Svitlana Zalishchuk

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Svitlana Zalishchuk
Світлана Заліщук
People's Deputy of Ukraine
Assumed office
27 November 2014[1]
Personal details
Born (1982-10-24) 24 October 1982 (age 35)
Zhashkiv, Cherkasy Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Political party Democratic Alliance
Other political
Petro Poroshenko Bloc
Spouse(s) Wayne Jordash

Svitlana Zalishchuk (Ukrainian: Світлана Заліщук, born 24 October 1982)[2] is a Member of Ukrainian Parliament, member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs; public leader, journalist, and human rights campaigner.


National Taras Shevchenko University, Institute of Journalism

  • Honours Master Degree in Journalism, 2004-2006
  • Honours Bachelor Degree in Journalism, 1999-2004
  • Focus on international and TV journalism

Awarded John Smith Fellowship Programme, June–July 2008

including study of the functioning of the democratic institutions, meetings at 10 Downing Street, BBC in Glasgow and London, MPs offices, etc. [1]

Awarded Stanford, Draper Hills Summer Fellowship, USA, July–August 2011

focus on democracy and rule of law.


Member of Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Ukraine, November 2014 – present

Svitlana Zalishchuk's focus of parliamentary activity includes strategic lobbying and organizing national and global campaigns on democratization, security, anticorruption, human rights, antidiscrimination, particularly gender and LGBT equality. She is the co-author of more than 30 draft laws on these issues.

Svitlana Zalishchuk is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chair of the Sub-Committee on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

Zalishchuk is the co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship group between Ukraine and United Kingdom and a member of the Parliamentary Friendship groups between Ukraine – Norway and Ukraine – Georgia.

Svitlana Zalishchuk Member of the Parliamentary Caucus ‘Equal Opportunities’ devoted to gender issues. [2]

Zalishchuk is a co-founder and member of the Inter-faction Parliamentary Caucus ‘Eurooptimists’ and ‘Anticorruption Platform’ and the founder of the Open Parliament platform in Ukraine as a part of the Open Government Partnership. [3]

In 2015 Svitlana Zalishchuk was one of the first two MPs in Ukraine who publicly joined LGBT pride, along with Serhiy Leshchenko. [4]

Zalishchuk has been actively involved in representing Ukraine on different international platforms, including UN, CoE, EU Parliament, etc.

As Ukrainian political leader, regular commentator in international media including the New York Times, Le Monde, Bild, Le Temps, Tages Anzeiger, Open Democracy [5], etc.

Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), January 2015-January 2017

  • Campaigning for Resolutions on behalf of Ukraine, particularly concerning human rights protection
  • Member of the Committee on Antidiscrimination and Equality
  • Substitute Member of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Member of the joint Ukraine-EU Parliamentary Committee on Association Agreement between Ukraine and European Union, January 2015-January 2017

Promoting Ukrainian interests through strategic campaigning at the national and EU level

Member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy, founded by National Endowment for Democracy (Washington DC), (July 2014 – present)

Working on global human rights campaigns

In August 2016 she, Serhiy Leshchenko and Mustafa Nayyem (also) from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc joined to Democratic Alliance.[3] From Autumn 2015 until June 2016 they had been part of an attempt to form a political party around then Governor of Odessa Oblast Mikheil Saakashvili with members of the parliamentary group Interfactional Union "Eurooptimists", Democratic Alliance and possibly Self Reliance until this projection collapsed in June 2016.[4]

Human rights campaigning[edit]

Prominent leader of the EuroMaidan events in Ukraine that started in 2013 and led to the 2014 Revolution of Dignity and the beginning of democratic reform

In particular, as Executive Director of ‘Centre UA’, coordinated the largest (in Ukrainian and regional history) and most influential Facebook page Euromaidan, which played a crucial role in the revolution: content included transformative campaigning and coordination of strategic messaging to a daily audience of up to 4 million readers, 2013-2014.

Co-founder and Executive Director of the Kyiv-based ‘Centre of United Actions’ NGO [6]

Focused on media and anticorruption reforms, 2009-2014

  • Designed and implemented more than 30 nationwide projects, involving hundreds of civil society organizations, supported by international donors including USAID, PACT, MATRA (Netherlands Embassy), CIDA (Canadian Embassy), SIDA (Swedish Embassy), Omidyar Network [7], Open Society Foundation, etc. Campaigns included access to information, independent public broadcasting, and freedom of expression.
  • Building multimedia content and platforms to engage multiple stakeholders, including government, media, civil society, and international partners.

Co-founder and member of the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR) [8] civic platform

That after the 2014 Revolution of Dignity united more than 50 NGOs and several hundreds experts and activists for building and promotion of democratic reforms in Ukraine. Dozens of the reformist draft laws elaborated by RPR were adopted by the parliament in 2014.

Co-founder and coordinator of CHESNO (Fair) movement [9]

CHESNO united hundreds of NGOs across Ukraine, aimed at imposing anticorruption and integrity processes upon the public sector, including Ukrainian parliamentarians and public servants. Examples included legislative reform to ensure the integrity of the voting in the Parliament and also electronic declarations of assets for public servants, 2011-2014.

Co-founder and member of the influential journalist movement Stop Censorship! [10]

Сoordinated one hundred prominent Ukrainian journalists to campaign against censorship, promote media reforms, and fight for journalists’ rights, 2010 – 2014.


