I was a high school senior in 1964 when my guidance counselor gave me a pile of college catalogues: Cleveland State, Ohio State, Ohio U., Kenyon, Notre Dame…
Notre Dame? I knew they had a great football team, but reading the catalogue I also discovered they had a sophomore studies program in Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck! That’s where I was born! That settled it.
What do you do when you’re lost? Psychologists tell us that men and women react differently. Loathe to confess error or even admit to being lost, men typically forge ahead, hoping to eventually stumble upon the right path. Women retrace their steps to the wrong turn and set forth anew. While this seems more prudent, it requires you to identify the wrong turn.
Here’s a way to make money. You need a fine cause, good friends and a determination to make it happen. This is how it happened in Longboat Key, Fla. Olha Onyshko, M.FA. in film and video from American University and a D.C. area-resident, was in Florida screening her documentary film “Women of Maidan” at the Fort Myers Documentary Film Festival about 100 miles away.
Lesia and I recently experienced a wondrous weekend beginning with a gala banquet celebrating the 80th anniversary of St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago and concluding with a viewing of “Bitter Harvest” the next afternoon. Some 450 people, mostly graduates, attended the joy-filled banquet. We had the pleasure of being seated with Sisters of St. Basil: Sisters Irene, Girard, Jo Ann, Dorothy Ann and Maria.
At the end of February, Columbia University marked the centennial of the revolution that toppled the Russian Empire three years into the first world war with a conference, “Ukrainian Statehood 1917-1921: Institutions and Individuals.” (I was gratified to have been invited to participate.)
In popular perception, and indeed among many (if not most) historians, what happened in 1917 was the “Russian Revolution.” In actuality, the upheaval consisted of a dozen separate revolutions where Poles, Lithuanians, Georgians, Estonians, Ukrainians and other peoples – having endured centuries of misrule and then three years of horrific slaughter at the front and privation and hunger at home – rose up to cast off tsarist rule and claim their right to national self-determination. When the war began in August 1914, Ukrainians (as well as Poles and others) were partitioned between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, placing them into a tragic position with young compatriots killing each other for a cause they did not support let alone understand. Almost immediately upon the outbreak of what soon became “the Great War,” and subsequently World War I, Ukrainian leaders saw the conflict as their opportunity for independence and started working toward that end. A hundred years have passed since then and yet we hear echoes from that time, see the shadows, feel the ripples of war-torn Europe lapping at our feet. The two-day conference was organized by Mark Andryczyk, who teaches Ukrainian literature and serves as administrator of the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia’s Harriman Institute.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ambassador Valeriy Chaly opened an exhibit at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington on February 21 that highlighted the “50 most important inventions bestowed by Ukraine to the world.” Indeed, the exhibit highlighted some remarkable discoveries and inventions; it easily could have been twice as large. According to guest speaker Borys Lozhkin, secretary of the National Investment Council and deputy head of the National Reform Council of Ukraine, indigenous Ukrainian scientists have left behind many “technological fingerprints that affect almost every aspect of our daily lives” – from PayPal to rockets, surgical procedures and computers. There are countless more Ukrainian expatriate scientists whose influence has been even greater on the global technological scale, in the form of “footprints,” because they were able to perfect their remarkable inventions and innovations in modern European and American research centers. The exhibit was expertly organized and creatively developed by a group of Ukrainian designers, artists and public relations experts based in Kyiv. It was part of a series of events designed to celebrate 25 years of the U.S.-Ukraine partnership, but the main theme was to sell Ukraine’s technological base to attract American businesses and investments in technology centers in Ukraine.
Are we headed for a new Dark Ages? For different reasons, and from different perspectives, many people think we are. But few have any idea of what to do about it. In the wake of the recent US presidential election, many – both liberals and conservatives, as well as the Left – fear the consequences of the roll-back not only of the welfare state, but of the regulatory and even the constitutional state. Reactions vary from appealing to our system of checks and balances, or our federal structure, to blocking executive appointments regardless of merit, calling for impeachment, or just throwing rocks.
While most Ukrainian Americans have been focusing on events in Ukraine, others have been concentrating their attention closer to home. This was true back in the day. It is true today. Thanks to the pioneering foresight of Ukrainians of the second immigration and their offspring, Chicago’s Ukrainians have reason to celebrate this year. St.
Some words are a key to the spirit of our time. This is particularly true of trendy words. It was remarked long ago that “whatever” summarizes an attitude bereft of solid truths or principles, and that the ubiquitous “like” is emblematic of a culture of imitation, artificial and inauthentic. The widely used “random” suggests a universe where everything happens by chance and nothing has purpose or meaning. The pervasive “grab,” one could theorize, reveals the acquisitive mindset of an aggressively materialist culture.