NEW YORK – The Executive Board of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representation of Ukrainians in America, announced on December 10 that the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA), two longstanding organizations with a combined century plus of community leadership, now stand beside over 20 other national Ukrainian American organizations as official members of the UCCA National Council, the highest ruling body of the UCCA.
The National Council gathered on Saturday, December 10, for its first meeting following the XXII Congress of Ukrainians in America, which had convened in September. Newly re-elected Council Chair Stefan Kaczaraj, the president of the Ukrainian National Association, presided over a gathering of delegates representing Ukrainian Churches and religious associations in the United States, Ukrainian American educational institutions, national or central member organizations, and local chapters of the UCCA.
In addition to nominating members to over a dozen working and advisory committees, which will guide the actions of the new UCCA Executive Board over the next four years, the delegates heard a brief report from UCCA staff and leadership on the work accomplished during the eight weeks since the XXII Congress.
Setting an ambitious agenda to start off his term, newly elected UCCA President Andriy Futey summarized the UCCA’s work in advance of and immediately following the U.S. elections, the UCCA’s recent high-level meetings in Ukraine, as well as a very active period of work at the United Nations.
The highlight of the gathering, however, came when UCCA Executive Secretary Maria Duplak announced that the UCCA Membership Committee, which is authorized and required to review each application for membership, recommended membership approval to both the UAV and UMANA. Approval for both applications was passed unanimously by the National Council.
Founded in 1950, the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA) unites health-care professionals of Ukrainian descent through its sponsorship of regular medical conferences, and publication of a Ukrainian-language medical journal and an English-language newsletter, as well as through its member branches throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ukrainian medical professionals have a long history of leadership in the Ukrainian American community, having played a significant role in the work of the UCCA in the past, beginning with the IV UCCA Congress in 1949, as well as in the establishment in 1967 of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (today known as the Ukrainian World Congress).
“We are enthusiastic that our united efforts will help support Ukraine’s efforts to become prosperous and free of Russia’s aggression. Collaboratively we may continue to demonstrate the Ukrainian diaspora’s solidarity with Ukraine,” stated Borys Buniak, M.D., president of UMANA.
The announcement by the UAV marks a welcome return to the leadership of the UCCA by veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces of Ukrainian descent. Founded in 1948 by American veterans of the first and second world wars who shared a Ukrainian heritage, the UAV is both an American veterans’ organization and an ethnic Ukrainian organization. It focuses its activities on providing financial assistance to veterans and their families, scholarships for college students who are descendants or relatives of Ukrainian American veterans, and sharing the story of Ukrainian American veterans through an active registration project as well as the Library of Congress Veterans’ History project.
“We look forward to being an active and contributing member, representing over 500 members of the Ukrainian American Veterans,” stated former UAV National Commander Ihor Hron.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome the Ukrainian American Veterans and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America as our two newest member organizations. We look forward to their active involvement and to the many contributions they will make,” said UCCA President Andriy Futey. “As I emphasized during the UCCA Congress in September, I am committed to unifying the community and call upon all organizations to unite.”
The outreach to non-member Ukrainian American organizations was begun over a year ago under the leadership of UCCA’s then-president, Tamara Olexy. “I am grateful to Tamara for her initiative and will continue this effort,” concluded Mr. Futey.