January 26, 2014

2013: Academia: a focus on the Holodomor



The establishment of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium at the University of Alberta was announced on February 25. Its executive and staff members are (from left): Andrij Makuch, Bohdan Klid, Marta Baziuk, Valentyna Kuryliw and Frank Sysyn.

Being the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor, 2013 was notable for the many conferences, events and projects commemorating this historic genocide.

In commemoration of the anniversary of the Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) Press published “The Holodomor Reader,” the first comprehensive English-language source-book on this tragedy of the Ukrainian people. The materials are grouped in six sections: scholarship; legal assessments, findings and resolutions; eyewitness accounts and memoirs; survivor testimonies, memoirs, diaries, and letters; documents; and works of literature. Each section is prefaced with introductory remarks describing the contents. The book also contains a bibliographic note and a map showing the intensity of the famine by region.

Only recently has much of this material become available to the public through the tireless efforts of Ukrainian scholars who, from a huge and scattered array of materials, selected 200 texts that in their totality fulfill the following objectives: 1) present a “broad picture of the Holodomor” from a variety of sources and perspectives; 2) provide the larger context of the event and resulting consequences, particularly through the perceptions of contemporaries outside the borders of Ukraine; and 3) “highlight the national characteristics and consequences of the Famine and its relation to nationalism and the nationality question in the Soviet Union.”

Dr. Andrea Graziosi of the University of Naples speak at the conference “Taking Measure of the Holodomor,” which was held in New York on November 5-6.

Alexander Balaban/CUSUR

Dr. Andrea Graziosi of the University of Naples speak at the conference “Taking Measure of the Holodomor,” which was held in New York on November 5-6.

The CIUS at the University of Alberta on February 25 announced the establishment of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC), made possible by a generous gift of $1,062,000 from the Temerty Family Foundation based in Toronto. The mandate of the HREC, which began its work in January, is to research, study, publish and disseminate information about the Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, ensuring that the Ukrainian experience receives greater recognition in society at large and that it is represented in the teaching of history and genocide.

Author/columnist Anne Applebaum speak at the conference “Taking Measure of the Holodomor,” which was held in New York on November 5-6.

Author/columnist Anne Applebaum speak at the conference “Taking Measure of the Holodomor,” which was held in New York on November 5-6.

Approximately 50 educators, community activists and students from Canada and the United States gathered on May 10-12 in Toronto for the Holodomor Education Conference – the first conference in North America devoted to the teaching of the Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933.  The conference was organized by the HREC of the CIUS, together with the National Holodomor Education Committee (NHEC), Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Center (UCRDC) and St. Vladimir Institute, with generous support from the BCU Foundation and the Ukrainian Credit Union. A line-up of experts shared knowledge and experience on the following topics: “Promoting Inclusion of the Holodomor in Curricula,” “Teaching Methodologies and Approaches,” “Commemorating Holodomor Memorial Day,” “New Resources and Introduction to the Holodomor Workbook and Teaching Kit” and “The Holodomor and Emerging Technologies.” The conference was designed to encourage the active exchange of ideas, with numerous small group discussions that allowed participants to build on what speakers had presented at each session.

Back in 2010 the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) had launched a new project, “The Atlas of the Holodomor” which, according to its head, Dr. Serhii Plokhii, the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at the History Department of Harvard, can contribute to the understanding of the nature and repercussions of that tragic event. It is an interactive Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based series of maps of the Great Ukrainian Famine. Dr. Plokhii discussed the progress of the project during an interview in 2013. The short-term goal of the atlas project sets a priority for producing a pilot set of maps that will highlight key topics: demographic losses, the extent of the use of punitive measures against those who failed to meet highly inflated state grain quotas and changes in the ethnic composition of the most affected areas. But this is only the first step in a much more ambitious project, which will include digitized maps of Ukraine in many different periods. The main goal of the project is to present various types of data pertinent to understanding the nature and effects of the Holodomor in a comprehensive and coherent manner, and to use all of the advantages of a cartographic interface to discern chronological, spatial and other kinds of relationships that are not immediately obvious. The atlas was conceived as an ongoing interdisciplinary, multilingual, interactive, web-based resource that will be updated and expanded constantly as new data become available. It is meant to serve as a depository of all the available and relevant Holodomor data, and to introduce academic and general audiences to unique visual forms of data analysis. It is also designed to assist in the study of such often controversial matters as the scale of demographic losses, the root causes of the Famine and the issue of genocide.

