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Heroes of our time: Meet the volunteers

09 May 2017 at 09:00 CEST
Red carpet Kyiv 2017 Andres Putting
The Eurovision Song Contest is not only a television show, it's a mammoth event in its own right with thousands working on it. Today we focus on the volunteers who work around the clock to help keep the Eurovision machine running smoothly.

Like so many large-scale international events, volunteers are an integral element of the Eurovision Song Contest and support both the Host City and Host Broadcaster in the run-up to the shows and during the event weeks. 

Volunteering provides candidates with unique experience and insight into the production of one of the largest television programmes in the world and this year nearly 12,000 applied to be a part of Eurovision. Of the initial applicants, over 1000 were chosen. "Our attention was paid primarily to their motivation, strong communication and managerial skills and needless to say, knowledge of English as well as other languages," explained Volunteer Manager for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest Yaroslava Kaminska.

The life of a volunteer

The Eurovision Song Contest is a fun event to be a part of but it also involves dedication and hard work. Volunteer Manager Yaroslava, explained more about the specific responsibilities of her team. "Volunteers are first of all our friends and assistants. Their responsibilities vary extensively, from meeting the delegations at the airport to providing translation. There are two volunteers assigned to each delegation, working around the clock to ensure that the guests feel comfortable whilst staying in Ukraine," she said.

Connecting people

The slogan of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Celebrate Diversity, recognises the role that different cultures and nationalities play in bringing people together. For many volunteers, the opportunity to meet people from around the world was one of the main reasons that they applied for the role. "For me Eurovision is about connecting people” smiled, Ksenia, a volunteer based backstage. 

Another volunteer, Elena, is working for Italy, one of the largest delegations this year. "It’s like a huge multinational family, everybody is so friendly and open, and besides it's a great chance to meet new people, get involved in all the preparations and see what goes on behind the scenes." 

Diversity of experience 

The volunteers themselves are a diverse group of people from around the world. Daniel hailing from Israel joined as a host for the Israeli delegation. He has been living in Ukraine for almost 10 years and is a faithful fan of the contest. "I really want to give everyone the best experience they can have in this country," Daniel explained.

Nina works in the front office area of the venue and feels lucky to be part of the team. "It's a great chance to improve my English and introduce my country to the world, she explained.  

Yuliia, a professional graphic designer, is working with the delegation from San Marino. She is no stranger to the world of Eurovision having previously worked on Junior Eurovision back in 2013 when it was hosted in Kyiv where she also worked with San Marino. "I joyfully recall my first volunteering experience being San Marino’s host at Junior Eurovision, and now I have the chance to make some more memories," smiled Julia.