Europe and Russia

What We Know and What We’re Doing About the War in Ukraine

December 16, 2022  • David K. Gibson

Updated February 24, 2023

As the world arrives at the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine—and as Ukrainians continue to defend their homeland with tenacious defiance and resilience—Aspen Institute Kyiv (AIK) continues its work in an uncertain and constantly changing situation.

“We have seen firsthand the Aspen Kyiv team’s unwavering dedication to their values and optimism in the face of a brutal and senseless war,” says Jonathon Price, director of the Institute’s International Partners. “Since the beginning, the International Partners team has worked closely with Aspen Kyiv to care for the team’s unique needs by connecting them to our partners and creating a global web of support.”

AIK’s programming has included a dialogue series with critical European international partners prior to the groundbreaking EU decision on Ukraine’s accession. The group hosted several online seminars on topics like psychological resilience and the effects of war on mental health of Ukranian youth and children. They also met in-person for a leadership seminar in the Carpathians late last year.

New work announced includes:

Across the Institute, programs and experts also continue to offer insight and context as the conflict wears on with a breadth of content. The Economic Strategy Group gathered a panel in June to discuss the country’s recovery and reconstruction. Later in the month, the Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Ideas: Health focused much of their programming on issues surrounding the war, and included an interview with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In the fall, the Institute brought Ukrainian mayors to CityLab in Amsterdam for a view into conditions on the ground. They talked about the devastation caused by Russian missile attacks on civilian targets and asked for support from the international community. Only minutes after the session featuring mayor Andriy Sadovyi of Lviv, his town was hit by another barrage of missiles.

The conflict has not gone as many had expected and has certainly not gone as some had planned. Everyone in the know had expected the digital assault to be more aggressive—or at least more effective—considering Russia’s history. At the Aspen Cyber Summit, experts discussed which cyber threats had and had not materialized, with an eye on preparing for cyber risk in the aftermath of the invasion.

As war persists, the Aspen Institute will continue to offer knowledge, passion, and support to the people of Ukraine—and to deliver insight to the global community.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Institute created the tax-deductible Aspen Kyiv Crisis Fund, where staff, trustees, international partners, and others can donate to support our partner in Ukraine. The fund provides financial support to Aspen Kyiv staff, aids innovative programming related to the ongoing crisis, and is available for any humanitarian needs of the Aspen Kyiv staff as they arise.

Additionally, the Institute and Aspen Kyiv collaborated on “Beast of War, Bird of Hope,” a gallery of Ukrainian art first exhibited on the Aspen Meadows campus in Colorado. The exhibit is curated by Alisa Lozhkina, an art historian and the former Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Mystetskyi Arsenal, the largest museum and exhibition complex in Ukraine. Almost entirely for sale, the artwork features various art mediums from 11 top contemporary Ukrainian artists created before and during the war with Russia. It includes two unique pieces by Maria Prymachenko, one of the most outstanding Ukrainian artists of the 20th century. Proceeds from all sales go to Aspen Kyiv and Ukrainian artists.

The exhibit has now moved to Washington, DC, and was on display at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House during the United Ukrainian Ballet’s performances in February 2023 to allow audiences to experience the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the perspective of Ukrainian artists. To honor the D.C. premiere of the exhibit, the Institute hosted a panel featuring Ambassador to Portugal Randi Levine, Chair of Aspen Kyiv Natalie Jaresko, and Aspen Trustee Jane Harman discussing the role and power of the arts in diplomacy. The virtual exhibit is now also part of USA for UNHCR’s Culture Collective.

If you are interested in supporting Aspen Kyiv, consider donating to the crisis fund or purchasing artwork.


Beast of War, Bird of Hope: A Note from Curator Alisa Lozhkina
August 19, 2022 • Alisa Lozhkina