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Friday, October 29, 2010

Ukrainian World Congress calls for free, fair, open and democratic elections in Ukraine

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) expresses serious concern about the events surrounding the imminent local government elections in Ukraine.

On October 31, 2010,  the first nationwide elections being organized and conducted by Ukraine's new government. These are elections to the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local councils and the positions of village, township and city Mayors.

UWC adds its voice to the alarm expressed by Ukrainian and international organizations over the undue influence being exerted by governmental structures on the election campaign. They are concerned that the Yanukhovych government is implementing changes which may result in the elections falling short of international standards.

In an attempt to resolve the critical situation that arose a month before elections, the Council of Opposition parties issued an appeal to international organizations on September 28, 2010. The appeal states that for the elections to be free, fair, open and democratic, the following measures must be taken:

1) The 15-member CEC should be composed of members from all political parties with seats in the national parliament. This requires the appointment of a new CEC and amendment of the law on appointing the CEC's 15 members so that the 15 political parties in parliament are each allocated a spot on the election commission.

2) Electoral law should allow voting at home only for individuals with documented proof of certified medical conditions. Any voting conducted outside of polling stations should be supervised by no fewer than five members of the local polling station commission. Electoral law should also clearly state that a quorum for decisions made by election commissions on Election Day constitutes a simple majority of all commission members.

3) Territorial and polling station election commissions should be re-formed according to the principle of equal representation, i.e. one commission member per political party, including those not in parliament.

4) Leadership positions in the territorial and polling station election commissions should be open to all political parties running in the elections with equal distribution of quotas for these positions among all parties.

5) Interference of government structures in the internal affairs of political parties should cease immediately. The real local branches of the "Batkivshchyna" party should be registered immediately in Kyiv, Lviv and Luhansk oblasts. Duplicate copies of party seals and registration certificates held by former party members should be destroyed without delay.

In accordance with the principle of Rule of Law, UWC calls on President Victor Yanukovych as the Guarantor of Ukraine's Constitution to heed the aforementioned concerns and ensure the elections are free, fair, open and democratic.

In addition, UWC appeals to all citizens of Ukraine to take responsibility for their state's future by exercising their right to vote and demanding that elections are held according to democratic legal principles.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ukrainian Canadian Congress announces Shevchenko award recipients

Excellent choices for the Shevchenko Medal, the highest form of recognition that can be granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Congratulations to th recipients, as well as those of the Ukrainian Canadian Youth Leadership Awards.

Recipients have been invited to receive their awards at a ceremony to be held on November 6, 2010 at the XXIII Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Shevchenko Medal recognizes individuals of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian descent, as well as institutions and organizations, for their outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community. Outstanding achievement is measured by the recipients' level of excellence and initiative, their sustained body of work, peer recognition and the recipients' broad impact inside and outside the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Shevchenko Medals are awarded in the categories of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Education, Sport, and may also include the category of public service.

The Ukrainian Canadian Youth Leadership Award gives recognition to young adult Ukrainian Canadians for outstanding leadership which significantly contributed to the broader Ukrainian community and the betterment of Canada.

The Awards & Recognition Committee and the Shevchenko Medal Jury consisted of Chair lRoman Melnyk (Toronto), Radoslav Zuk (Montreal), Borys Sirskyj (Ottawa), Halyna Kvitka Kondracki (Toronto), Lesia Szwaluk (Winnipeg), Adrian Boyko (Saskatoon), Marko Levytsky (Edmonton). All jury members are past recipients of the Medal and provided expertise, community experience and geographic representation.

Award Recipients

Community Development

Bill (Wasyl) Diachuk of Edmonton ... in recognition of his dedicated and inspired community work, his commitment to public service as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, his active participation as a fundraiser, leader and volunteer. His exemplary initiative in helping the less fortunate in South America and Ukraine as well as his leadership with immigration and settlement issues have enhanced the fabric of Alberta and all of Canada.

Walter Kish of Oshawa ... in recognition of his dedicated community activism, especially his contributions as a journalist, author and columnist. Walter has been a leader in the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, the Canada Ukraine Foundation, and the New Pathway newspaper.
 Orest Warnyca of Regina ... in recognition of his contribution to numerous Ukrainian Canadian organizations, and especially for his outstanding leadership in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Self Reliance League of Canada. Special recognition is given for his efforts to have the Government of Saskatchewan recognize the 1932-33 Holodomor as an act of genocide.

Culture and the Arts
 Roman Brytan of Edmonton ... in recognition of his contribution to music and cultural celebration as host and producer of a daily Ukrainian program in Edmonton. Roman has also conceptualized major arts festivals and cultural programs and has promoted, encouraged and helped grow Ukrainian culture and arts in Canada, including the establishment of the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts.

Halya Kuchmij of Toronto ... in recognition of her significant contribution to arts and culture as a director and producer of films. She has directed and produced over 70 films many of which have been on Ukrainian/Ukrainian -Canadian themes. Halya's films have been instrumental in disseminating widely the culture, beliefs, and history of Ukrainians and Ukrainian Canadians on issues such as the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine, the Chornobyl disaster, and the life of William Kurelek.