New research on the Holodomor was accentuated at the conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS) held at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, on June 1-3. At the annual conference, CIUS scholars associated with the Toronto-based Holodomor Research and Education Consortium organized a panel on “The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933: Metamorphosis, Politics and Acknowledgement.” The first paper titled, “The Metamorphosis of a Famine: Or, How the Famine of 1931-1932 Became the Holodomor of 1932-1933,” was presented by Bohdan Klid; it included excerpts from Soviet government and Communist Party documents, featuring correspondence between Stalin and Lazar Kaganovich, supporting the contention that a famine that began in late 1931 was transformed over time into the Holodomor and that this was an act of deliberate starvation.

Andrij Makuch’s presentation on “Academic Aspects of the 1980s North American Ukrainian Famine Awareness Campaign” examined four efforts to increase knowledge about the Famine during its 50th anniversary in the early 1980s. Notwithstanding its achievements, Mr. Makuch continued, the Famine awareness campaign was attacked by critics, who charged that the Famine issue was being raised to deflect attention from the question of Ukrainian participation in the Holocaust. The third presentation, by Serge Cipko, was titled “The Famine of 1932-1933 and the Question of the Admission of the USSR to the League of Nations.” Two other papers on collectivization in Ukraine were delivered at the CAS conference. Jars Balan of CIUS gave a paper on “Collectivizing the Peasantry of Ukraine as Reported by the Mainstream Canadian Press, 1928-1932” and Olga Bertelson of the University of Nottingham presented a paper on “Concealing the Realities of Collectivization in Ukraine from Foreign Journalists: The State, Secrecy and the Soviet Secret Police, 1928-1933.”

Prof. Marta Dyczok (right) speaks on August 23 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about the plight of Ukrainian forced laborers repatriated to the Soviet Union after World War II.

Yaro Bihun

Prof. Marta Dyczok (right) speaks on August 23 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about the plight of Ukrainian forced laborers repatriated to the Soviet Union after World War II.

“Contextualizing the Holodomor – A Conference on the 80th Anniversary” was organized by the HREC in Toronto on September 29-30. The aim of the conference was to examine the Holodomor in several different contexts, including Soviet history, Stalinism and genocide. Norman Naimark (Stanford University), author of the book “Stalin’s Genocides,” enumerated its six aspects of how “the Holodomor fits well into the general taxonomy of genocide.” To encourage graduate students to pursue studies and research on the Holodomor and other Ukrainian topics, the HREC provided 17 young scholars with stipends to support their attendance at the conference and engage with the leading specialists. Among them were present graduate students in psychology, sociology, law, theater, film and political science. At the conclusion of the conference the HREC presented Roman Serbyn (University of Quebec at Montreal) with an award (a reproduction of the Holodomor monument in Kyiv) in recognition of his contributions to the study and understanding of the Holodomor.

A landmark conference presenting new research and newly discovered information about the Holodomor, or Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, brought more than 50 prominent scholars from around the globe to the Princeton University Club of New York on November 5-6. The two-day conference, titled “Taking Measure of the Holodomor,” was part of the Ukrainian Historical Encounters Series, whose program coordinator is Dr. Walter Zaryckyj, executive director of the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations. It was presented by the center in collaboration with the HURI, CIUS, HREC and National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Day one focused on why, how and where the genocide occurred. The conference opened with “A First Word Concerning the ‘Great Famine of 1932-1933,’ ” featuring Prof. Mark von Hagen (Arizona State University), who provided the historical background and context for the discussions that were to follow. Dr. Lubomyr Hajda (Harvard University), who served as chair for the conference opening, noted the importance of moving Ukrainian studies more into the realm of comparative studies, stating the need to look at the policies that created the Holodomor. Dr.  Serbyn (University of Quebec at Montreal) continued by noting that there had been attempts to explain the famine as the result of economic policy, however, Soviet leaders did not want to simply starve Ukrainian peasants but to destroy the Ukrainian nation.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, who is now working on a book about the Holodomor, was the featured speaker. Ms. Applebaum said she is interested in pursuing the motivations and mechanisms behind the Famine, while Dr. Robert Kusnierz (Pomeranian University, Poland) provided the Polish perspective on the Holodomor, citing reports by Polish diplomats in Ukraine. Dr. Oleh Wolowyna (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Center for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research of Ukrainians in the U.S. Shevchenko Scientific Society) pointed out that there still are many original documents stored in different archives and this has revitalized the search for and analysis of these documents, while Cheryl Madden (Shevchenko Scientific Society) cited the lack of records on deaths, or even sizes of families, which makes it hard to come up with a “definitive number” for the number of the Holodomor’s victims.

