Svitlana Zalishchuk (Ukraine)

Country: Ukraine

Svitlana Zalishchuk has been serving as an elected member of Parliament of Ukraine since 2014. She is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a chair of the Sub-Committee on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, and a co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship group between Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Zalishchuk began her career as a TV and newspaper journalist, working as an international reporter at ‘Fifth TV-Channel’, the only independent media during Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Later, she joined the presidential administration serving as a spokesperson to the Chief of Staff during 2005-2006.

In 2014, she played an influential role in Euromaidan Movement through the social media platforms launched by ‘Centre of United Actions’, the NGO Svitlana has co-founded and run. Centre UA is the Kyiv-based organization focused on media campaigns that defend freedom of expression and promote access to information.

Zalishchuk has also founded the government watchdog CHESNO (Fair) and co-founded the Reanimation Package of Reforms, a platform that unites more than 50 NGOs promoting democratic reforms in Ukraine. Finally, she was a co-initiator of the journalist movement Stop Censorship! –  a campaign aimed at censorship combat and media reforms promotion.

Awarded John Smith Fellowship Programme (2008) and Draper Hills Summer Fellowship in Stanford (2011) both aimed at the deeper study of democracy and rule of law. Recognised as one of the emerging leaders of Ukraine (2013), one of the top-100 most influential women in Ukraine (2015), and a ‘bravest’ women of the Munich Security Conference (2016). Granted Anna Lindh Prize as a human rights defender (2016).

Watch Zalischuk’s discuss her journey from journalist to activist to politician and the transformative power of social media in democracy movements.