The Transparency International Summer School on Integrity in Vilnius, Lithuania takes place for the third time from July 9 – 14 this year. It is the first such course in the region aimed at directly addressing the subject of corruption and how to fight it. In 2011, the event hosted around eighty youth leaders from 24 countries. Halyna Kokhan, who subsequently started working for Transparency International’s national contact in Ukraine, was one of the 2010 students and gives a personal account of her experiences at the time.
I attended the TI Lithuania Summer School in 2010. At that time I was a PhD student in Political Sciences, working on my thesis which deals with the issue of political corruption. The topic of my thesis was the main reason why I decided to apply. I was eager to combine some theoretical knowledge with practical experience of people who combat this problem every day.
First of all, I got an understanding that practice has nothing to do with theory. My vision of things and perception of situations involving corruption in different sectors and various regions of the world changed tremendously. I would like to draw a comprehensive picture as I saw it.
The school represents itself as a communications platform where different sophisticated experts share their experience and expertise with you. At the same time you are more than welcome and highly encouraged to ask any questions that come to your mind during presentations. I am assured everybody will discover an interesting topic; from corruption in public procurement to political party financing, etc. If you previously thought that this would be mostly boring lectures, this is absolutely not the case. The course is full of scenario games, practical tasks and visits to state bodies. For instance, my group was lucky to chat with the Deputy Minister of Justice. My separate word of deep respect goes to lecturers who are famous experts in their fields and can feed your mind with many things to think about.
Secondly, during the study my group was presented with the opportunity to visit Trakai, the old capital of Lithuania, and to explore the history of Vilnius and its secrets on breathtaking excursions around the city. Even rain did not ruin my mood and made it more romantic.
It is possible to meet extremely interesting people with interests close to yours who can become your future colleagues,
advisors, supervisors and just very good friends. The diversity of participants from all over the world adds a “spicy sauce” to participants’ intercultural communication, in-class discussions, and should be seen as one of the biggest values of attending the Summer School.
What was all this about you may ask? That was my story how incredible people one day explained to me what transparency is and how important the contribution of everybody to the fight with corruption is. Try it yourself and I am sure you will like it. Inspired by their example, I came back to Ukraine and I am now a member of the TI movement in Ukraine.
See more photos and videos from last year here.