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Conferences, roundtables, forums examine 50 years of the Ukrainian World Congress

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Participants of the Toronto conference “UWC at 50 and Beyond: The Roadmap” gathered for a group photo to mark the occasion.


Participants of the Toronto conference “UWC at 50 and Beyond: The Roadmap” gathered for a group photo to mark the occasion.

TORONTO – The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) held the final in a series of international conferences titled “UWC at 50 and Beyond: The Roadmap,” in Toronto on November 10-11, 2017. The conference summed up half a century of UWC activity and developed priorities for the future.

Participating in the conference, held at The Old Mill, were religious and state high-ranking officials and diplomatic representatives from Ukraine and Canada, politicians, members of the leadership and representatives of UWC member organizations from Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Greece, Estonia, Canada, the Russian Federation, the United States, Hungary and Switzerland. Also present were leaders of UWC partner organizations: the International Institute for Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations of Lviv Polytechnic National University and the Atlantic Council.

The program coordinator and conference chair was Dr. Volodymyr Zaryckyj, who chairs the UWC International Scholarly Council.

The keynote speech by UWC President Eugene Czolij was on the topic “The Ukrainian World Congress and the Ukrainian Diaspora in Furthering the Interests of the Ukrainian People: Achievements and Perspectives.”

During Plenary Session I, which reflected on the high points of the Ukrainian diaspora during the last two generations, speakers addressed topics related to creating a worldwide “friends of Ukraine” network, keeping the Ukrainian global community effectively organized, engaging international mass media on the subject of Ukraine, protecting human rights of Ukrainians globally, promoting academic study of Ukraine beyond its borders, assisting Ukrainians around the world, teaching Ukrainians to appreciate and cultivate their heritage, and promoting the financial sustainability of the global Ukrainian community.

Canadian Sen. Raynell Andreychuk.

Canadian Sen. Raynell Andreychuk.

The moderator of the session was Andrew Futey, UWC vice-president and president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). Presentations were made by Michael Moravski, UWC vice-president and former president of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations; Yuri Shymko, former UWC president; Stephan Bandera, managing director of Forum TV Canada; Andrij Dobriansky, the UCCA’s director of external relations, who read a presentation prepared by Irena Jarosewich, former editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Svoboda; Lubomyr Hajda, associate director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute; Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst and former OSCE information officer; and Iryna Kluchkovskyi, director of the International Institute for Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations.

A featured speaker that day was a member of the Canadian Parliament, James Bezan, who is vice-chair of the Standing Committee on National Defense, who presented on the topic “Why a Free, Stable and Prosperous Ukraine Matters to the Euro-Atlantic Community.”

Member of the Canadian Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj.

Member of the Canadian Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj.

Concluding remarks on the conference’s first day were delivered by Canadian Sen. Raynell Andreychuk, chair of the Ukraine-NATO Parliamentary Council of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, who spoke about “Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine: A Way Forward with Assistance of the Global Ukrainian Community.”

The conference’s second day began with opening remarks by MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, speaking on the topic “Why a Free, Stable and Prosperous Ukraine Matters to Canada.”

As that day coincided with Remembrance Day in Canada, participants joined a ceremony honoring the men and women who have sacrificed their lives fighting for peace and a brighter future, including during recent years in Ukraine. The ceremony was presided by Capt. Andre Sochaniwsky (retired), president of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada.

Plenary Session II addressed “A Vision for the Ukrainian Diaspora for the Next Two Generations.” Participants heard presentations on divining ways to make the “friends of Ukraine” network ever larger; defining ways to make the Ukrainian diaspora institutionally ever stronger; pondering the means to increase the presence of institutes of Ukrainian studies at the world’s premier universities; contemplating the means to expand and strengthen global informational efforts; seeking ways to increase the weight of human rights protection efforts; searching for ways to expand the scope of UWC’s humanitarian and social services work; learning Ukrainian in a digital age; and imagining state of the art cooperative and financial endeavors.

The moderator was Alexandra Chyczij, vice-president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC). Presentations were delivered by Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation; Paul Grod, UWC vice-president and UCC president; Marko Stech, director of press and publications, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies; Herman Pirchner, president of the American Foreign Policy Council; David Kramer, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor; Andrij Waskowycz, president of Caritas Ukraine; Ulana Plawuszczak Pidzamecky, member of the UNF National Ridna Shkola Initiatives Committee; Ariel Cohen, senior fellow, Atlantic Council; and Viktor Kryvenko, national deputy of Ukraine.

