Three Years, Three New Leaders: The Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program Selects its Next Class



Now in its third year, the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program hosted at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University is delighted to welcome three leading reformers and activists to campus in Fall 2019.

Kateryna Bondar, Artem Romanyukov, and Pavel Vrzheshch will join the growing network of Ukrainian leaders to attend the 10-month fellowship program. While at Stanford, they will work on projects to improve Ukraine’s innovation development, anti-corruption efforts in key sectors, and creative political communication strategies for the Ukrainian government. 

In 2019 Ukraine has faced both presidential and parliamentary elections that have defined the country’s trajectory as a democracy. Ukraine’s continued success in democratic development is dependent on its continuation of reforms as carried out by young leaders such as Bondar, Romanyukov, and Vrzheshch.

The Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program (UELP) is a 10-month academic training fellowship hosted at Stanford University. The program was founded in 2016 by the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute together with Oleksandr and Kateryna Akymenko (Stanford John S. Knight fellows) as an initiative to address development challenges in Ukraine and across the broader region.  The program has been funded with generous support from Astem.Foundation (Rustem Umerov), Believe in Yourself Foundation (Victor and Iryna Ivanchyk), Dragon Capital (Tomas Fiala), MacPaw (Oleksandr Kosovan), Luminate, Liudy Maybutnoho (Svyatoslav Vakarchuk), and the Western NIS Enterprise Fund.


Kateryna Bondar
Ministry of Finance

Kateryna Bondar is a member of the Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Finance. The Reform Support Team was created for implementation and promotion of the reform agenda, as well as the coordination of stakeholder activities, communication of reform results and insurance of their sustainability.

Kateryna works as a Social Reform Coordinator and her core responsibility is pension reform implementation. She facilitated the activities of Ukrainian Government, the IMF and World Bank teams both on technical aspects and political process of the reform. This work culminated in a draft pension reform law that was promulgated in Fall 2017. It was recognized by all international partners as a major achievement in addressing fiscal and social challenges of the national pension system in Ukraine.

Kateryna is very passionate about innovation development in Ukraine and has contributed to the government’s agenda of innovation support. In particular, in cooperation with key ministries and reformers she helped develop a reform concept, which would form a comprehensive innovation development system. This includes a legal framework, funding and infrastructure development initiatives. 

Kateryna has diverse experience both in the private sector, having worked for big international companies in banking and IT domains, and public affairs. After joining the Project Management Office of the National Reforms Council, Kateryna has been deeply involved in the reform implementation process for the past four years.

Kateryna graduated from the Institute of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.


Artem Romaniukov
Civil Control Platform / Save Dnipro

Artem Romaniukov is the chairman of the board for the Civil Control Platform and co-founder at the Save Dnipro initiative in Dnipro, Ukraine. Civil Control Platform (CCP) is one of the leading anti-corruption organizations in Ukraine involved both in national and local issues. Save Dnipro is a successful environmental civil initiative in Ukraine promoting innovations and fighting for the environmental rights of Ukrainians. Within CCP Artem fights corruption byconducting investigations and promoting the e-democracy and transparency solutions for Ukrainian local governments and implemented the launch of the new public e-procurement system ProZorro at the local level. 

In addition to this work, Artem has been elected as a member of the Civil Oversight Council of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine three times. He was also recognized by Novoye Vremya magazine for the People of Novoye Vremya award for his work on local reforms.

Romanyukov’s project aims to continue judicial, Police and Prosecutor’s Office reform in Ukraine from the HR perspective.


Pavel Vrzeshch
Banda Agency

Pavel Vrzheshch is the co-founder and creative director of Banda Agency. Under his leadership Banda won the Cannes Lions festival and became the Agency of the year at the Red Dot design awards in 2018.

By the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Vrzheshch and his team developed the first Ukrainian global brand  – ‘Ukraine Now’. Focus magazine ranked Vrzheshch amongst the top 100 most influential Ukrainians, and he was ranked #1 “the Entrepreneur of the year 2018” by MC Today. Pavel is also co-founder of the Kyiv Academy of Media Arts.

While at Stanford Vrzheshch’s project will be dedicated to finding ways of incorporating modern methods and creativity in order to help governmental institutions communicate their actions effectively.