On view during the conference was an exhibit of historic news reports, publications and books about the Holodomor that was prepared by the Ukrainian National Association. On the evening of the conference’s first day, November 5, The Ukrainian Museum was the venue for a special program on the theme “The Holodomor’s Impact on General Political Discourse Over the Decades,” which was hosted by Valentina Kuryliw, director of education for the HREC. Herman Pirchner, president of the American Foreign Policy Council, was the featured speaker. The evening also included “A Tribute to Pioneers of Holodomor Awareness” that recognized the work of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America in relief efforts and awareness campaigns at the time of the Famine-Genocide and in subsequent decades, as well as the key role of attorney Victor Rud in the campaign to air a special about the Holodomor on William F. Buckley Jr.’s TV show “Firing Line.”

Day two (November 6) of the scholarly forum “Taking Measure of the Holodomor” explored social, psychological, economic and legal aspects of Holodomor. The two-day conference at the Princeton University Club ended with sessions on remorse and reconciliation, and future challenges and approaches to the study of this genocide. Oxana Shevel (Tufts University) noted how the discourse on the Holodomor has evolved through the years,  always  dictated by those in power. The term “genocide,” when referring to the Holodomor, wasn’t even used by the leadership until 2003. President Viktor Yushchenko took it to a new level under his leadership, including the establishment of criminal charges for the denial of the Holodomor, Prof. Shevel said, while under President Viktor Yanukovych, there was a notable shift and the genocidal nature of the Holodomor was denied. Dr. George Grabowicz of Harvard University noted that the Holodomor is unique among genocides, because for 30 to 40 years after the Famine-Genocide, the victims praised the regime responsible. This type of “Stockholm Syndrome” is a result of suppressed knowledge, the lack of national identity and symptoms of historical amnesia that will eventually phase out with Ukraine’s Europeanization.

That evening, more than 100 people attended the Holodomor commemorative event at the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA), hosted by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). The Student Organization of Mykola Mikhnovsky (TUSM) prepared a reading of Holodomor victims’ names from just one village in Ukraine.

The HREC organized a scholarly conference in Toronto on November 27-28 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor. In addition, the HREC developed training modules aimed at history and social studies teachers and is working with teachers’ associations and school boards to ensure that the Holodomor is addressed during professional development days at the provincial and board levels. The plan is to prepare and disseminate authoritative and accessible Holodomor resources for students, educators, schools, school boards, ministries and other institutions and engage in ongoing outreach activities to support the inclusion of the Famine-Genocide in school curricula.

Conferences, major lectures

The Ukrainian Studies Program, Harriman Institute at Columbia University organized a conference titled “‘Braking’ News: Censorship, Media and Ukraine” in New York City on February 21-22. The conference gathered the world’s top analysts on Ukrainian media at Columbia for two days to examine the contemporary state and functioning of Ukrainian media.

Andriy Kulykov, host of the “Svoboda Slova” (Freedom of Speech) talk show on ICTV Ukraine, delivered the keynote address on “Ukrainian Media: Old Pressures, New Challenges.” He clarified that it is not direct interference, but the ownership of media outlets that is most dangerous. He also cautioned that change will only come from within, regardless of international monitoring. Anastasiia Grynko, who holds a Ph.D. in journalism and teaches at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, stated that ethics don’t exist in Ukraine. The most popular channels are owned by oligarchic clans and the state plays a secondary role in the pressure placed on media freedoms. Volodymyr Kulyk, research fellow at Harvard University and at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, noted that younger people are more inclined to read Ukrainian better than those who are the product of the old Soviet identity. The conference concluded with a screening of the film, “Ukraine: When the Countdown Began” (2011 by Serhiy Bukovsky), presented by Dr. Yuri Shevchuk of Columbia University.

In light of the political developments in Ukraine, Ukrainian language politics was a timely topic to explore in greater detail at the biennial Petro Jacyk Memorial Symposium, held in February at the HURI. Titled “Politics of Language in Contemporary Ukraine: Practices, Identities, Ideologies,” the symposium featured six distinguished speakers from the United States, Canada and Ukraine, who presented the results of their most recent research in this area of sociolinguistics and political science.

