Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What are the qualifications for joining a trip?
A: Anyone with a commitment to, or willingness to learn about, peace and other cultures should apply for a delegation. We encourage participation of people from diverse backgrounds.
Q: Is there a minimum age requirement?
A: 18 years old. However, teens could come along with a parent/guardian.
Q: How many people will be on the trip?
A: Typical trips range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, with 14 as the average number. We will be capping the delegation at 25 people.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: During part of the trip participants will stay together in modest, but safe and clean guesthouses or hotels, with separate accommodations for every participant, unless indicated otherwise. During some key parts of the program (visits to Kharkiv, Svyatogirsk) the program delegates will have the option to stay in hotels or with homestay families in a number of locations. While hotels may be preferable in terms of modern conveniences, homestays allow to maximize the cultural experience. Also, by preferring homestays which are cheaper than hotels, delegates will be contributing to the work of Ukrainian peacebuilding and humanitarian organizations. In the village of Alexandro-Kalinovo all delegates are expected to stay one night in local homes.
Q: What does my delegation fee cover and how much will it cost?
A: Your delegation fee covers: food, visa, lodging, orientation, on-the-ground transportation, translation, accompaniment, facilitation, reading and preparation materials, educational lectures as well as modest contributions to the local social activities that the delegates will be involved in.
Q: What if I don’t live in NYC? Is my airfare still covered?
A: The trip fee includes airfare from NYC. If you do not live in the area, it is your responsibility to arrange appropriate transportation.
Q: Is there any training or orientation before or during the delegation?
A: Preparation for the delegation is an important part of your experience. Before departing for your trip, you will receive reading materials that cover health precautions, items to pack, what to expect from your delegation, and a study guide. An extensive orientation and training session takes place the first day of your trip. This includes cultural awareness, health and safety guidelines, a nonviolence workshop, and an introduction to consensus-based decision-making. You will also become familiar with international development policies as well as the historic and current political reality of the country you’re visiting.
Q: What happens if I am not able to go on the delegation? Is my delegation fee refundable?
A: There are two payments associated with this Ukrainian peace and cultural trip. The first is a $290 non-refundable deposit sent with your application before November 20 that will secure your registration. This deposit is non-refundable except for extenuating circumstances. If NI is forced to cancel the trip for reasons outside our control, the deposit will be returned, subtracting any fees we may have incurred. After November 20th, when the remaining $…… trip payment is due, we, unfortunately, cannot offer any refunds. This may be subject to review on a case by case basis. For more information feel free to contact us directly.
Q: What type of skills will I learn on an NI trip?
A: On your delegation, you will gain invaluable experience that will serve you personally, academically, and professionally for years to come. By going on a delegation, you will learn about Ukraine, Ukrainian history as well as relevant history of neighboring states, local youth, international peacemaking, group process, civil humanitarian work in response to violence and war, cross-cultural sensitivity, diplomacy and much more. You will become a contributor to the efforts of courageous local civil groups who are trying to support victims of conflict and assist in achieving a lasting peace for their country.
Q: Who sets up the trip and accompanies the group?
A: Andre Kamenshikov is the representative of the Nonviolence International and the regional coordinator of an international civil society network – the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in the Eastern Europe region. He has over 25 years of experience as a civil peacebuilding activist in conflict areas of the ex-USSR. He was the founder of Nonviolence International–CIS, a civil society organization that was based in Moscow and operated in the post-soviet states for 22 years until it had to be closed due to the current political climate in Russia. He is an author of a number of publications about the role of civil society in post-soviet conflicts, including “International experience of civilian peacebuilding in the post-soviet space”, published in 2016 by the “Ukrainian Peacebuilding School” coalition in Kharkiv. He also has experience handling US tours to post-soviet states. Andre will be the main organizer of the program in Ukraine. He will be assisted by representatives of a number of Ukrainian civil society organizations working on peace and humanitarian issues.
Q: Is it dangerous to travel to Ukraine?
A: The safety of our delegates is of the utmost concern to NI. We have been hosting delegations for many years and have extensive networks in the countries in which we operate. This experience has allowed us to responsibly and safely coordinate delegations. Before beginning any delegation, participants receive an extensive security and health briefing, and go over common sense precautions. While we do plan to visit locations and organizations working not far from the “contact line” with separatist-held areas in the eastern part of Ukraine, safety is our first priority. This also means that the program of the visit may be somewhat amended in the unlikely case of serious negative developments around the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine. By following such measures, delegations are generally very safe.
Q: What do I do if I have more questions?
A: If you have more questions about the trip, please contact Michael Beer at the national office by calling (202) 244-0951