NEW YORK – The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of nearly 2 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, on May 14 convened an extraordinary session of UCCA’s National Council, UCCA’s highest ruling body. The purpose of the meeting, held over the Zoom video and audio conferencing platform for the first time, was to discuss the planned XXIII Congress of Ukrainians in America, UCCA’s quadrennial convention. Scheduled to coincide with U.S. presidential election years, the XXIII Congress of Ukrainians will elect the UCCA’s executive officers and guide UCCA’s plan of action until the next convention.
Presided over by National Council Chair Stefan Kaczaraj, the President/CEO of the Ukrainian National Association (UNA), the extraordinary session ratified a proposal from the Presidium of the UCCA’s Executive Committee to schedule the XXIII Congress of Ukrainians for October 2021. This was done in accordance with a ruling from UCCA’s By-Laws Committee, authored by its chair, Bohdan Shandor, president of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA).
The decision to schedule a UCCA convention outside of a U.S. presidential election year was made due to the conditions affecting the United States as result of the global pandemic of COVID-19. As the health and well-being of the Ukrainian American community is, and should always be, a priority for the leadership of that community, and whereas individual states, including the state of New York (where the XXIII Congress is to be convened), have closed most if not all businesses, schools and public facilities, the UCCA’s National Council decided that the XXIII Congress will not convene in 2020.
While there is no clear answer as to when New York and other states will reopen fully, it is the expressed desire of the UCCA’s National Council, composed of delegates representing Ukrainian Churches and religious associations, Ukrainian educational institutions, national or central member organizations and local UCCA chapters, that leading members of the Ukrainian American community will be able to gather in 2021 to once again discuss key political, strategic and social concerns that affect the future of this community and its relations with Ukraine.