Jönköping hosts Ukrainian delegation to explore public sector modernisation

The Ukrainian delegation is composed of women only, as men are currently not allowed to travel out of Ukraine.

This week, Jönköping University welcomes ten politicians and public servants from the north-eastern Ukrainian municipality of Konotop. They will spend five intensive days visiting municipal, private, and third-sector organisations to learn about the democratisation and modernisation of the public sector.

Timur Uman, Professor in Business Administration at JIBS and project leader MCAD

The visit is part of a project cooperation between Jönköping Municipality, Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) at Jönköping University, and Konotop that has been running since the beginning of the year. The Swedish Institute-funded project is called Municipal Governance, Accountability, and Democratisation (MCAD) and is led by Timur Uman, Professor of Business Administration at JIBS.

"This project is important in many ways, not least to (re)-establish clear governance structures in the Ukrainian municipal sector. But also, because the Ukrainian participants learn from the Swedish model, while we Swedish participants gain an understanding of how to maintain accountability during crises,” says Timur Uman.

The MCAD project has three parts. The first part was a five-day online course about the Swedish model of municipal governance, legal aspects, accountability, and democratisation. The second part is now underway in Jönköping and includes educational and practical activities.

An important step toward rebuilding and modernisation

The Ukrainian participants find the visit to Jönköping exciting and are grateful for all the new insights and experiences.

" It is very inspiring to see how it works in Sweden and in Jönköping. You put people first, which is what we want to do in Ukraine. Sweden is progressive and we want to learn from it. We are many years behind, for example in gender equality and how countries and cities are governed, but we have no time to wait. We want to make big changes in a short time,” says Teitiana Shevechenko, deputy of the Konotop City Council.

After the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation and liberation of Konotop, democratic institutions were weakened. To rebuild and strengthen these institutions, tools are needed for both democratically elected representatives and community leaders. Researchers from JIBS, together with Jönköping Municipality and Konotop Municipality, are working on developing these tools in the project.

"We have a fantastic cooperation with Jönköping Municipality. They wanted to help rebuild Ukraine and got in touch with Konotop which was occupied but has now been liberated. Helping politicians and civil servants work together to create a framework for a functioning society is very rewarding," says Timur Uman.

The challenges in Ukraine are enormous. There is a shortage of electricity and water, and people are living under a lot of stress and anxiety. At the same time, the Ukrainians say they have become used to the war, it has become a way of life and now they want to focus on the future, on how Konotop and the country can become stronger as soon as possible.

“Partnerships and cooperation inspire us and strengthen our faith in the future. We are grateful for the project and all the advice we are receiving on rebuilding our country," says Rozanova Oksana”, Head of the Department of Social Protection of the Konotop City Council.

In the final part of the project, participants will design mini projects to improve accountability in Konotop. Researchers at JIBS will act as mentors and monitor the implementation of these projects.


The project group includes two representatives from JIBS: Timur Uman, Professor of Business Administration, and Yuliya Khvatsik, Assistant Professor in Law. Jönköping Municipality is represented by Chantal Coté, Head of Internationalization, and Vanessa Persson, International Coordinator. Vitaly Boiko, Advisor to the Mayor of Konotop Municipality, is also part of the project group.