US Army Europe strengthens relationship with Ukrainian parliamentarians
WIESBADEN, Germany– As the world celebrates the accomplishments women have made throughout history on International Women’s Day, U.S. Army Europe’s senior leaders hosted four top Ukrainian parliamentarians, March 8-9.
The two-day event focused on providing U.S. Army Europe’s perspective on the civilian oversight of the military as well as current and future military training and exercises in Ukraine.
Leading discussions on behalf of the Ukrainian parliamentarians was Oksana Syroyid, the vice speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine. Syroyid is the first female to serve in this position since the country became a sovereign state 27 years ago.
“I told myself that I would never get into politics because of my background,” Syroyid said. “But I realized that change was needed and I wanted to bring about change for my country. So I became very vocal and the people heard me.”
Syroyid has been in office more than two years now and participated in approximately five senior leader organized focused groups to discuss and find best solutions for her country.
During the two-day visit, Syroyid and her team received multiple briefings from U.S. Army Europe’s staff leaders on their roles and responsibilities within the organizations. They also had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Army Europe’s senior female leaders to share ideas and discuss the history of women in the military.
“In Ukraine, women have long served alongside their male counterparts … going back to the 17th century,” Syroyid said. “Ukraine was the one of the first European countries to ensure women’s civic rights.”
Syroyid went on to say the biggest challenges for Ukrainian women have been the need to prove themselves and their qualification for certain positions.
Col. Gail Curley, the staff judge advocate for U.S. Army Europe has spent the last 26 years serving actively in the U.S. Army and shared some of her personal military experiences with the parliamentarians.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” Curley said. “As a young Army signal officer I was able to lead a large platoon in Europe during my first assignment … that was at a time when women were not allowed to serve as platoon leaders in certain jobs; especially at division levels.”
Curley added, now we fast forward to today and we are seeing so many more women coming up through the ranks … seeing so many women as brigade commanders … seeing women being accepted into combat arms, it is very inspiring.
At the end of the two-day visit, Syroyid expressed her gratitude to U.S. Army Europe.
“Although the conditions are very challenging in Ukraine, this continued partnership brings me hope for the future of my country,” Syroyid said.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.
Source: US Army (USAREUR)