“Don’t Forget About Us in Ukraine”: Global Ties KC Open World Program Welcomes Ukraine

From January 26-February 3, 2024, Kansas City hosted a group of Ukrainian leaders to meet with their professional counterparts and exchange knowledge and ideas on combatting disinformation. Throughout the week, these leaders repeated to the community and their Kansas City colleagues “It has been two years, and it is natural, the Western world is losing interest in our war. But for those of us under direct threat of being annihilated, there is nothing else we can do but to share our story. We thank you for understanding, and we hope for, and thank you for, your continued support. Please don’t forget about us in Ukraine.”  

It is under that threat of annihilation that the six Ukrainian delegates made their way to Kansas City to tell their story, build connections with the Kansas City community, and exchange best practices on combatting disinformation. While in Kansas City, they met with various organizations including Channel 4 WDAF-TV, the Department of Communication and Journalism at UMKC, the Kansas Reflector, KCUR, and the City of Topeka. They also participated in a roundtable discussion on media literacy, talked with students at St. Theresa’s Academy, and met with the staff of Congressman Cleaver. 

During their five days of professional programming, the delegates discussed topics such as how media literacy is taught in American schools, how US journalism organizations function and how they combat disinformation, what sources the US is utilizing to receive news on Ukraine, common disinformation about the Russian-Ukrainian war, and how Western media can more accurately report on the conflict. 

This was all conceptualized during their Community Reception, providing a unique opportunity for them to address the community directly. With an impressive turnout of 74 attendees, the event was a rich tapestry of new connections, long-term catch-ups, and impactful information sharing. Held at the Meadowbrook Club in Prairie Village, the sister city to Dolyna, Ukraine, attendees enjoyed a unique opportunity to engage with our distinguished guests as they shared insights into their work and experiences in Kansas City. 

As the delegates return to Ukraine, perhaps nothing is as important as the last line of their common refrain: “Please don’t forget about us in Ukraine.” Ivan Tsyperdiuk summed it up best when he stated: “Since the war started, planes have been going over my cottage home every 20 minutes. The last couple of months, the planes have stopped flying. We know that is the help stopping. We need to see the planes coming. We need to see the help coming.”  


These visitors were in Kansas City on an Open World Program, Congressionally-funded and implemented by Global Ties KC. For decades, the Open World Program aims to enhance democratic systems in former Soviet countries. Special thanks to all the host families and professional partners whose support made this program possible, creating lifelong connections between our city and our distinguished visitors through shared dinners and meaningful discussions.