Ukrainian Music as a Tool for Public Diplomacy and Democracy

Promoting global understanding and preserving cultural identity

Oleksandra Yakubenko by Vitaliy Uhov
Alona Dmukhovska by Andrii Maximov
Yuriy Gurzhy by Maciej Komorowski


Chaired by Oleksandra Yakubenko (Ukraine/USA), Artists at Risk Connection (PEN America)
with Alona Dmukhovska (Ukraine), Music Exports Ukraine NGO; Yuriy Gurzhy (Ukraine/Germany), musician

The full-scale war in Ukraine in February 2022 galvanised the cultural sector like never before. Artists, musicians and writers united to safeguard Ukrainian culture andidentity. Notably, musicians Taras Topolia (Antytila) and Andriy Khlyvnyuk (Boombox) joined the Territorial Defense Forces, while others like Jamala and Eurovision winner Kalush Orchestra became cultural diplomats, showcasing Ukraine and its culture on the international stage.

In this session, the panellists will examine the pivotal role of music in international public diplomacy, advocacy and its ability to foster intercultural exchange. They will share insights on how music serves as a vehicle to promote Ukrainian culture and enhance understanding of democratic values abroad, as well as its role in engaging Ukrainian and local communities beyond Ukraine’s borders.