New beginnings at the UNA

It was a banner year for the Ukrainian National Association, which not only held its 32nd quadrennial convention and elected its first woman supreme president, but also sponsored the U.S. appearances of Mykhailo Horyn, chairman of the Rukh Secretariat.

During his five weeks in North America (August 25-September 29), the Ukrainian National Association, with the assistance of many local organizations, sponsored public meetings in New York, Kerhonkson, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia. In Canada, Mr. Horyn's meetings were arranged by the Canadian Friends of Rukh.

The Rukh leader, who is also vice-chairman of the National Council, the democratic opposition in Ukraine's Parliament, was invited to the U.S. by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) During his brief stay, Mr. Horyn was much in demand - so much that there were many communities and persons who were disappointed at not having an opportunity to meet with him.

However, he did manage to meet with major news media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer, with opinion leaders and decision makers, including those at the AFLCIO, National Endowment for Democracy, Council on Foreign Relations, National Conference on Soviet Jewry and Freedom House, with numerous U.S. senators and congresspersons, officials at the State, Treasury, Commerce, Defense and Justice Departments think-tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as with former National Security Adviser Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. In addition, Mr. Horyn met with leading Ukrainian community groups and activists, such as the Ukrainian National Credit Union Administration.

At the UNA's convention, held May 28 to June 1 in Baltimore, Ulana Diachuk, the association's treasurer since 1972, was elected supreme president. Also elected to the Supreme Executive Committee were: Nestor Olesnycky, supreme vice-president; John Hewryk, supreme director for Canada; Gloria Paschen, supreme vice-presidentess; Walter Sochan, supreme secretary; and Alexander Blahitka, supreme treasurer.

The convention created a fund to aid Ukraine, allocating $250,000 each year for the next four years as the UNA's donation. By the end of the year the UNA Fund for the Rebirth of Ukraine had amassed other donations totalling $143,024.39 (as of December 27). As well, the convention approved more than $60,000 in donations to various community institutions, groups and projects.

Before Mrs. Diachuk assumed the supreme presidency on July 1, UNA Home Office employees bid a fond farewell to outgoing Supreme President John O. Flis, who had served three terms in that office.

Then, on September 15-16 the newly elected UNA Supreme Assembly, composed of the executive officers, advisors and auditors, held an extraordinary session at the UNA headquarters. The assembly voted to open a UNA press bureau in Kiev and to establish a UNA political action committee, and created a By-Laws Amendment Committee charged with preparing a new UNA Constitution and By-Laws.

Soon thereafter, the UNA announced its new annuity certificate, which is meant primarily to provide UNA members with a retirement income.

During 1990 the UNA also paid out $1.5 million in dividends to members, granted $114,400 in scholarships to 232 students in the United States and Canada, sponsored pedagogical courses at Soyuzivka for teachers of schools of Ukrainian studies and donated $10,000 to the Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund.

Also the organization informed members of the U.S. Congress about yet another sad episode in Ukrainian history by providing copies of Ihor Kamenetsky's "The Tragedy of Vinnytsia" (subtitled: Materials on Stalin's policy of Extermination in Ukraine During the Great Purge, 1936-1938") to each member of the Senate and House.

In the cultural realm, the UNA sponsored the U.S. tour of the Homin Men's Choir from Lviv. Also on the tour were the Svitlytsia Trio from Kiev and the Smerichka Ensemble from Chernivtsi. All three provided "Evenings of Ukrainian Music" in cities throughout the country.

Regarding UNA publications, Soyuz greeted the release of the first volume of an index to Svoboda covering the years 1893-1899, which was published by the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

At year's end, the opening of a Kiev press bureau to serve The Ukrainian Weekly and Svoboda inched closer and closer to reality.

Meanwhile, at the UNA's upstate New York resort, Soyuzivka, the Association of UNA Seniors held its 16th annual conference in June, with Gene Woloshyn being re-elected president. In August, 21-year-old Marta Kuropas of Detroit was crowned as the 36th Miss Soyuzivka.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 30, 1990, No. 52, Vol. LVIII

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