NZIIA Expert panel

This event presents a unique opportunity to learn about Ukraine from a range of expert Ukrainian speakers, talking about the country’s economic development and reconstruction; the role of media in conflict; and historical heritage. 

It is free to attend. Pre-registration is essential.  NZIIA webpage.

The event will be accompanied by infographics from Creative Ukrainians.

Topics and speakers

Moderated by Professor Rouben Azizian, Chair of the NZIIA Auckland Branch. 

Media and Conflict: The new media ecology and the war in Ukraine

Professor Natalia Chaban, University of Canterbury

This presentation will discuss the role of media in international affairs at times of war. Its focus is on the war unleashed by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Our discussion will examine multi-directional information flows within and around the war, in Ukraine and Russia, as well as globally, and argue special features of communicating war in the new media ecology. The presentation will also explore the changing global media narratives focused on Ukraine. It will engage with the commentators who argue certain unity in sensemaking about Ukraine in the West vis-à-vis non-Western world, but also examine how Western narratives of Ukraine/war against Ukraine are also divided.

Ukraine’s economic development, reconstruction, and investment opportunities

Dr. Olga Dodd, Auckland University of Technology

The war in Ukraine has caused devastating destruction and damage to crucial infrastructure, commercial facilities, and residential real estate. Preliminary estimates of reconstruction costs range from 130 to 800 billion US dollars. The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce broadcasts Ukraine as “the world’s largest construction site”. Many countries and international organisations have already committed billions of dollars to rebuild Ukraine. Ukraine will need much more to recover and rebuild fully. In addition to providing financial aid and assistance to rebuild a modernised, stronger economy, there are plentiful opportunities for private-sector investments. Ukraine offers substantial natural resources (rich soil, iron, manganese and titanium ore, among others), a geographic location with access to a large consumer base in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, a large skilled labour force, low labour costs, and a high level of digitalisation. The Ukrainian government encourages foreign investments and provides incentives, including tax incentives. With the current investment outlook, processing of agricultural produce and construction materials manufacturing are the most attractive sectors. Opportunities in Ukraine do not come without significant risks, including uncertainty about the war duration, financial risks (e.g., currency convertibility), and corruption. On balance, the rewards for assisting Ukraine in rebuilding a democratic society with a resilient and sustainable economy outweigh the risks involved, and governments, international organisations, and businesses need to be ready to engage when the war ends.

Ukrainian perspective: Historical heritage

Mr. Kyrylo Cyril Kutcher, Massey University

Many from outside of Eastern Europe region look at the Russian invasion of Ukraine applying reasoning which ignores the Ukrainian perspective, never being to the country or communicating with people living there, and not knowing local history. In this war, it often leads to pivotal misunderstandings of the driving motives of the aggressor and defenders, the potential implications of the war, and leads to a priori impotent suggestions for its resolution. This presentation will attempt to highlight some overlooked and less-known outside of the region, but crucial for the context, facts from the centuries-long Ukrainian history. It will review a couple of authoritative authors – Ukrainian and Western – whose works could assist in filling the gaps in knowledge and understanding of the Ukrainian perspective. It will also suggest a few sources on the ground that might help to see through the eyes of Ukrainian people and learn more about Ukrainian culture and history.


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