This year, the UK is between Turkey (fabulous balloons) and Egypt (delicious traditional snacks).  Yes, it’s the International Women’s Club of Kyiv (IWCK) annual seasonal charity bazaar.  A brave band of embassy volunteers inspired by Olga, Caroline and Pippa has slaved to set up a spectacular-looking flag-draped stall with home-made jams, chutneys and Christmas puddings augmented by contributions from embassy staff and commercial partners.  The vast number of enthusiastic embassy volunteers is exceeded only by the irresistible surge of visitors when the doors open.  Having raised UAH 17,000 last year, our stall succeeds in raising over UAH 20,000 this year for good works.

That host of visitors comes to sample a feast of regional specialities: we spot American bagels, Dutch cheese, Peruvian bags, Finnish mulled wine, Greek olives, Italian spaghetti, German sausages, Saudi traditional snacks and French perfume, as well as live Greek and Spanish music and an art workshop for the children.  Many Ukrainians come for bargains, curiosity or to relive experiences overseas; many foreign residents come to pick up a taste of home.  The UK stall has regular visitors who come every year not only to stock up on traditional tastes but to have a chat with the volunteers about their own lives and their experiences of visiting and living in Britain.  So it’s not only a fun (and hard-working) team-building day for the embassy, but also a wider team-building opportunity between different members of the diplomatic community and between the diplomatic community and everyone else.  In a way, it’s a chance for everyone to feel at home.

Last year I noted that the plethora of national images displayed at the IWCK bazaar raised the question of what Ukraine’s brand should be.  As we look forward to Euro 2012, the country has more than ever to offer.  So what key values represent Ukraine as we move from 2010 into 2011?  And how should Ukraine market these values as the key date of 8 June 2012 draws ever closer?


Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

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