Walter-Scheel-Prize 2022
Ukrainian education activist Halyna Tytysh receives the Walter Scheel Prize 2022

Halyna Tytysh

Halyna Tytysh ist Gründerin der Organisation „Smart Osvita“ und ehemalige Chefredakteurin der Website Ukrainska Pravda.Zhyttia.

The award winner and her commitment

Halyna Tytysh receives the Walter Scheel Prize 2022 for her commitment to education in the wake of the Russian war of aggression. With her organization "Smart Osvita," she has been offering courses for teachers and school administrators for years. When Russia invaded Ukraine, she switched to online courses for students aged 6 to 15.

Education as light in the dark

"The Russians are trying to rob us of our memory and our future. They threaten to execute Ukrainian teachers if they refuse to teach in Russian-occupied schools and bring teachers from Russia as substitutes," said the laureate Halyna Tytysh. On Feb. 24, 2022, Ukraine woke up to a new reality. People woke up to explosions, which henceforth would not choke. Tytysh and a psychologist friend Svitlana Roiz, quickly found an outlet for the fear and horror the Russians were causing. Within days, a support system was up and running. Online classes helped students and young people with resilience training and later lessons. 

"Children are especially stressed by the war, and their educational process is disrupted," Tytysh said. "We decided to offer these online meetings and online lessons for children to distract them from reality and give them an opportunity to learn something new. Initially, volunteer teachers came from Ukraine, but word spread about the initiative and soon teachers from Canada, the U.S., Japan, Spain and the U.K. came forward to help," Tytysh says.

The commitment was impressive and confirmed Tytysh and her colleagues in their enterprise. Because education represents the future. The values with which children in Ukraine will grow into adulthood and with which they will continue to rebuild the nation are what Tytysh and colleagues want to pass on to them. The Ukrainian education system is steeped in humanistic values. "It's about educating proactive, European-oriented, critical-thinking people with civic skills," Tytysh says.  

According to Tytysh, the Ukrainian education system is shaped by humanistic values. It is about raising proactive, European-oriented, critical-thinking people with civic competencies. 

"We cannot imagine life without freedom of choice, fair and transparent elections, civic engagement in reform and governance, and respect for dignity and integrity. These things are what make independent Ukraine what it is. These things are absolutely impossible in modern Russia", underlines Tytysh. 

Halyna Tytysh gives hope to children in dark times. Her enthusiasm is infectious and helps to give children a self-determined life. Without education, there is no self-determined life.

Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Paqué
Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Paqué, Chairman of the Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

About the Walter-Scheel-Prize

The Walter Scheel Prize was first awarded on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2011. Since 2015, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Walter Scheel Foundation and the Freundeskreis Walter Scheel e.V. have been the official awarding bodies. The prize is awarded to individuals who have made a special contribution to the social significance of development cooperation through their commitment or work. At the same time, the prize commemorates the political achievements of Walter Scheel, who was the first minister to head the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which was founded in 1961. 

The award ceremony took place on October 28 in Bonn.