July 23, 2021

Svoboda awarded 2020 Antonovych prize


WALTHAM, Mass. – Svoboda, the oldest continually published Ukrainian-language newspaper in the world, has been awarded the 2020 Antonovych prize, according to the Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation.

The prize – the Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation Award – is given for literary works written in Ukrainian or about Ukraine and for research on Ukrainian studies. It includes a monetary award. This year’s award will be bestowed during a ceremony in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington on October 30, according to officials from the Antonovych Foundation.

Ihor Voyevidka, president of the board of the Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation, contacted Svoboda on July 13 and informed its editor-in-chief that the newspaper had been chosen for the annual award, which is the 40th anniversary of the first award given and only the second given to an organization. In 1992 the award was given to the publication “Literaturna Ukrayina.”

The first award was given to famed Ukrainian writer Vasyl Barka in 1981. Previous laureates include Alexander Motyl (2019), Anne Applebaum (2017), Timothy Snyder (2014), Borys Gudziak (2005), Zbigniew Brzezinski and Ivan Drach (1991), Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak and Lina Kostenko (1989), Robert Conquest and Leonid Plyushch (1987), and Orest Subtelny and Vasyl Stus (1982).

The 2020 Antonovych prize was to be given last year, but as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and because officials from the Antonovych Foundation did not want to bestow the award virtually, they decided to wait until they could hold the award ceremony in person at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Olena Markarova, is expected to take part in the ceremony.

Svoboda was founded on September 11, 1893, by the Rev. Hryhory (Gregory) Hrushka. It was adopted by the Ukrainian National Association (UNA) on February 22, 1894, and has been published by the UNA continuously since that date. In 1933, the UNA began publishing The Ukrainian Weekly, a sister publication to Svoboda and the oldest English language newspaper of the Ukrainian diaspora in North America. Svoboda became a bi-weekly on March 1, 1894, a tri-weekly on August 8, 1914, and a daily newspaper on January 3, 1921. It became a weekly again on July 3, 1998.

Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych established their foundation in 1980, with the goal of advancing the study of Ukrainian culture. Since then, it has donated nearly $5 million to help finance the development of many academic and cultural institutions and monuments in Ukraine, among them, the reconstruction of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’s main library, the renovation of the Vasyl Stefanyk Library and Artists Palace in Lviv, and the building of the Boykivshchyna Museum in Dolyna, in western Ukraine, where Omelan Antonovych was born in 1914. The foundation also provided $100,000 to help finance the building of the Ukrainian Holodomor Memorial in Washington.

Omelan Antonovych spent his early adult years as a Ukrainian national activist and spent some time as a political prisoner in Polish and Nazi prisons. Later, he received a law degree at the Ukrainian Free University in Prague in 1943. After World War II, he married Tatiana Terlecky, a physician who later became a world-renowned kidney specialist.

After the war, the couple emigrated to the United States, settling in Washington, where Dr. Tatiana Antonovych worked as a scholar and taught in capital area medical schools, while Mr. Antonovych focused on ranching and real estate. She passed away in 2001, and he died in 2008.