Ukraine: Nina Kolybashkina

If not me – then who?

— Nina Kolybashkina

Nina Kolybashkina (born 1958) has worked in the fields of civil society and democratic governance, conflict prevention, and capacity building of non-governmental organizations in different parts of the world. She was a local municipal and community development officer of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK) in Kosovo. She is also experienced in working with minority communities and youth. Nina was a founding member of the Association of Youth Centers. Together with the UN Youth Foundation, she prepared a Young Peace builders' Conference held in Crimea, in 2005.

"In the common enterprise of peace building, my humble role is that of an interpreter," Nina Kolybashkina says. Her career started when she worked as an interpreter for a UN construction project in Simferopol. That job taught her that translation requires not merely shifting between languages, but also finding common points between the systems of thinking of diverse groups. Later, in managing social projects, she realized that providing basic social services was essentially a work of translating the needs of community members into the language of project proposals and policy recommendations. A former project officer of the United Nations (UN) mission in Kosovo, she then worked in the resettlement of people, primarily Crimean Tatars, who were Muslim. The work in the settlements made her aware of the differences in culture and religion, but also of similarities in their social problems. Recently in Kosovo, while establishing a dialogue between Albanian and Serbian civil servants about the common problems in Orahovac/Rahovec municipality, Nina had a look at the social and economic costs of war and the difficulties of reconciliation. It made it very clear for her that prevention is better than cure. Prevention strategies are especially effective with young people and so the youth became Nina's major focus in Crimea, not only as a UN project officer, but also as an active citizen. She began training and public awareness campaigns in conflict prevention and tolerance education among the youth. Nina was a founding member of the Association of Youth Centers. Together with the UN Youth Foundation, they prepared a Young Peace Builders' Conference to be held in Crimea in 2005. Nina represents the special generation of people born under the Soviet system but given a fresh opportunity to live in a democratic world.

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, Oxford University Center for Ethnic and Social Studies Network of Intercultural Exchange and Interethnic Tolerance