Aneta Pavlenko (Temple University) spoke about the impact of language policies on young Ukrainians. Debra A. Friedman (Indiana University) stated that “in post-independent Ukraine the meaning of ‘ridna mova’ (native language) is undergoing a subtle shift that is tied to a change in the referent for the term ‘Ukrainian,’ which no longer refers solely to an ethnic category, but also to a civic category based on citizenship.” The conclusion reached by the speakers is that no matter what laws politicians enact or what conclusions scholars come to, the fate of the language is ultimately in the hands of the people who choose to use or discard it.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, a conference was held on March 14-15 on “19th and 20th Century Ukrainian History: New Approaches and Interpretations.” Presentations and discussions focused on the following themes: Church history, the first and second world wars, Ukrainian history after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence, and an examination of the Ukrainian national movement, focusing on biographical studies of its various leaders. With reference to the last conference topic, a launch was held to mark the publication of the first volume of the collected works of the prominent social activist and scholar Mykhailo Zubrytsky (1856-1919).

The 50th anniversary of the W. K. Lypynsky East European Research Institute was marked by a grand celebration at the institute’s headquarters in Philadelphia. This was also the 25th anniversary of the death of one of the institute’s founders, Eugene Zyblikevych. Dr. Zenon Kohut gave a presentation on March 17 in memory of Mr. Zyblikevych titled “Habent sua fata libelli: The Long Road of Two Monographs Devoted to Hetman Petro Doroshenko.” He presented an intriguing history of two biographies of Hetman Doroshenko (1665-1676), one written by a distant relative, the famous Ukrainian historian and political figure Dmytro Doroshenko (1882-1951), the other by the Polish scholar Jan Perdenia (1898-1973). The texts of both monographs barely survived and were not published until decades after the deaths of their authors. Both monographs provided a basis for the most recent study of the life and work of Hetman Doroshenko issued in 2011 by the Ukrainian historians Valerii Smolii and Valerii Stepankov.

In 2013 Ukraine was the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and among the main topics of its leadership, Ukraine chose trafficking of human beings, a very real problem not only for Ukraine but for all OSCE member countries. The University of Alberta’s CIUS on March 22 brought together scholars, community groups and government officials from Ukraine and Canada to find ways to solve the problem of human trafficking in Ukraine. Researchers in women’s and gender studies, law and political science were among the participants spending the day defining the scope of the problem and searching for solutions. Political science professor Siobhan Byrne said that a comprehensive approach to the issues of human trafficking involves examining the local, national and international dimensions to get at the root causes.

Serhii Plokhii, the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University, shared his insights on why Russia allowed the Soviet Union to fall apart during a Kennan Institute discussion on April 29 at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington. Some of his conclusions were based on new source material he found in Russian and Ukrainian archives, as well as in the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas. Contrary to the popular view that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was due to a loss of power of the Communist Party, Dr. Plokhii believes that the Soviet Union “was defeated at the ballot box” in Ukraine in 1991, when more than 90 percent of the participants in the national referendum voted for Ukraine’s independence. Once Ukraine voted for independence, Russia did not want to remain in a union with the remaining majority of Muslim states.

World War II displaced or made homeless more than 30 million Europeans, among them millions of Ukrainians. Their plight and how their lives evolved since then was the subject of a two-week workshop in Washington at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, that brought together an international team of specialists to discuss how they can integrate their research findings and illuminate the profound human cost of that war and its aftermath. Prof. Marta Dyczok of the University of Western Ontario, who spoke on August 23, stated that one of the problems she and her colleagues encountered in their research of this subject was that most of these refugees and immigrants did not always have the opportunity to put their remembrances on the historical record. And that was especially true for the largest such group – the “Ostarbeiter,” forced laborers from the East under German rule. Most of them were repatriated after the war – some by force, some voluntarily. Prof. Dyczok noted that the official Soviet line was that they were liberated, welcomed home, given housing and jobs, and were enjoying a wonderful life, when in fact, “they were treated as traitors, they were reconscripted into the Red Army, into labor battalions…and their narratives are only now starting to come out.”

