‘It has been one of the greatest honours’ – Ellie Goulding visits Ukraine

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Ellie Goulding has revealed she recently visited Ukraine as a guest of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska, describing the experience as “one of the greatest honours”.

The 35-year-old singer-songwriter travelled to Kyiv to speak at the First Ladies Summit, which was held on Saturday and hosted by Ukraine’s First Lady.

Writing on Instagram, Goulding shared her experience with her 14.1 million followers. She said: “This weekend I travelled as a guest of President Zelensky and the first lady, Olena Zelenska to Kyiv to speak at the First Ladies Summit (and sing a little, somehow while I was there I learnt a beautiful and powerful song in Ukrainian, ‘Chervona Kalyna’) It has been one of the greatest honours.

“I was determined to be there in person to pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian People. I was inspired by a number of people, but particularly a young #fridaysforfuture climate activist @ilyess_ek who I met at the Nature and Climate talks in Stockholm a few weeks ago. Traumatised by the invasion of his country he nevertheless showed up at the UN talks determined to carry on his work.

“In fact every day as a @UNEP ambassador I am reminded of the immense contribution of Ukrianian climate scientists, renewable energy experts and environmentalists of all type. They are living through an horrific war bankrolled by fossil fuels. They somehow find the grit to keep going, working and campaigning for all of humanity.

“So I always knew that if I got the chance, I would try to show up too. On the night train to Kyiv I looked out of the window and could make out the endless fields… a reminder that the Ukraine is the breadbasket of the world, this bastion of culture, of science and humanity is also a cradle of resistance and courage and commitment.

“I can’t tell you what an emotional journey this has been. There’s too much to put into words right now but I stand in solidarity, awe and respect with the people of Ukraine.”

In October 2017, Goulding was recognised with a Global Leadership Award by the United Nations Foundation for her environmental and social justice activism.

She has also been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme since 2018.

The First Ladies Summit was being held for the second time and saw First Ladies and other influential men and women come together to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and other crises around the globe.

The theme of the event was “human” and many of the discussions and panels looked at the impact of the war in Ukraine on its people.

British journalist and TV host Piers Morgan was invited to moderate the event, which was attended by First Lady of the United States Jill Biden and wife of the French President Brigitte Macron.

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