Press-officer to the Deputy Prime Minister on European Integration in Ukraine, July–September 2005

Led communication team of the newly created office in the Ukrainian Government of the Deputy Prime-Minister on European Integration after so-called Orange Revolution, when Ukraine started its integration processes with EU: tasks included media planning, preparation of briefings, information requests and interviews, coordination with journalists

Spokesperson to the Chief of Staff of the President of Ukraine and Head of the Department of Information in the Main Information Service in the Administration of the President of Ukraine, September 2005-October 2006

  • Secretary of the National Council on Freedom of Speech under the President of Ukraine
  • Management of the communications of the Administration of the President with media and civil society, organization weekly briefings with press corps
  • Focus on establishment of the new framework of transparency and accountability in Presidential office after the Orange Revolution, e.g. media access, press-conferences, interactive communication with media

Deputy Chief of Staff to the Advisor of the President on European and Euro-Atlantic integration, 2006-2009

  • Promotion of Ukraine’s NATO membership Action Plan in EU countries
  • Media campaign in Ukraine to increase public support of NATO integration
  • Working on EU integration policies
  • Cooperation with MPs and representatives of Governments, NGOs and media in US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, etc.


Anchor of live political TV-show on TVi TV-Channel: “From the other side”

Devoted to parliamentary elections in Ukraine, September–October 2012

International reporter at the ‘Fifth TV-Channel’, Ukraine, 2003-2005

The only independent TV-Channel during Orange Revolution. In 2004, journalists initiated nationwide journalist movement against censorship.

Journalist for the First National Radio Channel in Ukraine, 2003

media reports on topical political and cultural issues

Freelance journalist, 2009–present

for various Ukrainian media and social media, including newsprint; ‘Novoe Vriemia’ [11], Ukrainska Pravda [12], Delovaya Stolitsa [13], Volunteer magazine

Editor-in-Chief of the National student Magazine ‘World of Communication’, 2001-2003

Creation and management of the first national student magazine of the Institute of Journalism, Ukraine

Lectures and presentations[edit]

Expert lecturer and featured speaker, 2009 – present

  • Lectures at the National Taras Shevchenko University, Institute of Journalism
  • Lectures internationally, including in the US (e.g., George Washington University), throughout Europe (e.g., Oxford, Berlin Freie University, Humboldt University, Potsdam University, Vilnius University, etc.)
  • Training of local and international NGOs in Ukraine on capacity and influence of the civil society on decision-making
  • Keynote speaker, moderator and speaker at various international and regional forums (including UN, CoE, EU Parliament, Munich Security Conference, etc. [14]) devoted to foreign policy, security and democracy

Personal honours[edit]

Recognized as one of the emerging leaders of Ukraine in 2013 by Washington based, US-Ukraine Foundation in Project ‘40 under 40 Ukrainians’

Recognized as one of the top-100 most influential women in Ukraine by Focus Magazine and Novoe Vriemia Magazine in 2015, 2016 and 2017

Named as a ‘bravest’ women of the Munich Security Conference by German Bild Newspaper in 2016

Svitlana Zalishchuk: "Mister Medvedev, together with President Putin you’ve turned to the page of war, aggression and instability in Europe. Basically you’ve started killing in Georgia, then in Ukraine and now in Syria. I have a question for you: Why don’t you approve the mandate of the United Nations to investigate MH17 as the precondition to restore the trust that you have mentioned in your speech. As well as: Why don’t you ratify the Rome Statute while acknowledging the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court as the precondition for this international dialogue that you have mentioned in your speech. Or do you think that you are going to avoid the international justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity? Thank you". [15]

Awarded Anna Lindh Prize 2016, (after former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden), international award for human rights defenders: a woman or young person with "the courage to fight indifference, prejudice, oppression and injustices in order to promote a good life for all people in an environment marked by respect for human rights" (previous winners include Amira Hass and Madeleine Albright)

Personal interests[edit]

Travel, reading, jogging, cinema

Personal life[edit]

On July 21, 2018, Svitlana Zalishchuk married the British lawyer (QC) Wayne Jordash.

Social media[edit]

Svitlana Zalishchuk has a significant number of followers on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Selected speeches and publications[edit]

  1. Svitlana Zalishchuk: Break-neck speed budget, Kyiv Post (December 29, 2014)
  2. Poroshenko will have to deliver, Kyiv Post (May 29, 2014)
  3. Svitlana Zalischuk | PDF Poland-CEE 2014, (Warsaw: March 13, 2014)
  4. From iPhone to iDemocracy: Lessons from Ukraine, (NYC: June 7, 2013)
  5. Svitlana Zalishchuk | Changing Roles of the Civil Society, (Warsaw: February 1, 2013)
  6. From Maidan Square to the European Parliament: Public hearing on Ukraine with members of Ukrainian opposition, (December 11, 2013)
  7. Kiev Must Launch Reforms, The Moscow Times (May 28, 2014)
  8. La parlementaire Svitlana Zalishchuk évoque la crise politique qui secoue l'Ukraine (in French), Radio Télévision Suisse (February 2016)
  9. L’Ukraine ne tolère plus la corruption, voilà le vrai changement (in French), Le Temps (24 février 2016)
  10. Putin hat es in der Hand, den Konflikt zu beenden (in German), Tages Anzeiger (March 5, 2016)
  11. Has Ukraine's 'Revolution of Dignity' left women behind?, (October 26, 2015)
  12. Ukrainian Nationalists Post Photo Album Threatening LGBT Activists, BuzzFeed News (June 9, 2015)
  13. Parliamentary Elections Show Political Turmoil Is Continuing in Ukraine, New York Times (October 25, 2014)
  14. Election of President Seen as a Beginning to Repairing Ukraine, New York Times (May 24, 2014)
  15. Ukraine: l'émergence de la "génération Maïdan" aux législatives (in French), Le Point (23 octobre 2014)
  16. La nouvelle bataille de Kiev (in French), Le Monde (04 april 2015)
  17. Le report de l'accord entre Kiev et l'UE déclenche une tempête (in French), Tribune de Geneve (15 septembre 2014)
  18. Génération Maïdan (in French), Le Monde (11 april 2014)