The featured speaker of the second plenary was Phillip Karber, president of the Potomac Foundation, who spoke on “Securing Ukraine’s Future: A Way Forward in the Assistance of the Global Ukrainian community.”

Several breakout sessions held during the conference were devoted to the following topics: assessing the role and contribution of the UWC to the successes of the last two generations, six breakout sessions examined the following topics: external relations (relationship building with governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations); community development (cooperation within the 53-country UWC network); informational efforts (engaging mass media, social media globally and locally); human rights protection and humanitarian efforts (assisting Ukrainians worldwide); educating the next generation of Ukrainians around the world; and cooperative and financial endeavors.

Moderators of breakout sessions included: Mykola Hryckowian, Washington bureau chief, Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations; Tamara Olexy, chair of the UWC’s U.N. Affairs Council and UCCA executive director; Ms. Kluchkovskyi of the International Institute for Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations; Peter Sztyk, UWC third vice-president and chair of the UWC International Human and Civil Rights Committee; Oksana Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych, chair of the UWC International Educational Coordinating Council; and Taras Pidzamecky, CEO of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited and president of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada; and Marc Shwec, former president of the UCC Toronto Branch.

Participating in the breakout sessions as lead discussants over the two days in addition to the plenary presenters were Orysia Sushko, UWC second vice-president and president of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations; Petro Rewko, president of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain; Valeriy Semenenko, UWC vice-president; Vira Konyk, UWC vice-president and president of the Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia; Ihor Mychalchyshyn, CEO, Ukrainian Canadian Congress; Jurij Klufas, Producer, Kontakt TV; Serhiy Kasyanchuk, director of the UWC Mission to Ukraine; Orest Zakydalsky, senior policy advisor, UCC; Victor Hetmanczuk, UWC director of humanitarian initiatives; Marta Baziuk, Christina Yurchuk and Anastasia Leshchyshyn, Ukrainian Political Prisoners Project; Halyna Masliuk, chair, UWC International Task Force to Stop Human Trafficking and Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece Ukrainian Hellenic Thought; Iroida Wynnyckyj, former chair, UWC International Educational Coordinating Council; Nadia Luciw, former chair, UWC International Educational Council; Basil Kalymon, professor emeritus, The Richard Ivey School of Business; and Roman Medyk, chair, BCU Foundation.

Based on the deliberations of the breakout sessions, Plenary Session III included a presentation of recommendations for UWC’s next 50 years in the delineated priority areas.

During the two-day conference, the Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society produced a commemorative UWC postage stamp and presented an exhibit.

A commemorative banquet concluded the first day of the conference. The program opened with the national anthems sung by the Prometheus male chorus of the Ukrainian Youth Association Toronto Branch, followed by a prayer offered by the Rev. Bohdan Choly of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, with a benediction from the archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Yevstratiy Zorya.

Greetings were presented by Mr. Grod, MP Wrzesnewskyj, Sen. Andreychuk, Consul General of Ukraine in Toronto Andriy Veselovsky, Mmes. Sushko and Kluchkovskyi, and Ukrainian National Deputy Viktor Kryvenko. A letter of greetings from Ukraine’s Minister of Science and Education Lilia Hrynevych was read by Ms. Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych.

The keynote address at the banquet was delivered by acting Minister of Health of Ukraine Dr. Ulana Suprun who focused on the positive changes in Ukraine over recent years and the country’s path of reform in the health care system.
The banquet also included a screening of the documentary film “50 years of the Ukrainian World Congress.”

After UWC President Czolij delivered the closing remarks, Archbishop Yevstratiy presented to Mr. Czolij a medal of recognition for the UWC from the UOC-KP – the Order of St. Apostolic Prince Volodymyr the Great, second rank. The president of the Association of Ukrainians Zakerzonnia, Alla Kobeliak, and the president of the Lemko Association of Canada, Roman Kolos, presented the UWC with a commemorative medal issued on the 70th anniversary of Akcja Wisla.

A gala concert on November 11 included performances by the world-renowned Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America, Canadian mezzo soprano Stephania Romaniuk and virtuoso violinist Vasyl Popadiuk with the Papa Duke band.

The concert program also featured brief historical facts about the UWC, scenes from 50th anniversary commemorations around the world, a video produced by students of Lviv Polytechnic National University titled “What do you know about the Ukrainian World Congress?” and video excerpts from the “Ballet of Life” performed by Reminiscencii.UA.

