Jean Bagh, the President of Rotary Club Donetsk Advance, Ukraine, is a true bridge builder. His focus on collaboration with the network of NGOs in Ukraine as well as throughout Europe has seen direct strides in ameliorating the conflict persisting in Ukraine.
Keep It Super Simple. If you can educate the public on complicated topics using simple terms, then you have begun to solve longstanding problems in the community.” – The KISS Mantra, Jean Bagh
Rooted in the systems that foster European-wide collaboration, his career has taken him from Berlin to Moscow to Kiev. He has focused primarily on ensuring cooperation on a regional level through his multiple private and public sector positions.
Now headquartered in Kiev, Ukraine, Jean spent some time in Donetsk in the easternmost part of Ukraine. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has not subsided, forcing him and the Rotary Club Donetsk Advance to relocate to Kiev. “The violence is as if an action movie was being filmed there. It is intense,” he said.
A Results-Oriented Approach
Jean calls himself a beginner in peacebuilding as he relies heavily on background research of the conflict to best understand the local needs in finding and implementation solutions. This focus needs sensitivity and research to ensure successful implementation of community activities. He is an ardent supporter of impactful Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) reports in order to best understand how projects are progressing.
His wholehearted advocacy for the inclusion of all voices in the peace process has taken his role as President of the Rotary Club Donetsk Advance to create a network of NGOs that can focus on different aspects of peacebuilding. He knows that his strength is in research; therefore, he has focused on creating relationships with organizations that highlight other aspects of the peacebuilding process.
To that effect, Jean has allied Rotary Club Donetsk Advance with an organization entitled the Donetsk Regional League of Business and Professional Women. This partnership will allow Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) and Rotary collaborate on training women mediators within the conflict zone. Although Jean is wary of the “brain drain in Ukraine as so many people are leaving for opportunities outside of the country,” he is grateful for this new relationship as it fosters community-based local advocacy for change.
Resiliency is the best word to describe Jean unwavering involvement in the Ukrainian peace process. He describes life in Ukraine as “difficult because there is no trust in the future with such a corrupted and conflicted present. People just want to survive.” In the face of rising tensions and a trustless system, he has ensured that Rotary continues to be a resource and hub for peacemaking, regional collaboration, research efforts, and assistance for people in need and distress.
Article by Benjamin Lutz, MBBI writer.