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McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas Moderates Munich Security Conference Panel on Political Courage

Political courage essential to upholding democracy, agrees Rep. Mike Turner (OH-10) and Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv

McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas moderated a panel at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, highlighting the importance of political courage and its role in shaping current global politics with U.S. Representative Mike Turner (OH-10) and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

The panelists reflected on how their shared experiences as mayors of Kyiv, Ukraine, and Dayton, Ohio, taught them the interconnectedness of community building, political courage, and democracy. The group also discussed how political courage is fundamentally derived from citizen-level public discourse, resulting in a political discourse that can culminate in democratic political action. Other topics included the situation in Ukraine, how it will affect great power competition, and the importance of continued U.S. and Western support.

“It is with heavy hearts that we talk about political courage, because there’s always a price to pay,” said McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas. “It’s never easy – that’s the point.”

Throughout his career, Senator John McCain embodied political courage, whether calling out authoritarians internationally or voting against his own party domestically.

“Senator McCain said, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears’,” said Farkas. “With that in mind, I would like to ask us to take a moment of silence to recognize the deep political courage that we have seen from Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin, and the many other Russian dissidents who have given their lives – and are giving their lives – in Russian prisons. And for the Ukrainian people – who, whether they’re fighting in the battlefield or are under attack in the city of Kyiv – are demonstrating courage every day.”

“Individuals who serve in elected positions cannot do it alone,” said U.S. Representative Mike Turner. “It takes a public discourse that results in a political discourse that can result in political action. That’s why it’s so important that we have individuals who will stand in the gap and stand for principles.”

“John McCain and I worked to protect human rights,” said Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko. “We need John McCain so much… if John McCain were alive, we wouldn’t have such a problem right now with support for Ukraine…”

View the full panel discussion HERE.

Publish Date
February 26, 2024