On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 an international kick-off conference „Through communication towards prosperity of the Slovak-Ukrainian crossborder region” was held in Svidník. Project partners and public institutions from the eligible area of Prešov and Košice Self-Governing Region and Transcarpathian Region of Ukraine, as well as other project partners participated in the conference.

Representatives of the project partners from Slovakia and Ukraine met in the premises of the Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidník. Counsellor of The Royal Norwegian Embassy Ms. Rannveig Skofteland and Senior Advisor on EEA and Norway grants Ms Sonia Sulíková also attended the conference.

The conference was opened by Ing. Miron Mikita, director of the Regional Development Agency Svidník, who welcomed the prominent guests present at the opening. The mayor of the city of Svidník Ing. Ján Holodňák gave a speech in which he talked about the history and the present of the city of Svidník and underlined benefits of the position of Svidník on the road Via Carpatia; he also highlighted the importance and expected benefits of the project. In her speech Ms. Rannveig Skofteland presented the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, she highlighted the cooperation between border regions and the project the goal of which is to help to develop the region and crossborder areas through exchange and dissemination of experience of experts.

The Dean of the Faculty of Mass Media Communication, doc. Mgr. Dana Petranová, PhD. introduced the Faculty of Mass Media Communication as a part of the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava. She appreciated that the Faculty of Mass Media Communication has been given an opportunity to participate in this project. She also expressed their willingness and commitment to offer capacities and know-how as well as the drive and passion to cooperate with interesting institutions and people. She thanked for the opportunity to participate in the project and facilitate the development of the Ukrainian region.

A representative of the Embassy of Ukraine in Slovakia Mr. Igor Krachkovskij (First Secretary) also attended the conference; he stressed the need for a dialogue between Ukraine and Slovakia, in order to ensure development of regions. Ukraine focuses its efforts on implementation of various cooperation projects – financial support of these projects enables them to solve the problems Ukraine is facing these days. He sees students´ participation in the project as a positive, because students should be the driving force of the project and a source of new ideas and solutions. Project coordinator Dr. Rajčák outlined the main and specific objectives of the project, its structure and the course and timing of individual activities.

One of the project partners is the Uzhgorod National University. A representative of the university prof. Svetlana Pachomova attended the conference. In her speech, she presented the Uzhgorod National University, which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding this year in October. She appreciated the opportunity to take part in a project that could contribute to development of the Ukrainian region. Mr. Miron Mikita, a representative of another partner involved in the project, highlighted the work and present activities of the Regional Development Agency in Svidník. Ing. Pavol Dolhý, President of the Slovak-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and PhDr. Ondrej Srebala, CSc. gave their speeches, too. At the end of the conference a Memorandum of cooperation was signed by representatives of the Slovak-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and by a representative of Ukraine – Mr. Mikhail Kolibabchuk.

Participants could get to know the Ukrainian region during a guided tour of the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidník.