Ukraine surprises, inspires confidence in a happier future - Alexander Kwasniewski

15 September 2019

Ukraine has offered a lot of surprises while the latest changes in the country inspire confidence in a happier future, the President of Poland (1995-2005), Chairman of the Board of YES, Alexander Kwasniewski, has said in his closing remarks at the 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting "Happiness now. New Approaches for a World in Crisis" organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

"This year, YES was full of surprises. Some happened by chance while others did not. Because, in fact, Ukraine is where the world's most unexpected things and surprises happen in 2019... Over the last two days, we have met and come to know absolutely new leaders, a new Ukraine. We have seen vigour, consciousness, sense of humour and determination. I think this is a good basis for change. Changes are not easy because expectations are very high. But this picture of a new, energetic, young country promises a lot!" he said.

Alexander Kwasniewski said he was happy that this year's YES theme got support and many new interesting ideas came up during the discussions.

"We have come a long way to better understand happiness. To realize that it can now be a part of our lives... The idea of ​​happiness, the idea of ​​governance aimed at happiness is phenomenal, it is a very important idea, a new approach to finding solutions in this difficult world," he added.

According to Kwasniewski, there are several keys to making people's lives happier.

"First, it requires trust. Trust between people, citizens and the state, the people and institutions, voters and politicians. The second key to happiness is the rule of law: there is no prospect without a proper judicial system. And the third one is the need to understand how the world is changing, what challenges we are facing. New technologies can be used both for good and evil purposes," he said.

The former president of Poland noted that more attention should be paid to environmental protection, improvement of the health care system, quality and accessibility of education, and cultural development.

According to Kwasniewski, one should not fear such challenges. "We know that there are always many challenges ahead of us. In fact, this is good and we will win. Do not worry - be happy!" he concluded.

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James Wolfensohn
James Wolfensohn
6th YES Annual Meeting, 2009
«The world’s centre of economic gravity moves towards Asia»