Providing a Safe Space: Britain and Ukrainian Refugees

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Providing a Safe Space: Britain and Ukrainian Refugees

3rd August 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Russia’s attack on Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022 has led to the displacement of people within Europe at a scale unseen for over 77 years. With circa 5 1/2 million people now taking up temporary residence outside of their home country, the war is affecting the entirety of Europe and the world.

Britain has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response to Ukraine’s tragedy. The overwhelming reaction from ordinary people and British businesses saw tonnes of humanitarian aid delivered, helping innumerable people. The governmental response, with Ukrainian specialist visa schemes, is an unprecedented response to a humanitarian crisis. However, is the government doing enough, can the private sector work in conjunction with the government, and what lessons can be learned from the past five months to make future engagement even more effective?

To discuss these issues, The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to welcome Lord Harrington, the Minister for Refugees, Brooks Newmark, a former MP and humanitarian activist, and representatives of World Jewish Relief, who are helping Ukrainians on the ground.



Judith Fagelson works for World Jewish Relief, the UK Jewish community’s humanitarian and development agency, where she manages a portfolio of health and social care projects supporting older people and people with disabilities in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Most recently, this has included emergency response projects in Ukraine and with displaced people in Moldova. She holds a BA in French and Russian from the University of Cambridge, and an MSc in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies from the University of Glasgow, where her dissertation examined the ways in which Russian NGOs supporting people with disabilities engage with local government. She is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and translates part-time for Rights in Russia, a charitable organisation dedicated to providing anglophone audiences with information about human rights in Russia.



Lord Harrington was appointed Minister of State (Minister for Refugees) jointly in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office on 8 March 2022.

He was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from June 2017 to March 2019.

He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions from 17 July 2016 to 14 June 2017. He was elected as Conservative MP for Watford in May 2010.



Brooks Newmark is currently leading a humanitarian effort in Ukraine moving women and children to safety from the south and east of the country to Lviv and further points west. To date Brooks and his team have moved over 9,300 women and children to safety and over 150 amputees from hospitals around Lviv across the border to Poland where they are being airlifted to trauma hospitals in Germany. Brooks has a Ukrainian family living in house in London as part of the UK Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine Scheme.’

Brooks is studying for a DPhil in the Education Department focussing on Education Reform in Rwanda and a Visiting Academic in the Department of Politics & International Relations at Oxford University, writing a book on Bashar Assad. He recently Chaired a Report on Homelessness in the UK with Crisis and the Centre for Social Justice (published in 2017) and is a Member of the Government’s Advisory Board on Rough Sleeping. Brooks is a Member of the International Commission on Missing Persons Panel of Experts and has lectured and written on a range of subjects including the Conflict in Syria, Ukraine, Brexit, Homelessness and Private Equity.

Brooks was Co-Chairman and Founder of Women2Win (to encourage more women into politics and public service) and  Founder of the Million Jobs Campaign (to tackle youth unemployment).

He founded the charity A Partner In Education ( in 2010 and has built a primary school for 300 children, a secondary school for 100 children and a teacher training centre in Rwanda.”

Brooks was educated at Harvard College (AB History), Harvard Business School (MBA Finance) and Oxford University (MSc Education).



Dr Stepan Stepanenko received his BA (Hons) and MA by research from the University of York and went on to complete a PhD at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes of Paris Sciences et Lettres with a focus on Ukraine. In his academic career Stepan presented at a multitude of academic conferences and authored publications in peer reviewed journals, individually and in collaboration. He is also currently an Associate Member of the CNRS UMR 8167.

In British politics, Stepan has worked with the Conservative Party, running for election in the London Borough of Barnet in 2014 and co-founding the Conservative Friends of Ukraine in 2021. He continues to work on cross party humanitarian projects with a focus on Ukraine.





The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to hold a discussion on the role of Europe and the United Kingdom in creating a safe space for the Ukrainian refugees domestically and within Ukraine. Dr Stepanenko began the conversation by introducing the speakers. Lord Richard Harrington highlighted the characteristics of the sponsorship program provided by the United Kingdom to welcome Ukrainian refugees and compared it to the help provided by other European countries such as Germany or Poland. Then, Judith Fagelson argued that it is important to not reduce the war in Ukraine to only a refugee crisis, but rather, to designate it as a humanitarian crisis. Finally, Brooks Newmark described his experience in helping refugees fleeing from the east of Ukraine to a safer zone in the west of the country. The speakers then answered questions on the protection of Ukrainian refugees in the United Kingdom, the future challenges that the country will face and the risks of weaponization of these refugees.




Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, England, SW1P 4QP
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4QP United Kingdom
+ Google Map


Lord Harrington, Brooks Newmark, Judith Fagelson


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