TCUP Conference

Beyond Borderland: 30 Years of Ukrainian Sovereignty

February 7–11, 2022

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Beyond Borderland: 30 Years of Ukrainian Sovereignty

In August 2021, Ukraine celebrated 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union. While the ideas of independence and sovereignty have always resonated for Ukraine, they have various complex meanings in the modern world. Do state borders designate sovereign land? What happens when those borders change? Who can claim to be part of a sovereign state? And how does the internet change our understanding of sovereignty? With increased urgency brought to these questions by the Russian annexation of Crimea and ongoing war in Donbas, the 2022 TCUP Conference interrogates the meaning of “sovereignty” for Ukraine in the 21st century. 


Read in Ukrainian.

Like last year's "Why Is Ukraine a Democracy?" conference, this conference will take place entirely online as a series of Zoom webinars.

Addressing the theme of Ukrainian sovereignty, this conference is distinct from typical academic conferences. Rather than presenting papers, panelists will respond to a set of questions provided in advance by the moderator. Each panelist will discuss the same questions based on his or her expertise, followed by an open discussion with participants. Panels feature a combination of scholars and policy practitioners, creating a space for dialogue that extends beyond academia.

Ret. Amb. Marie Yovanovitch will give the keynote address on Wednesday, February 9. A series of four panels exploring the meaning of "sovereignty" to contemporary Ukraine will be spread throughout the week, one per day, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

We invite and encourage scholars, journalists, policy officials, and the general public to attend as members of the audience. A Ukrainian-language audio channel will be available, in addition to the main audio in English.

Registration is required to attend the online conference. Please indicate which session(s) you plan to attend when you register. Register here.

Questions may be addressed to TCUP Director Emily Channell-Justice at


Schedule and participants subject to change.

New! Following each event, we will host a Breakout Room on the Clubhouse app to continue the discussion. Clubhouse is an audio-only app; you must download the app and sign up to participate. You are welcome to simply listen in or actively participate. (You may also simply click the links listed below to listen in your web browser.) HURI is working with AverPoint and Clubhouse to facilitate a series of sessions focused on contemporary Ukraine, including these Breakout Rooms. We hope the Breakout Rooms will add a greater sense of community and conversation to our virtual conference.

February 7
12-2pm EST

Welcome: Emily Channell-Justice (Director, Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University)
Opening Remarks: Serhii Plokhii (Director, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University)

Panel 1: Rethinking Sovereignty

Moderator: Carl Dahlman (Miami University, Ohio)
Panelists: Yulia Bezvershenko (Stanford University), Paul D'Anieri (University of California, Riverside), Elizabeth Dunn (Indiana University), Gerard Toal (Virginia Tech)

Breakout Room on Clubhouse (starts after Panel 1 ends)

February 8
12-2pm EST

Panel 2: Digital Transformations

Moderator: Tetyana Lokot (Dublin City University)
Panelists: Olga Boichak (University of Sydney), Anna Bulakh (Reface), Natalia Gumenyuk (The Public Interest Journalism Lab), Peter Pomerantsev (Johns Hopkins University) 

Breakout Room on Clubhouse (starts after Panel 2 ends)

February 9
12-2pm EST

Keynote Address 

Amb. Marie Yovanovitch (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former US Ambassador to Ukraine)
Introduction by Benjamin L. Schmitt (Harvard)

Breakout Room on Clubhouse (starts after the Keynote Address ends)

February 10
12-2pm EST

Panel 3: Displacement and Reintegration

Moderator: Viktoriya Sereda (University of Jena, Germany)
Panelists: Oksana Mikheieva (European University of Viadrina), Marthe Handå Myhre (Oslo Metropolitan University), Anastasiya Ryabchuk (National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv), Nariman Ustaiev (Stanford University) 

Breakout Room on Clubhouse (starts after Panel 3 ends)

February 11
12-2pm EST

Panel 4: Policy Priorities

Moderator: Emily Channell-Justice (Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard)
Panelists: Denis Gutenko (Stanford University), Amb. John Herbst (Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council), Alina Polyakova (Center for European Policy Analysis), Oxana Shevel (Tufts University) 

Closing Discussion: Timothy Colton (Harvard University) and Emily Channell-Justice (Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard)

Breakout Room on Clubhouse (starts after the Closing Discussion ends)

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