Being responsible is… Reflections of famous Ukrainians on various aspects of responsibility

Many people in today’s world demand their own rights, but how many of them think about their own responsibility? Once such thoughts inspired Bohdan Hawrylyshyn to create the Declaration of Human Responsibilities, which was published in 2014. The declaration consists of 15 points – very simple phrases, but deep and wise in their content. Each of the points reveals what we should be responsible for, so as not to wait only for the observance of rights, but to take our own steps. 

In honor of the creation of this guide, as well as to introduce the All-Ukrainian Human Responsibility Day, the Bohdan Hawrylyshyn Family Foundation invited well-known Ukrainians to talk about their responsibilities and about a specific point of the declaration.



His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the UGCC

Treat others as you want others to treat you.

“I want to declare that I am glad to support the establishment of the All-Ukrainian Day of Human Responsibility. Obviously, not even because we are responsible only one day a year, but, indeed, to cultivate in our people a sense of self-responsibility as an essential condition of human dignity and freedom. Respecting others also means realizing and respecting one’s own dignity. Today we are in a moment in human history when irresponsibility can destroy freedom, and the ghosts of modern totalitarianism are already looming on the horizon. ”

Christine Hawrylyshyn-Batruch, President of the Foundation

Speak the truth 

“Human Responsibility Day is not yet an official day, it is a day that we will try to make popular, because it is very important for us. 

The first point of the Declaration of Human Responsibilities is “Speak the truth”. What does it mean? We all know that life is difficult, and sometimes we may not be completely sincere. But you should believe in your values. This is very important. We must never forget what is important to us, to our family, to society. Telling the truth means to be humble in the matters that concern us in life. We must try to be truthful to ourselves, first and foremost, and then to others, because that is the way we can build society. Living in  society means to pursue common goals together, to build democracy together, to try to do good together. And I think this first point of the Declaration means that as you speak the truth, you can expect others to follow you and do the same. ”

Oleksandra Matviichuk, Euromaidan SOS coordinator, chairman of the board of the Center for Civil Liberties

Protect Human Rights 

“Human rights are a shield that protects each of us from the tyranny of the majority, no matter how powerful it may be whether in the face of the state machine or the millions of people… Human rights are not given once and forever. We pass a test for their approval every day. And if we fail this test for a long time or avoid responsibility, sooner or later we will have to pay a high price.”

Pavlo Sheremeta, economist, Minister of Economy and Trade (2014) 

Help your country 

“In paragraph 13 of the Declaration of Human Responsibility, Bohdan Hawrylyshyn begins by saying:“ Be law-abiding ”… If you don’t like the law, work to improve it! If you are inside the parliament, organize a coalition, if you are outside the parliament, create a social coalition so that a better law is passed. But while this law is in force, these taxes must be paid, these duties must be fulfilled, we must wait until the red light switches to green… ”

Yevhen Hlibovytskyi, journalist, political scientist, member of the Nestor Expert Group 

Build an Effective Society

“One of the concepts introduced by Bohdan Hawrylyshyn is the concept of an effective society. He sees this as a whole set of indicators that are very difficult to combine into one. We are talking about the need for members of society to be self-aware, that is, subjective, they need to understand well what they want, what they can do, what they lack, for example, knowledge or information. They are able to form groups, to establish horizontal connections with each other. This means that such members of society understand the broader circumstances in which they exist, that they are aware of their history and culture. It is as much a question of how cost-effective they can be as they see their place in the world.”

Ulana Suprun, acting Minister of Health of Ukraine (2016 – 2019), public activist and reformer 

Maintain your health in the best possible state 

“For every hryvnia we invest in prevention, we can save 99 hryvnias on treatment. And when we take care of our health, we put a lot less strain on the health care system. But taking care of your health is also important just for yourself. In order for us to have more strength, more energy every day. When we are happier, healthier, we can develop ourselves, our country and our economy. ”

Anzhelika Rudnytska, singer, artist, president of the TerritoryA art agency

Learn, develop your talents

“It is extremely important not to think that if you graduated from school, university, received a diploma, then all your education and all your culture ended there. The world is evolving, technologies are evolving, the sphere of communications is evolving. Mankind discovers many things that were previously incomprehensible. And that is why each of us has to master new knowledge… It is important to learn from each other. It is also important to make a creative, life-loving, and optimistic atmosphere that will turn our lives into a community creation, and society, in fact, is a community creation.”

Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, banker and economist, former Chairman of the Board of Raiffeisen Bank Aval

Search for harmony between your private, professional, social lives 

“Observing a large number of successful businessmen and not only business people, I can say that only harmoniously developed, interesting individuals who have their own hobbies, who care about the community of their village, city, and some countries, have long-term and valuable results…A person’s success is saturated and enriched by the success of other people in the community. It is very important to realize that you can achieve something real, not necessarily global, but something real in your life, when you are a harmonious person, when you are aware of your harmony.”

Iryna Ivanchyk, entrepreneur, founder of the “Povir u sebe” Charitable Foundation 

Solve Problems

“It is very useful to pay attention to small victories over yourself and celebrate them when solving problems. Of course, we also need to pay attention to failures, but only in order to deeply analyze them, to optimistically correct, solve and move on.” 

Denys Bloshchynskyi, founder of 42 Agency, co-founder of the “Z Krainy v Ukrainu” Foundation, co-organizer of Alfa Jazz Fest, musician

Be tolerant to diversity

“I would like to single out two extremely important contexts of tolerance – freedom and dignity, without which it is simply impossible to imagine. The philosophical aspect of this phenomenon focuses on the readiness to perceive any person, event, phenomenon that a person encounters on his way. And the freedom of another person, the freedom of human self-realization in society, is the basis of political interaction around tolerance… Being tolerant to diversity gives us the opportunity to see something new, tho observe new opportunities in the chaos of uncertainty, and to build the new future we need today as people, individuals, community, cities, villages, nation, and country. ”

Ruslana Lyzhychko, singer, composer, public activist

Responsibilities to the environment

“The responsibility to preserve nature lies with each of us who consumes its gifts. We cannot translate this only to government structures, or complain to the authorities, or say that some environmental programs, green projects, and so on are not active enough. No matter how active leaders are, responsibility and awareness are on each of us.

My message today is to recall Bohdan Hawrylyshyn’s words, incredibly deep, incredibly heartfelt, and not just to remember them but to follow them. ” 

We invite you to support the idea of introducing the All-Ukrainian Human Responsibility Day: