Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, founded by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, is an independent, indigenous organization in Ukraine. POID’s website is HERE.

Why Pylyp Orlyk?

Pylyp Orlyk (1672 – 1742), a Cossack noble and hetman (leader) was the chief author of the 1710 Bendery Constitution. This was the first document in the world to establish a democratic standard for the separation of powers in government between the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. The Constitution also limited the executive authority of the hetman and established a democratically elected Cossack parliament called the General Council. Predating the classic example of an expression of democratic polity – the American Constitution of 1777 – by over 65 years, the Orlyk Constitution testifies to the long-standing traditions of democracy in Ukraine.

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy Mission Statement

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (POID) aims to help revive Ukrainian democratic traditions and to assist in the consolidation of a free-market democracy in Ukraine.

How Do We Accomplish This?

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy serves as a source of information and facilitates the research and development of public policy in six key areas essential to democratic state-building:

  • National Government;
  • National Security;
  • Human Rights;
  • Environmental Protection;
  • Local Government;
  • Economic Reforms.

The Institute’s History and the Present

“The policymakers who legislate and execute the wishes of the people must have access to the knowledge and information without which democracy cannot flourish. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation fully understands that Ukraine must choose its own path. Our mission is to make available to you the wealth of our experience, to open up the parameters of your debate, and to improve the level of mutual understanding between our two nations. The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy is our principal medium for this undertaking.”

Nadia Komarnycky-McConnell
Founder and Board Member of the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy
President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

The POID was established in 1991 to conduct political research and provide information in the area of strengthening democracy and the development of a market economy. The principal recipients of these services were young democratic forces represented in the Verkhovna Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament of what was then Soviet Ukraine. In 1993, the POID was officially registered as a local, independent, non-profit, social and political, information and research organization. The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy has expanded its scope of cooperation to include the government, the Presidential Administration, the Constitutional Court, NGOs and the media.

Since 1995, the POID has been placing significant emphasis on the development of democracy at the local level. Several projects are dedicated to issues of accountability and transparency in local government and local economic development. The projects are supported and financed by technical assistance organizations that include the Pew Foundation, Mott Foundation, Westminster Foundation, PAUCI, MATRA, TACIS, and, most recently, the World Bank.

Regional Training Centers

In 1997, the POID in cooperation with the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation started implementing a three-year USAID-funded Community Partnerships Project for Training and Education. The POID identified and selected 18 Ukrainian partnership cities, as well as established and staffed five regional training centers (RTCs), whose mission is to train and educate Ukrainian local government officials. Today, the RTCs work with approximately 2000 cities, towns and villages, including every city officially classified under oblast and regional subordination. Most workshop participants come from smaller cities and towns, where they have limited access to practical information.

The RTCs offer unique and attractive services for Ukrainian cities, as their trainings and workshops are not only conducted by foreign experts who provide innovative techniques, but most importantly, by experienced Ukrainian trainers whose workshops are based on local examples.

Today, the RTC network’s educational activities span the country:

  • Western Ukraine Regional Training Center – Lviv;
  • Central Ukraine Regional Training Center – Cherkasy;
  • Southern Ukraine Regional Training Center – Kherson;
  • Eastern Ukraine Regional Training Center – Donetsk.

Our Activities

  • Conducting political research and providing information related to the strengthening of democracy and the development of a market economy;
  • Developing democracy at a local level: accountability and transparency in local government;
  • Participating actively in the areas of local government and local economic development;
  • Analyzing the state of affairs and developing recommendations on minority rights and language issues in Ukraine, as well as sources of regional conflicts in neighboring countries;
  • Producing and publishing special literature on strengthening democracy and economic development.

In the Media

The work of the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy has attracted the attention of the Ukrainian and world media. The Institute’s experts produce materials on a regular basis, give interviews and commentaries to such well-known information agencies, TV and radio companies, print and electronic media as: The Guardian, The London Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, CBC (Canada), AFP (France), ABS (Australia), The Globe and Mail, The Ukrainian Weekly, the First National TV Channel of Ukraine, “1 + 1” and “Inter”, “Era” TV and radio company, “channel 5”, Ukraine’s radio – 1, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror).