Queen's University

Canadian documentary features Queen's democracy project


A documentary film that features work done in Ukraine by the Queen’s Centre for Studies on Democracy and Diversity (CSDD) will be broadcast on Canadian television this month.

Exporting Democracy? explores whether democracy can be exported, and examines international assistance projects in Tanzania and Indonesia, as well as Ukraine. The film was conceived and produced by film-maker Don Duchene.

"This is an important film with a significant message, particularly given current events in North Africa and the Middle East,” says George Perlin, professor emeritus in the School of Policy Studies and director of the CSDD. "It makes the point that democracy-building is a complex and difficult process that has to be adapted to distinctive local circumstances and takes long-term commitment."

The segment on Ukraine focuses on the connection between the power of education and the forces of change. It follows the work of the CSDD project Building Democracy in Ukraine (BDU), which has established a comprehensive curriculum on the study of democracy for Ukraine’s universities, the educational system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, teacher training institutions, and secondary schools.

Mr. Duchene made two visits to Ukraine to shoot film about the project’s activities. His film looks at the nature and impact of the project’s work from multiple perspectives: students who have taken project courses, authors of texts, participants in project research conferences, leaders of the Ukrainian educational system, and NGOs.

The BDU Project, which was established in 2004, has successfully consolidated and extended the achievements of an earlier collaborative project, the Canada-Ukraine Democracy Education Project. Following the success of these two projects, the percentage of universities in Ukraine that now have democracy courses has increased from two per cent to 89 per cent. Ukraine also has 407 professionally- trained democracy professors where there used to be none. The estimated annual enrollment of students in post-secondary foundation courses on democracy has leapt from 0 to 40,000.

The documentary has been produced in two cuts. The shorter version will be broadcast on Vision TV on June 20 at 10 pm. The longer version will air on iChannel and SCN this fall.

For more information about the film visit the website.

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Last updated at 4:55 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
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