Sheptytsky Institute Choir receives standing ovation at debut concert

OAKVILLE, Ontario – A capacity crowd thanked the Sheptytsky Institute Choir of Ottawa with a standing ovation at its debut concert on November 7. Nearly 400 people filled St. Joseph’s Church in Oakville, Ontario, to delight in sacred music and support the Institute’s scholarship fund. The fund will help students from Ukraine study at the Sheptytsky Institute. Patriarch Sviatoslav, a former student of the Sheptytsky Institute, spoke via video link.

Wesleyan University experiences Ukrainian “koliada”

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The historic Memorial Chapel at Wesleyan University was filled on December 2 with the sounds of the trembita, “koliady” (carols) and Ukrainian choral singing. The concert was a collaboration between the Yara Arts Group, directed by Virlana Tkacz; the Hartford-based Yevshan Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Alexander Kuzma; bandurist Julian Kytasty; and Slavei, Wesleyan’s student a cappella singers. The striking visual design by Volodymyr Klyuzko created an otherworldly atmosphere in the Chapel. The main attraction – the Koliadnyky – arrived from Kryvorivnia, a village in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine just the night before.

Kids helping kids project teaches the joy of giving

JENKINTOWN, Pa. – The Philadelphia Regional Council of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) and the Ukrainian Heritage School, both located here at in the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center (UECC), jointly initiated a humanitarian project to aid children of the fallen soldiers killed during the ongoing battle against Russian invaders in eastern Ukraine. “We wanted to do something during Christmastime that would bring a little sunshine and happiness into the lives of these children, many who are now orphans as a result of the fighting in Ukraine,” said Halyna Keller, member of the UNWLA Philadelphia Regional Council. She added, “We wanted every child to get a Christmas gift.”

Danna Yudina, social welfare chair of the Philadelphia Regional Council, traveled to Ukraine to identify the children who would benefit most from this program. She visited 41 children, ages 5 months to 19 years, from different parts of Ukraine, mostly from Volyn, affected by the events of the Maidan.

Manitoba Ukrainian groups receive international award

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – At a special ceremony of the Ukrainian World Congress held in conjunction with the UWC’s 2015 annual general meeting in Madrid, the UWC’s World Commission on Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Taras Shevchenko awarded the Shevchenko 200 Committee of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council (UCC-MPC) and the Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education (MPUE) the UWC’s Commemorative Award-Medal “200 years since the Birth of Taras Shevchenko” for their significant contribution to popularizing the creative heritage of Shevchenko and honoring him outside of Ukraine. UCC-MPC was honored for a year’s worth of projects celebrating and promoting the life and legacy of Taras Shevchenko. The committee, chaired by Myroslava Pidhirnyj, celebrated receiving the award in late October. The most important of the projects undertaken was a travelling Shevchenko exhibition. This consisted of 11 illustrated panels showing the life of Shevchenko, with particular reference to his presence in Manitoba and Canada.

Sportsline

Table tennis

• Ukraine’s women’s team – Tetiana Bilenko, Margarita Pesotska and Hanna Haponova – won bronze in the team competition at the European Table Tennis Championships on September 25 through October 4 in Yekateringburg, Russia. Ukraine was in Group D with Sweden, the Netherlands and Portugal. • Ukraine table tennis club Trade Aliiance Kyiv lost 0-3 against Istres Tennis de Table of France on November 27 during the fourth stage of the European Table Tennis Union tournament. Tennis

• Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina will represent Ukraine in the Gold Group at the 28th Hopman Cup 2016 at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, on January 3-9, 2016. Also in Group B are Australia (Gold), the United States and the Czech Republic.

Presidents of Ukraine, Poland agree to cooperate in countering Russia

KYIV – Amid renewed Russian military aggression on the Donbas frontlines, which has brought a new round of dead and wounded, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hosted a visit by Polish President Andrzej Duda on December 14-15 during which they consolidated their cooperation across many spheres. Riding a wave of conservative political victories in Europe this year, Mr. Duda went to great lengths to demonstrate Poland’s commitment to Ukraine. He announced that he will advocate for Mr. Poroshenko and his delegation to “have a seat at the table” at the next NATO summit, which will occur in Warsaw in early July. In the context of their plans to relaunch a presidential consultation committee to discuss projects and initiatives, the two leaders went so far as to agree on settling remaining conflicts over culture in order to ensure regional cooperation on crucial issues of security and defense. “In giving deep honor to the victims of the tragic pages of history, the common responsibility of Ukraine and Poland is to ensure their descendants a peaceful present day.

UNA General Assembly holds 2015 annual meeting

 

Marked growth reported in assets, income

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The Ukrainian National Association’s General Assembly convened its first regular annual meeting since the UNA convention of 2014 at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center on Friday through Sunday, December 11-13. The General Assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of the UNA between its quadrennial conventions, reviewed the fraternal benefit society’s activity for the past year and adopted a plan of action for 2016. The weekend’s sessions were marked by good news about the UNA’s progress during 2015, including a significant increase in assets, which in the first nine months of the year topped $192 million and are expected to reach $200 million by year’s end. Reports were delivered by the three full-time executive officers of the UNA: President Stefan Kaczaraj, National Secretary Christine Kozak and Treasurer Roma Lisovich. All other General Assembly members – executive officers, advisors and auditors – as well as the editor-in-chief of the UNA’s official publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, had the opportunity to deliver addenda to their written reports.

Ukraine to suspend trade with Crimea

KYIV – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says Kyiv will suspend trade with Russian-occupied Crimea in one month. Mr. Yatsenyuk said at a government meeting on December 16 that Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers had decided that “the supplying of goods, work and services to Crimea and from Crimea” will be banned within 30 days. The only exceptions, he said, would be “personal items, socially important foods and humanitarian aid.”

Mr. Yatsenyuk added that the restoration of electricity to Crimea is a separate issue that could be decided only by Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council. Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year, is suffering long blackouts after pylons that supplied the peninsula were blown up by unknown people in November. The issue has caused a crisis in Crimea and has worsened Ukrainian-Russian tensions.

Biden issues warning to oligarchs as corruption accusations fly in Ukraine

Now may be the last chance to stop corruption from eroding the foundations of the Ukrainian state, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden told local politicians during his visit to Kyiv on December 6-8. Addressing the Ukrainian Parliament on December 8, he warned against repeating the mistakes of the 2004 Orange Revolution, after which oligarchs returned to power amid squabbles between then-president Viktor Yushchenko and then-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Mr. Biden cautioned that Moscow could use rampant corruption in Ukraine to destroy it from within, after failing to do so militarily last year. He also made clear that the international community could withdraw its support from Ukraine if Kyiv did not take resolute steps to eradicate corruption and tame the oligarchs (112.ua, December 8). Mr. Biden visited Kyiv at a time when corruption allegations are eroding the coalition of President Petro Poroshenko’s eponymous bloc with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front party, Ms. Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party, and the Samopomich party founded by popular Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi.