Liverpool culture sector to help Ukraine rebuild

City of Liverpool to sign historic agreement with Ukrainian port of Odesa pledging to help it rebuild its cultural sector when the war is over. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Town Hall
A Ukrainian flag flies over Liverpool Town Hall


Liverpool’s cultural sector will help the Ukrainian city of Odesa rebuild its cultural institutions when the war is over.

On Tuesday it was announced Liverpool and Odesa will sign an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as part of the legacy of Eurovision. 

As winners of Eurovision in 2022 Ukraine was due to host the contest this year but the Russian invasion made this impossible.

Liverpool was chosen to host the event. It took place in May and was judged to be one of the best ever. Organisers in Liverpool worked hard to ensure Ukraine featured heavily and this further strengthened the bond between the two port cities.

Ukrainian forces are slowly but decisively making progress in pushing back Russian forces in the east of the country. This optimism of an eventual victory is focusing minds on the post-war rebuild.

This MoU will be drawn up in the coming weeks which will detail how Liverpool’s cultural sector will come together to advise and support the renewal of Odesa’s cultural institutions.

Consideration will also be given to developing a programme which will see a cultural exchange of artistic talent and expertise, as well as plans to build on the existing library twinning agreement.

In April, Liverpool’s Central Library was formally twinned with Odesa Regional Scientific Library in an historic ceremony attended by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla and the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska.

The creation of the MoU has been developed following a meeting with Liverpool City Council leader, Liam Robinson, chief executive Andrew Lewis, director of Culture Liverpool Claire McColgan and representatives from Odesa City Council’s Department for Culture, International Relations and European Integration.

In an additional show of solidarity, the Ukraine flag was flown from civic buildings – Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall and Cunard Building – last Saturday (September 2) to mark the 229th anniversary of the founding of Odesa.

Liverpool and Odesa’s long-standing relationship extends back to 1957 when the two cities were officially twinned.

Cllr Robinson said: “The strengthening of this relationship is one of the most important legacies of Eurovision.

“We are incredibly proud to be approached to play a role in the rebuilding of the cultural fabric of Odesa, and we hope that we will be able to begin this new journey in our twin city partnership in the very near future.

“Although this is at a very early stage, the initial conversations are very encouraging and we are keen to do as much as we can to contribute to the renewal of their cultural sector, and in doing so demonstrate to the people of Ukraine that they remain in our hearts.”

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Mayor of the City of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, aded: “The leadership of our city is making every effort to work with our sister cities and international partners to restore the historical centre of Odesa.

“The sistership of Odesa and Liverpool, which dates back more than 65 years, has passed the test of time and always had a special character.

“We cannot highlight our gratitude to Liverpool enough – the city’s solidarity means so much to the Ukrainian people and we are ready to co-operate and implement projects which will benefit our citizens and contribute to the development of our city.”

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