Press Releases

Jan 20, 2017

Centre for Economic Strategy and Western NIS Enterprise Fund Launch Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program at Stanford


Centre for Economic Strategy (CES) and Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) announce the launch of the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

The 10-month fellowship at CDDRL offers a unique academic training opportunity for mid-career practitioners working actively as policy makers, legal professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders of civil society organizations in Ukraine to study under the mentorship of the leading Stanford faculty at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. The objective of the program is to strengthen the fellows’ leadership skills and bolster their academic foundation to address development challenges in Ukraine and across the region.

The program is funded by Western NIS Enterprise Fund and CES founders Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and Tomas Fiala.

“The most important foundation of any country is its people. It’s the people who lead change, spearhead innovation, develop democracy, and bring about economic growth. At Western NIS Enterprise Fund, our goal is to create a new community of professionals who would lead Ukraine forward. That’s why, together with CES, we launched the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Fellowship at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. Fellowship participants will learn best world practices and use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to transform Ukraine and the region,” said Jaroslawa Johnson, President and CEO of Western NIS Enterprise Fund.

Tomas Fiala, CEO of Dragon Capital, Founder of CES commented: “CES is proud to support the first Ukraine-focused fellowship program at the world’s leading academic institution promoting democracy. Nurturing new leaders is vital to ensuring that Ukraine’s ongoing political transformation succeeds, and we want to be active participants in this process.”

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, Founder of CES: “At this moment in history, Ukraine is facing formidable challenges. The more educated, deep-thinking and motivated leaders we have, the greater our success will be. The Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program is a key element of the strategy to create a truly powerful and cohesive Ukrainian civic society. I am committed to do the best I can to make this strategy work. Supporting the program wasn’t a question for me — I am truly honored to be part of it, and I am immensely grateful to Stanford for their commitment to Ukraine.”

Application terms and qualification criteria for the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program can be viewed here.

For more details, please contact Natalia Best, Director, Educational Programs, Centre for Economic Strategy, at


Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) is a $150 million regional fund, a pioneer in Ukraine and Moldova with more than two decades of successful experience in investing in small and medium-sized companies. WNISEF was funded by the U.S. government via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Since its inception, WNISEF’s cumulative investments have totaled over $168 million to 118 companies employing around 25,000 people and made it possible to unlock $1.4 billion for companies in Ukraine and Moldova.

In 2015 WNISEF has launched a $35 million legacy program focused on export promotion, local economic development, impact investing and economic leadership. WNISEF is funding innovative, high-impact, reform focused programs and aims to support Ukraine and Moldova at this critical period by developing sound economic policy and leadership. Visit

Centre for Economic Strategy was founded in May 2015 by Tomas Fiala, CEO of Dragon Capital, Ukraine’s leading investment bank, Ivan Miklos, former deputy prime minister and minister of finance of the Slovak Republic, and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, a civic activist and musician. CES contributes to the development of an economic growth strategy for Ukraine, conducts independent analysis of the most important policy issues, and builds public support for reforms. For more details, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (

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