About us


a community of friends

We started Don’t Give Up Ukraine on February 24. We were shocked by the rape of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. We were outraged and, yes, afraid. We asked ourselves what we, philosophers, can do in these dark hours. Karl Marx wrote in 1845 “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is however to change it.” Today we rephrase this statement: “philosophers have interpreted war; the point is how to stop it.”

We want Don’t Give Up Ukraine to be a cracked window of reflection to discuss and explore issues regarding the war which are mind blowing. We envision a community of friends of Ukraine, and of humanity. A community of friends who can shed some light, from different points of view, on what happens to us, to Ukraine and to the world today.

In our broadcast and postcast we talk with our friends about a range of subjects: just peace, the gulag, Ukrainian literature, the Greek Catholic Church, the role of the intellectuals, the Ukrainian Diaspora, Europe, women and war, mourning and more. All with one aim, which we took from Hannah Arendt: “I need to understand”. Because proper understanding paves a way to a future for a liberated Ukraine and a humane and peaceful world, where rights are taken seriously. That’s no small talk. It requires to bring bright minds together to look for sensible answers. In that adventure we need each other. We will keep inviting friends of Ukraine to share with us their ideas in our broadcasts and podcasts until Putin is defeated, and every inch of Ukraine is liberated. That’s a promise.

Why ukraine?

We took our motto from the German historian Karl Schögel: “The future of Europe will be decided in Kyiv and Lviv.” Ukraine is on its way to this future since it chooses to be an independent, sovereign nation. Step by step it carved out this future, starting in 1991, the Orange Revolution in 2004, Maidan in 2013-14 and the war today. On all these defining moments Ukrainians decided, time after time, for a peaceful but thorny path to democracy, rule of law and a market economy. That makes Ukraine outstanding in world history since the Second World War.

We wittnessed and participated in these historic moments. There was and is a lot at stake. In Ukraine dwells ‘der Weltgeist’, to use a phrase of Hegel. Where Ukraine goes, Russia goes. Were Russia goes, the world goes. This is today even more true, and in an immensely more tragic sense, than thirty years ago. Worldwide we are witnessing the clash between democracy, rule of law and human rights on the one side, and autocracy, rule of violence and rape of rights on the other. Not only the future or Europe will be decided in Kyiv and Lviv; the future of the world will be decided in Ukraine, in Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, and yes, Bucha and Izyium. We choose to be part in this decision. This is no time for bystanders. That’s why Don’t Give Up Ukraine is about Ukraine and the Ukrainians.


Meet the team


Ruud Meij

Ruud Meij is a philosopher. Until his retirement he was teaching and the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht (The Netherlands). He is partner in Governance & Integrity and director of the Foundation for Justice Integrity and Anti Corruption.
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Orysya Bila

Orysya Bila is philosopher and professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv.

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