Banquet in Montreal 

A commemorative banquet at the Ukrainian Youth Center in Montreal on October 22, 2017, marked both the 26th anniversary of the independence of Ukraine and the 50th anniversary of the UWC. It was organized by the Montreal Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Greetings were delivered by Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko, Montreal City Councilor Mark-André Gadoury, UCC National President Grod and UCC Montreal Branch President Helen Holowka. Greetings were also presented by representatives of the Armenian, Georgian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Crimean-Tatar communities.

Participants of the conference in Toronto with postcards for Ukrainian political prisoners.


Participants of the conference in Toronto with postcards for Ukrainian political prisoners.

Mr. Czolij addressed the gathering, and guests had an opportunity to view the film “50 Years of the Ukrainian World Congress.”

In recognition of his dedication and achievements, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Montreal Branch presented the UWC president with a painting by well-known Ukrainian artist Volodymyr Zabeida.

The commemorative banquet included performances by Yuri and Anna Konevitch, Irena Pawliw and the Rossa ensemble with Natalia Bedik, Dania Kolanitch and Sonia Kulycky. The master of ceremonies was a well-known member of the Ukrainian community, Orest Humenny.

Conference in Brazil 

In Curitiba, Brazil, the conference “UWC at 50 and beyond: The South American Vector” was held on September 30, 2017, with the participation of representatives of Ukrainian community organizations in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Organized by UWC member organization Ukrainian-Brazilian Central Representation, it was the fourth in a series of conferences organized by the UWC in 2017 to include various regions of the world in an analysis of its achievements to date and development of a roadmap for the future.

Words of welcome were delivered by the president of the Ukrainian-Brazilian Central Representation, Vitorio Sorotiuk, who was also the moderator of the conference.

During the conference, presentations were made by UWC President Eugene Czolij on the topic “Past Accomplishments of the UWC and a Vision for the Future”; professors of the Slavic Department of Unicentro University, Marileia Gartner and Luciane Trennephol Da Costa, on teaching the Ukrainian language and the first accreditation of 15 professors who teach it; and professor of the Ukrainian language at the Federal University of Parana, Olga Kalko, on teaching Ukrainian language courses.

Two authors presented their books during the conference: Jorge Balanda presented “Nashi Llude” on the history of Ukrainians in the Brazilian province of Misiones, and Emilio Gaudeda presented “Herois Nao Morrem” (Heroes Never Die) featuring biographies of 44 individuals who contributed to the development of Ukrainian community in life in Brazil.

Roundtable in Paris

On November 18, 2017, an anniversary roundtable was held in Paris with the UWC president delivering a keynote address on the main priorities of the UWC.

Remarks were also given by Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintzadze, Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, Bishop Borys Gudziak and the president of the Representative Committee of the Ukrainian Community in France, Tarass Horiszny.

Participants of the roundtable viewed the film “50 years of the Ukrainian World Congress” and discussed future cooperation.

Forum in Belgium

On November 7, 2017, the UWC president, while on a working visit to Brussels, Belgium, took part in a forum titled “UWC at 50: European and Euro-Atlantic Forum” on the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

The participants, numbering over 150, included policy-makers, scholars, civil society and Ukrainian diaspora representatives from over 25 countries in Europe and around the world. Panelists and guests from European Union institutions, NATO, the United Nations and other international organizations also featured on the agenda.

The opening session of the forum began with welcoming remarks by EESC Vice-President Michael Smyth, and the opening keynote address was delivered by the UWC president. In a video address, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn reiterated the EU’s support for the reform process in Ukraine. The managing director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Thomas Mayr Harting, took stock of EU-Ukraine relations to date and shared his vision for the future.

The plenary sessions of the UWC forum focused on five major themes: Ukraine’s European integration, Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, a Marshall Plan for Ukraine, human rights, and countering Russian disinformation. Discussions on the reform process in Ukraine in the context of the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and the Minsk process complemented the agenda.

Ukraine’s Vice-Prime Minister Klympush-Tsintsadze delivered a keynote address on the topic “Ukraine’s Difficult Challenges: Stopping Russian Aggression while Furthering Reforms.”

During the concluding session of the conference, Mr. Czolij presented a certificate of recognition to Estonian politician Tunne Kelam, a member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and one of the speakers at the UWC forum, for his contribution to supporting Ukraine in the EU.

The forum ended with a reception organized by the Embassy of Ukraine to Belgium and Luxembourg.

Compiled by The Ukrainian Weekly on the basis of reports from the Ukrainian World Congress.

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