On June 10, 2021, at the invitation of the Ukrainian Association in the Republic of South Africa, a team of researchers from the International Institute of Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations, Lviv Polytechnic National University, took part in the International Conference Socio-Economic Connections between Eastern Europeans in South Africa, which was held online. The organizers of the event, in addition to the Ukrainian Association in South Africa, were Sol Plaatje University (South Africa) and Polish Association of Siberian Deportees (South Africa).
Oksana Piatkovska, CSc (Econ.), Deputy Director of the Institute, made a keynote speech on behalf of IECDR. In the presentation, based on the analysis of selected results of the study «Ukrainians of the Republic of South Africa: society, identity, future», the speaker revealed the important role of Ukrainian migrants in South Africa in establishing economic cooperation between Ukraine and South Africa.
In particular, Oksana Piatkovska demonstrated the place of Ukraine in global migration flows, the dynamics and peculiarities of migration from Ukraine to Africa and South Africa; revealed the specifics of economic integration of Ukrainians in South Africa, and also presented a correlation analysis of the impact of Ukrainian migration on the dynamics of exports from Ukraine to South Africa. In addition, she told about the desire of Ukrainian migrants in South Africa to join the establishment of economic, including trade, cooperation between the two countries, as well as the main challenges facing them today on the way to successful implementation of their business plans.
The reports on the history and overview of migration from Central Europe to South Africa (Cobus Rademeyer, Sol Plaatje University); history of formation and modern development of the Polish diaspora in South Africa (Stefan Szewczuk, Polish Association of Siberian Deportees); formation of the Romanian community and its relations with Romania (Stefan Cibian, Fagaras Research Institute); research of the Bulgarian community in South Africa (Nikolai Vukov, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences); formation, development and institutionalization of the Ukrainian community in South Africa (Dzvinka Kachur, Stellenbosh University); the Hungarian community and new opportunities for international cooperation (Istvan Tarrosy, University of Pecs), as well as the experience of student and academic exchanges between Romania and South Africa (Silviu Rogobete, West University of Timisoara) were presented at the conference.
Scientists, researchers, academic staff and students from South Africa, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Georgia, as well as diplomats, including Liubov Abravitova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to South Africa, and Beka Dvali, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to South Africa took part in the conference.
During the discussion that took place at the end of the event, participants found many common features in the processes of migration, integration and community formation among people from Central and Eastern Europe in South Africa, and stressed the lack of attention of researchers to this issue. Therefore, the organizers got convinced that such scientific discussion platforms should be held on a regular basis to expand the circle of interested scientists, further exchange methodologies and research results, as well as establish relationships and form international research networks.