The Ukrainian National Museum (UNM), located in the heart of Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, was the setting for the third annual conference of the Ukrainian Heritage Consortium of North America (UHCNA), with representatives from key Ukrainian museums and libraries from the united States and Canada. The three-day conference convened on October 4, with a tour of the impressive collections and exhibits of the UNM and the opening of the exhibit “Artists Respond to Genocide,” commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor, at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA). Sessions included technical presentations by museum professionals and  a discussion of next year’s plans by individual museums and the consortium to commemorate the bicentennial of Taras Shevchenko’s birth in 2014. A lively a panel discussion “The Life of Ukrainian Books” addressed the future of Ukrainian libraries and books in the diaspora, and the challenges of preserving precious items from private collections.

University news

Dr. Taras Dobko, senior vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), announced at a January 12 meeting in Chicago that UCU had received its re-accreditation from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education after an extensive accreditation process. Although the university has won international acclaim for the excellence of its programs and for its firm commitment to academic freedom, the ministry required the university to undergo a rigorous review before granting re-accreditation. Dr. Dobko reported that the ministry also approved the university’s request to open two new programs: one in psychology and another in IT management.

Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., and the National University of Ostroh Academy, in Ukraine have established a cooperative relationship to promote the development of collaborative educational projects for the benefit of both institutions’ faculty members, departments, institutes, and students. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on January 22 envisions faculty exchanges for teaching and research projects and internships for professional and administrative staff. It is anticipated that study and research opportunities will also be explored for undergraduate and graduate students as well as joint sponsorship of courses, short-term educational programs, conferences, seminars, research projects and applications for governmental and foundation funding.

As of February 1, Dr. Heather Coleman is the new director of the Research Program on Religion and Culture at the CIUS. Dr. Coleman is a historian of religion in Ukraine and Russia. She is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Imperial Russian History in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. “Under my leadership,” says Dr. Coleman, “the program will continue to support the sanctuary project, while also encouraging exploration of religion in con-temporary Ukrainian life, on the one hand, and the relationship between religion and region in Ukraine, past and present, on the other.”

During the week of February 11 to 16, over three dozen Ukrainian universities met in Kyiv and Lviv with a delegation of 12 Canadian universities. There they expressed their desire and willingness to cooperate both in faculty and graduate student exchanges and joint research projects. Three specific suggestions were given on how best to establish a system that would benefit the faculty and students from many institutions in various regions of Canada and Ukraine. First, many agreed that thematic consortia or networks of researchers should be financed, created and allowed to manage themselves. Second, many speakers referred to Ukraine’s experience with double diplomas and encouraged Canadians to use this method more actively. A third suggestion was that universities might also develop a system of distance education to allow greater access for more students to participate and save students some of the costs of travel, learning materials and housing.

From March 10 to 17 eleven students from Fordham University met with faculty and students of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv. During their weeklong stay, they attended lectures on Ukrainian history and politics and interacted with young people to understand how much they are engaged in the political processes of the country. As part of the course “Youth and Politics,” students were required to compare political behavior and attitudes of Ukrainian and American youth.

The Kyiv Mohyla Business School (KMBS) launched Ukraine’s only MBA program focused on the needs and characteristics of corporate governance and management of the agricultural sector. Food and agribusiness relate to one of the largest industries in Ukraine and in the world. The program aims to prepare Ukraine’s executives and managers in the agricultural sector to successfully lead in today’s complex food and agribusiness marketplace, and to promote general business management expertise, as well as industry-specific knowledge. This is the first such program in Ukraine, a country that has long been known in the world as one of the most powerful players in the agricultural market. News of the program appeared in April.

Although at that time they were tackling organizational, technical, and financial challenges, CIUS announced in August that in early 2014 it would launch a new online scholarly journal, East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, which will replace two venerable publications – Skhid/Zakhid (East/West), issued by the Kowalsky Eastern Ukrainian Institute in Kharkiv since 1998, and the Journal of Ukrainian Studies, published by CIUS since 1976. Dr. Oleh S. Ilnytzkyj, professor of Ukrainian literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, has been appointed editor of the new journal. The aim is to create an attractive venue for scholars, who will see their work published in timely fashion and disseminated widely, as well as a valuable resource for readers and researchers around the globe. Journal of Ukrainian Studies will be a scholarly, peer-reviewed, online periodical publishing original research articles, reviews and review articles. Submission of previously unpublished work by academics, graduate students and policy-makers will be encouraged. Although this will not be an open-access journal, it will be inexpensive for individuals to access through the Internet on computers and mobile devices.

Cover of the first-ever English translation of Taras Shevchenko’s complete “Kobzar.” Peter Fedynsky’s translation was presented at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York on October 11.

