"Last year Jamala’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm filled me with pride and happiness. When I joined the team I was of course excited but also felt a sense of responsibility. I wanted all the members of my team feel comfortable in a new country.
Ukraine has been in the news a lot over the past few years and not always for positive reasons. There were challenges bringing the Eurovision Song Contest to my country but the entire team worked tirelessly to ensure that the event was a success.
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was a chance for my country to showcase itself, including its history, culture, and hospitality. To paraphrase a line from the Dutch entry, Eurovision was a chance to bring lights instead of shadows.
Eurovision truly does break down borders. Not only was the event a good example of a successful international co-production, it also saw 42 countries set their differences aside and come together for one night of the year. The Delegation Bubble, where the artists and their teams spend most of their time whilst at the venue, had a brilliant atmosphere and there was a wave of positive energy. Whenever each delegation left the area for the stage there was a huge cheer for every country. Everyone was united with one common goal; to do something good together.
For me it was the diverse range of people that I met who made my experience such a memorable one. We all worked hard, from the people managing the catering to the lighting crew, everyone played a role. More importantly, we all supported each another. Saying goodbye is never easy and some people were even in tears as they said their final goodbyes. For two intense and busy weeks, we worked closely with each other and then suddenly it was all over.
It was a special moment when Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever and will host the contest in 2018. I loved having Eurovision in my home town and if there is any advice I would give to the Portuguese for next year it would be to respect our differences and celebrate them and of course to enjoy this amazing experience!"