Irina Zhdanova

Irina Zhdanova

Founder of the NGO “Open Policy Foundation” and Klym Churyumov Scientific Lyceum, Candidate of Historical Sciences

I am the founder of two organizations: the non-governmental organization “Open Policy Foundation” (since 2008) and the first private scientific lyceum in Ukraine - Klym Churyumov International Green School (since 2020), Candidate of Historical Sciences (1996). I was born in the small town of Chernyakhiv in the Zhytomyr region. I went to two schools at the same time - a local one and Republican Mathematical School. Then I worked as an outfitter in a trolleybus depot to gain service time and enter the Faculty of History at Taras Shevchenko National University, which I dreamed of. I graduated with honors and pursued my postgraduate studies. My dissertation explored the theme of the Ukrainian intelligentsia between the 20th and 21st centuries. I also studied in Israel on MASHAV educational innovation programs.

My historical research was used in the Law of Ukraine “On Civil Service”. I worked at the Arts Support Fund of Ukraine, the Institute of Ukrainian-Russian Relations at the NSDC. At the State Institute of Family and Youth, I researched issues regarding the prevention of non-chemical and gadget use disorders among young people, as well as advocated (successfully) for the closure of slot machine facilities.

I run a business. In 2007-2012, I organized a volunteer family traveling festival “How to Draw a Bird…” and a network of family centers at schools, as well as the children's “Birds” media studio. In 2012, I founded the International Green School in the highland village of Kosmach and created a center for non-formal education.

Since the beginning of the war, all my activities have been aimed at ensuring access of conflict-affected children and youth to Ukrainian education.

To advocate for specialized science education for schoolchildren, I organized the Civic Platform for the Reform of the Scientific Sphere in Ukraine and successfully promoted a separate section and articles on science education in two laws of Ukraine.

I am the author of GREEN STREAM methods, which combine science, mathematics, and traditional art in the educational space of the 21st century.

I believe in quality distance education. My dream is to provide access to innovative education for children from small towns and villages. For this purpose, I launched my own educational start-up in 2020. In the same year, I initiated with scientists an all-Ukrainian movement to support start-ups among schoolchildren.

I am married to Ihor Zhdanov, the Maidan commandant, Minister of Youth and Sport in 2014-2019.

I have a son and a daughter who studied and work in Ukraine. This is my best success story.

I love folk art, knitting, skiing, popular science literature, watching the stars, and admiring the beauty of simple things.

 

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