Cover of the first-ever English translation of Taras Shevchenko’s complete “Kobzar.” Peter Fedynsky’s translation was presented at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York on October 11.

On October 11, at the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) in New York, Peter Fedynsky, now retired from his over 30-year career as a journalist, introduced the first-ever English translation of the entire “Kobzar,” Taras Shevchenko’s iconic collection of poetry. The book presentation was one in a series of events the UIA has planned to mark the bicentennial of Shevchenko’s birth in 2014. Mr. Fedynsky sees parallels between the dark side of life in Shevchenko’s day as described in the “Kobzar” and the social and political upheavals in today’s Ukraine. Still, said Mr. Fedynsky, despite the “downers,” Shevchenko leaves the reader “with a sense of beauty and hope that those problems can and will be solved.” Of added interest to non-Ukrainians, Mr. Fedynsky noted, Shevchenko’s poetry spans a broad geography, taking the reader “on a journey involving about 20 countries.” While previous translations of some of Shevchenko’s poetry tried to retain the rhyme of the original work, Mr. Fedynsky opted for free verse. So, “instead of focusing on how Shevchenko wrote, I decided to translate what he wrote.”

Fordham University students, in Lviv to visit the Ukrainian Catholic University, pose in front of the city’s opera house during their visit to the Ukrainian city on March 10-17.


Fordham University students, in Lviv to visit the Ukrainian Catholic University, pose in front of the city’s opera house during their visit to the Ukrainian city on March 10-17.

As part of the inauguration of the forthcoming celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, with the support of the UIA, presented a festive evening with a book launch and piano recital devoted to its patron. The celebration took place on November 9, at the UIA in New York City.  Two new publications prepared by the society especially for the bicentennial were presented: the three-volume edition of Shevchenko’s “Haidamaky,” which includes a facsimile of the original 1841 edition, Oles Fedoruk’s historical account “The Making of the Book” and Dr. Grabowicz’s literary study “The Poem and Its Critical Reception”; and the first volume of the magisterial collection “Taras Shevchenko: The Critical Reception (1839-1861)” encompassing all published references to Shevchenko during his lifetime and in the year of his death. In addition, there was a solo musical performance of works that resonate with Shevchenko’s oeuvre by the award-winning pianist and Shevchenko Scientific Society grant recipient Pavlo Gintov.


A group of six interviews, videotaped in August of 1989 by Prof. Peter J. Potichnyj, surfaced as the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Center (UCRDC) continues with the digitization of its archives. The interviews tell the story of 10 Dutch officers who escaped a German POW camp in Stanislav (today’s Ivano-Frankivsk) in 1944 and were rescued by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Their stories of the rescue were recorded as part of the UCRDC World War II Oral History project. In their interviews, the Dutch officers shared their stories about the hospitality and generosity of the Ukrainians they met in their wanderings in the vicinity of the Black Forest. News about the project was published in February.

An objective survey of religious affiliation and practice of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States was undertaken in the winter and spring of 2012 to gain an understanding of why Ukrainian church membership in North America is in such a steep decline. Results of the survey were reported in The Ukrainian Weekly in February 2013. Although they serve, respectively, as chairwoman and vice-chairman of the Ukrainian Patriarchal Society, Roma Hayda and Andrew Sorokowski decided to conduct this survey as private individuals, in order to avoid any appearance of bias. In all, 221 responses were received. Although it is not a sufficiently large sample to be representative of Ukrainian Americans, it did allow a suggestion of some trends. The organizers hope that in the near future, professional sociologists will undertake a more thorough and methodologically sophisticated survey of religious affiliation, attitudes and practices of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States to better understand the shifts in our communities.

Commemorating a scholar

The Ukrainian American community of the Greater Washington area honored the memory of the prominent Ukrainian literary scholar Hryhoriy Kostiuk on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of his birth. The commemoration, organized by the Washington chapters of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences (known by its Ukrainian acronym as UVAN) in the U.S. and the Shevchenko Scientific Society, with the assistance of his son Theodor Kostiuk, was held April 4.  The event, which included a photo and publications exhibit and lectures, was preceded by a panakhyda. A similar commemoration took place December 8, at the UVAN building in New York City. Prof. Kostiuk’s academic and literary work spanned close to 80 years. He became known and respected for his relentless work in collecting, editing, publishing and preserving the works of important Ukrainian writers.

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