 Women are underrepresented in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in many countries around the world. Kyrgyzstan is no exception, but Nazira Sheraly wants to change that. According to UNESCO, gender inequality persists in STEM professions on a global level. Only 30 percent of female students select STEM-related subjects at university and 28 […]
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