June 29, 2018

UCCA welcomes ODWU and CUSUR into its ranks


NEW YORK – The Executive Board of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization for over 1.5 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, has announced that the Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine (known by its Ukrainian-based acronym as ODWU) and the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR) have become member organizations of the UCCA National Council. 

The highest ruling body between UCCA’s quadrennial conventions, the UCCA National Council comprises over 20 national Ukrainian American organizations.

Assembling in New York City on June 9 for their first meeting of 2018, UCCA National Council delegates representing Ukrainian Churches and religious associations, Ukrainian educational institutions, national and central member organizations, and local UCCA chapters reviewed a year’s worth of UCCA activities at a meeting presided over by National Council Chair and Ukrainian National Association (UNA) President, Stefan Kaczaraj. 

As part of the review, UCCA President Futey, Vice-President Michael Sawkiw Jr., National Office Director Tamara Olexy and Communications Director Andrij Dobriansky highlighted numerous UCCA-led initiatives in 2017-2018: high-level UCCA meetings with Ukrainian government officials both in the United States and in Ukraine; the growth of Holodomor recognition in the United States; the organization of advocacy events and academic conferences; and visits by UCCA officers to local branches and U.S. without an established UCCA presence. 

Following recommendations presented by UCCA’s Membership Committee to the National Council, UCCA membership for ODWU and CUSUR was approved by the delegates without objection. 

UCCA President Futey enthusiastically welcomed the two new member organizations, stating, “We welcome ODWU and CUSUR as UCCA member organizations and look forward to their active involvement within our organized community. We continue to reach out to all of our Ukrainian American organizations and call upon unity within our community. It is extremely important to speak with one unified voice.” 

This addition of two more Ukrainian American national organizations comes after the inclusion of both the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA) over the past 18 months.

The announcement by the Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine (ODWU) marks a return to UCCA by an organization that has propagated Ukrainian nationalism and supported the liberation of Ukraine since the 1930s. ODWU members were involved with other organizations in the organizational efforts to convene the “First Ukrainian American Congress,” which established the UCCA in 1940. For nearly 90 years, ODWU has dedicated itself not only to advocating for the Ukrainian state, but also to educating generations of Ukrainian-Americans about Ukrainian history and tradition. In 1957, ODWU established the Ukrainian Homestead in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, which continues to attract thousands of visitors to its annual cultural events.

Beginning with its very first roundtable summit in September 2000, the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR) has established itself as the premier venue for gathering senior-level representatives of the political, economic, security and diplomatic establishments of the United States, the European Union and Ukraine to exchange views on a wide range of issues. CUSUR’s annual events – many co-organized by the UCCA – include the U.S.-Ukraine Security Dialogue Series, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Networking Forum Series and the U.S.-Ukraine Energy Dialogue Series, which track the progress of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic ambitions. The Ukraine Historical Encounters Series and the Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable Series, on the other hand, provide useful historical and societal context for leaders and analysts developing the ways and means to improve the ties that make up the U.S.-Ukraine strategic partnership.

The UCCA’s continued outreach to non-member Ukrainian American organizations stems from its mandate to “coordinate and consolidate the development of organized Ukrainian life in the United States of America.” Every national or local Ukrainian organization, institution, committee, or club in the United States is invited to work as a ratified member organization within the UCCA’s National Council and participate in the XXIII Congress of Ukrainians in America in 2020.