The wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, held the wrap-up online meeting of 2023 with the participants of the First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit.
The meeting was joined by Bo Tengberg, husband of the Prime Minister of Denmark, Sirje Karis, First Lady of Estonia, Eliza Reid, First Lady of Iceland, María Begoña Gómez Fernández, wife of the President of the Government of Spain, Tamara Vučić, First Lady of Serbia, Juraj Rizman, partner of the President of Slovakia, Aleš Musar, husband of the President of Slovenia, Eva Pavlová, First Lady of the Czech Republic, and Amelie Derbaudrenghien, wife of the President of the European Council.
The annual Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen was founded in 2021 by Olena Zelenska to bring together the spouses of state leaders to create an international platform for sharing experiences and implementing joint projects for the well-being of people around the world.
The theme of the first Summit, which took place in 2021, was "Soft Power in the New Reality". Its goal was to strengthen the influence of first ladies and gentlemen in overcoming global humanitarian challenges.
The second Summit (2022), titled "Ukraine and the World: The Future We (Re)Build Together", focused on the impact of Russian aggression against Ukraine and placed emphasis on the human aspect. On the sidelines of the Summit, $6.4 million was raised to purchase 92 ambulances for Ukraine.
The third Summit "Mental Health: Fragility and Resilience of the Future" (2023) touched upon the topic of psychological resilience in the face of challenges and cataclysms in Ukraine and the world. The event was joined by 29 participants either in person or via video link. On the sidelines of the event, there was a presentation of an international sociological study on mental health and attitudes towards it in different countries. The survey was conducted in 11 countries: Argentina, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Poland, the USA, Türkiye, Ukraine, Croatia, and Japan. The research, commissioned by the Summit, was conducted by the British company Alligators Digital. Expert support was provided by the Coordination Center for Mental Health under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Brand Ukraine, and the NGO "Barrier-Free".
Respondents in these countries said, in particular, that they felt the influence of the war on their mental health.
In addition, 25 memoranda of medical partnership were signed during the third Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen. Medical institutions in France, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, and North Macedonia, as well as leading hospitals in Poland, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands became twinned with Ukrainian hospitals.
The Ukrainian partners were medical institutions from Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Zakarpattia regions.
During the wrap-up meeting, Olena Zelenska welcomed the first gentlemen from Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark who joined the community this year and thanked them for their cooperation and support for Ukraine in the face of full-scale Russian aggression.
The first ladies and gentlemen shared the results of their work in 2023 and plans for the next year.
For example, the husband of the Prime Minister of Denmark, Bo Tengberg, is working on a documentary series about the impact of the war on Mykolaiv and its residents, as well as the reconstruction of the city.
First Lady of Estonia Sirje Karis shared the results of Estonia's cooperation with Zhytomyr region and spoke about the interaction with the Olena Zelenska Foundation.
First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid spoke about the results of the Global Women's Leadership Forum. The wife of the Prime Minister of Spain, María Begoña Gómez Fernández, emphasized the active work of the embassies of Ukraine and Spain to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian children into Spanish society and spoke about the cooperation of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense in training Ukrainian doctors in the fields of amputations and rehabilitation.
The First Lady of Serbia, Tamara Vučić, shared the results of her active work in promoting and preserving cultural heritage and invited her colleagues to participate in a related festival.
The partner of the President of Slovakia, Juraj Rizman, said that participation in the third Summit helped him launch projects on the importance of mental health in Slovakia and emphasized that he was actively promoting the topic of cooperation with Ukraine in society.
The husband of the President of Slovenia, Aleš Musar, informed that the first stage of training Ukrainian trainers in Moldova in providing psychosocial assistance to children had been completed and thanked the Ukrainian rescuers for their help in eliminating the consequences of the flood in Rečica ob Savinji.
The spouse of the President of the European Council, Amelie Derbaudrenghien, congratulated Ukraine on a new stage on its way to joining the EU and emphasized the need to continue providing assistance and support to our country.
Olena Zelenska presented an updated vision for the development of the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen as a global platform.
"Since the invasion of Ukraine began, the Summit participants have been working to help both Ukraine and the world fight Russian aggression and its global consequences. Today, I see that the Summit's platform, which operates continuously, is ready to respond to the humanitarian challenges of today. We can say that this is our updated mission. And, as we have already found out, the challenges facing all people of the world are very similar. It is no coincidence that when we studied mental health this year, we particularly explored the "formula of resilience" that helps Ukraine to hold on and that can be learned by others. And I think our Summit has already found it – in interaction, shared values and helping those in need," the President's wife said.