Reflections: Open Discussion on Ukraine, and Next Steps 

In response to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Hub members and fellow professionals in the Hague’s peace and justice ecosystem gathered at the Humanity Hub on Wednesday, March 2nd for an open discussion on the growing crisis. The aim of the evening was to create a safe space for connection and to come up with collective responses to the evolving situation, from building a Slack channel to compiling a resources page.

During the event, participants grouped around topics they defined for the session themselves, such as: 

  • The Digital Impact of Russian invasion & Misinformation in Civil Society
    Perspectives were shared on the legal, personal, and media landscape surrounding the situation. For example, the criminalization of speech under Russian law currently rendering truthful information illegal with criminal liability in civil society. A point was raised about changing the framing from fighting misinformation, to protecting the truth, and the potential of connecting with youth and creating new narratives and stories.
    The discussion also included the need for legal support working within Russia to secure civil rights, and the importance of pressuring Big Data to flag information sources (so far, only Twitter has begun to flag State-produced content).
  • Winning Russian hearts and minds (Prompting Actions from the Russian Public)
    Participants conceptualized The Hague as a potential neutral location for global festivals (such as Live Aid) to raise awareness, and discussed the role of sanctions (the need to find a way to guide sanctions and explain them to the people why they are being used, where possible), as well as holding those responsible to account after the war.
    In the long term, providing support to Ukrainian businesses emerged as paramount, as well as connecting with Russian civil society to help and encourage them to put pressure on their government.

Participants then self-directed the conversations, based on their interests, creating smaller breakout groups across various spaces in the Hub. These allowed for richer and more valuable connections among people holding diverse expertise on similar topics.

At the end of the evening, the focus was on practical steps that can be taken now. Suggestions for the topic of “What Can We As Individuals and Organizations Do?” included: 

  • Strengthen connection between organisations and projects
  • Pooling resources and raising awareness
    Sharing and contributing necessary connections to reliable initiatives and donation links through our network to reach those on the ground in Ukraine, in neighboring countries, or the Netherlands themselves. 
  • Providing practical supplies 
    Many citizen-led initiatives in the Netherlands are collecting practical supplies (blankets, canned food, etc.) but more coordination with humanitarian organisations is needed to make sure the needs on the ground are being met.
  • Providing moral and financial support 
    From reaching out to those directly affected in Ukraine, to checking in with your staff and colleagues around you who have a connection to Ukraine.
  • Providing a helping hand as a volunteer
    Many social organisations are offering support to refugees around the Hague (Ready2Help, NLdoet, Den Haag Cares).

Immediately after the event wrapped up, the Humanity Hub set up a Slack channel to share relevant resources, insights, connection and collaborative opportunities around the situation in Ukraine. Anyone from the Hague peace and justice ecosystem and beyond are welcome to contribute.  If you’d like to join, send a note to hello@humanityhub.net and we’ll include you in the conversations.

NEW: The Humanity Hub is setting up a resources page to facilitate the visibility of all the initiatives within the Hub community and The Hague’s peace and justice ecosystem in response to the Ukraine crisis.

Want to be even more involved? Check out our upcoming events:

Please see our web calendar for more!