Summit organizer comments on story

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the organizing committee, I would like to thank the representatives of The Ukrainian Weekly and all the participants who attended the recent 2003 Summit of Ukrainian American Organizations, for their valuable input during its discussions. However, I was surprised and somewhat confused by part of The Weekly's story on the event ("Demographer advises Ukrainian groups to take a close look at U.S. Census stats," April 6), which stated that the summit had "minimal representation" of Ukrainian American organizations compared to the inaugural event in 2002.

In fact, with the exception of a handful of groups, all of the major Ukrainian American organizations who attended the 2002 summit also were represented at this year's event. These organizations included Plast, the Ukrainian National Association, Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund, Ukrainian Coordinating Council of America, Ukrainian National Women's League of America, Shevchenko Scientific Society, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, university student clubs and others, as well as the Ukrainian Engineers' Society of America and Ukrainian Medical Society of North America. Several new organizations were also present, including the Kobzar Society, the Philadelphia Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, and the "Kontakt" TV program. Together, these groups represented a broad range of organizational goals and memberships. Many other organizations were invited but unfortunately did not attend.

The article also states that about 30 individuals attended the 2003 summit, when in fact, 43 individuals were officially registered. While this is indeed lower than the 2002 turnout (when some 60 individuals registered), it represents more than 70 percent of the total number of attendees from the 2002 summit.

The article correctly notes that the discussion planned to focus on the role of the Ukrainian American media in the diaspora instead evolved into a description of the media organizations which were present. In addition to The Weekly, these included Svoboda, Brama, "Kontakt," Nash Holos and several academic/professional publications. Rather than becoming a weak point, this discussion led to very valuable conclusions, including the opportunity that exists for extending the reach of the media to a much larger American Ukrainian audience, and the ways in which new technology is shaping all media today. (For example, the Internet, which continues to challenge both print and television for news readership, may eventually supersede both.) Attendees agreed that the full topic of the media's role in the diaspora can and should be explored at future forums.

The article also did not mention the innovative ideas for improving communication within the community, and addressing the demographic trends described by Dr. Oleh Wolowyna, which were proposed by summit participants. Such projects could include linkage of member information across organizations, and the possible revival of a Ukrainian American television (or Internet-based) program in the New York City area. Also highlighted was the importance of organizations advertising their events and activities to the larger, non-Ukrainian community. This was identified as perhaps the most important method for potentially reaching the "lost" majority of Americans of Ukrainian descent, as well as many Fourth Wave immigrants from Ukraine.

One issue that requires attention is the drop in youth attendance at the 2003 Summit compared to 2002, although young attendees made important contributions to the discussions. This issue, and the future of the summit in general, will be addressed by a "working group" of representatives from many organizations which was formed during the summit. All interested parties are warmly invited to join this working group by contacting this writer via e-mail.

As several attendees noted, more important than any individual summit is the work that begins after it is over: applying new ideas to old problems, for the benefit of the community. In this effort, we can all play a critical part.

Andrij Wowk
Bridgewater, N.J.

The letter-writer is president of the Ukrainian Engineers' Society of America and a co-organizer of the 2002 and 2003 Summits. He may be contacted via e-mail at awowk@uesa.org.

Editor's note: The Weekly reported that some 30 persons participated in the summit and that number was based on a count of persons taken at several points during the sessions. In addition, it should be noted that, although attendees identified themselves as belonging to various organizations, not all of them were delegated to attend as representatives of those organizations (as was the case at the first summit held in 2002).

U.S. can't seem to locate Kolchuha

Dear Editor:

As our country begins celebrating our armed forces' success in ending the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, two questions remain outstanding in my mind:

1. The Bush administration claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Saddam claimed they were destroyed and did not exist. Now the U.S. armed forces are almost in control of Iraq and we have not been able to find any weapons of mass destruction. So what happened to them?

2. The Bush administration claimed that Ukraine sold Iraq an early warning radar system. Ukraine claimed it did not. The Bush administration used this as a basis to suspend million of dollars of aid to Ukraine. Now that we are in control of the majority of Iraq, the U.S. has not been able to locate the Kolchuha. So where did it go?

Maybe the Bush administration owes Ukraine an apology and a return of the suspended aid.

Roman T. Nestorowicz
Warren, Mich.

The Ukrainian Weekly welcomes letters to the editor and commentaries on a variety of topics of concern to the Ukrainian American and Ukrainian Canadian communities. Opinions expressed by columnists, commentators and letter-writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either The Weekly editorial staff or its publisher, the Ukrainian National Association.

Letters should be typed (double-spaced) and signed; they must be originals, not photocopies. The daytime phone number and address of the letter-writer must be given for verification purposes.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, April 27, 2003, No. 17, Vol. LXXI

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