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The Art and Craft of Lobbying 2016: report from Ukrainian participants

This is not the first year that thanks to a joint program of the Professional Lobbying and Advocacy Institute in Ukraine and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies of American University young Ukrainian specialists obtain an opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills in the craft of lobbying.

In 2016 the professional course "The Art and Craft of Lobbying" was attended by three participants from Ukraine: Andriy Lebedev (lifecell), Yuriy Bondaryev (National Organization of Retail Trade) and Oleksandr Guzenko (CFC Consulting); Overall there were 12 young professionals, most of them from the United States of America. Two-weeks course was held from May, 9 to May, 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.

This course study has been developed and improved for many years, and combines both elements of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. "The Art and Craft of Lobbying" is supervised by professors James Thurber and Patrick Griffin who have extensive theoretical and practical experience in this area.

To provide diversified review of lobbying industry, more than 20 specialists were invited to deliver the course and share details and aspects of their profession. Among them were companies representatives involved in direct lobbying, public relations, media relations, consulting, analytics, social media and others.

This year young professionals were tasked with not an easy case study. Professor James Thurber and Patrick Griffin offered for consideration and development of lobbying campaign one of the most ambitious trade agreements of the United States – Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Over the last 7 years, 12 countries of the Pacific region discussed details of the agreement and, finally, on the 4th of February 2016 the agreement was signed by the leaders of 12 countries. However, in order to implement the trade association agreement, it should be ratified by 12 member countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The agreement consists of 30 chapters, with detailed description on 2,000 pages and covering aspects related to the acceleration of economic development, creating jobs, innovations development, reduce of poverty and unemployment, promoting transparency, responsible governance, protection of employees rights and environmental protection. In addition, trade agreement stimulates economic growth through lower taxes on imports and exports, creating quotas for certain product groups to ensure competitiveness of member countries, as well as effective mechanisms for trade disputes solutions.

Participants of the course were divided into two groups: the first had to develop a lobbying strategy against Trans-Pacific Partnership and offer it to The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the other group had to develop a strategy to support the Agreement and to present it to the American Chamber of Commerce.

Among the first group participants were Ukrainian experts Yuriy Bondaryev and Oleksandr Guzenko, the second included a young lobbyist Andriy Lebedev. The lobbying campaign implementation period was determined between beginning of June 2016 and January 2017 with the budget USD 5 million. In terms of strategy development was taken into account a range of political and economic processes, namely the US presidential election, Congressional  and US Senate elections, position of the leaders of the majority and minority in Congress and the Senate, the development of certain industries in certain states, the level of support for each political party and their leaders approach, analytical centers reports, attitude of organizations and opinion leaders. Also through the instrumentality of the analytical system Quorum were analyzed hundreds of speeches, discussions, articles and analytical reports. After the detailed study of the cases experts of both groups have developed key messages of the campaigns, have defined the target audience in definite states and the whole country, distributed campaign intensity peaks, identified the key individuals and organizations to communicate strategic messages and developed a lobbying strategy directly to the US Congress and the Senate.

At the end of the course were developed two proposals. They were represented to professors and mentors of the course "Art and craft of lobbying" at the American University. The course was completed and  young Ukrainian lobbyists came back home to apply their new knowledge to develop the industry transparent, fair and regulated lobbying in Ukraine.

The course participants are grateful to the Professional Lobbying and Advocacy Institute  in Ukraine, its chairman Dennis Bazilevych and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies of the American University Professor James Thurber and Patrick Griffin.

 Andriy Lebedev, Yuriy Bondaryev, Oleksandr Guzenko