Myron Momryk of Ottawa ... in recognition of his significant contribution in shaping and developing the Ukrainian holdings of the Library and Archives Canada. Myron oversaw the single largest archival collection dealing with Ukrainian Canadians, an invaluable source of documents critical to the history of Ukrainians in Canada and Ukraine-he has guided generations of historians and researchers through these collections, contributing to a better understanding of issues such as migration, Canada's First Internment Operations, and Canada's policy of Multiculturalism.

Dr. Valerian Revutsky of Vancouver  ... in recognition of his significant contribution in supporting and popularizing Ukrainian culture in Canada, for his works as an author of several books promoting Ukrainian theatre and culture in Canada and across the world. A Holodomor survivor, Dr. Revutsky has also written on the 1921-23 famine in Ukraine.


Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk of Kingston ...  in recognition of his unparalleled success in informing Canadians about Canada's first national internment operations, and his work navigating the historic Internment Act and its $10 million settlement. Dr. Luciuk is the Chairman and co-founder of the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association and author of dozens of books and countless articles. He has led many successful campaigns to set the historical record straight on topics such as the Canadian immigrant experience, the Holodomor, Ukraine's struggle for national liberation and Canada's first internment operations.

Dr. Manoly Lupul of Calgary ... in recognition of his instrumental role in furthering knowledge and understanding of Ukrainian Canadian issues. As founding director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Dr. Lupul was instrumental in leading the field on the history of Ukrainian Canadians, multiculturalism and bilingual education.
 Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky of Edmonton ... in recognition of his tireless work in supporting Ukrainian education in Canada. As founder of the Ukrainian Folklore program and the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta, Dr. Medwidsky has stimulated and led research on Ukrainian culture and folklore in Canada. He has written extensively on Ukrainian folklore, folksongs and folktales.

Dr. Roman Serbyn of Montreal ... in recognition of his leadership role in the field of education on the history of Ukraine and his tireless work on researching and publicizing the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine as genocide. Dr. Serbyn is a world renowned expert on the Holodomor, as well as having pioneered research on the 1921-23 Ukrainian famine, and on the topic of Ukraine and WWII.


Lucas Makowsky of Calgary ... in recognition of his achievements in the category of sport. An Olympic Gold medallist in speed skating, with a number one ranking in several distances in Canada, Lucas has excelled at the highest levels of athletic competition. This is reinforced by his strong involvement in the Ukrainian community through the dance ensemble Tavaria, Ukrainian Camp Trident and practicing the rich Ukrainian Orthodox traditions that he cherishes.

Michael Slipchuk of Toronto ... in recognition of his achievements in the category of sport. As a world class figure skater, figure skating coach and Director of high performance for skate Canada, Michael has been an international ambassador for skating. In addition, Michael was the team leader for the multi medal winning 2010 Canadian Olympic figure skating team. An Edmonton native, Michael has been involved in CYMK, and danced with the ensemble Zirka.

Public Service

Leo Ledohowski of  Winnipeg ... for his contributions in raising awareness of Ukrainian issues and philanthropy. Mr. Ledohowski produced the Holodomor DVD Documentary "Vichna yim pamyat", has made significant contributions to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and promoted Canada's multicultural character by supporting Ukrainian Canadian Arts. Mr. Ledohowski is a prominent philanthropist and accomplished Canadian business person. He is the President and Chair of Canad Inns and serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada.

James C. Temerty, C.M.,Toronto ... for his lifelong support and leadership within the Ukrainian Canadian community. He was chairman of the Ukrainian Centennial Fundraising Campaign and chaired the 2004 Ukrainian Election Observers Campaign, facilitating 500 private sector election observers to the Orange Revolution presidential election. He was instrumental in launching the Kyiv Mohyla Business School of which he serves as Chairman of its Advisory Council and is a Trustee of the Children's Hospital of the Future in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mr. Temerty is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northland Power Income Fund, Founding Chairman of UCC's National Advisory Council and was the Chairman of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors. He is a recipient of many honours including Member of the Order of Canada.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj of Toronto ... for his lifelong support of the Ukrainian Canadian community and Ukraine's struggle for independence and democratic development. He has provided financial support to Ukrainian organizations and played a leading role advocating on behalf of the Ukrainian community with the government of Canada. A federal Member of Parliament since 2004, Borys has been instrumental in receiving government support for important issues to the Ukrainian Canadian community, including the 2004 Ukrainian observer mission to Ukraine, recognition of the Holodomor by Parliament as a genocide and seeking commemoration and acknowledgement for Canada's first national internment operations.

Ukrainian Canadian Youth Leadership Award

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress presents the Ukrainian Canadian Youth Leadership Award recipients for outstanding leadership and congratulates the jury for their work on the awards. The jury panel included: Chair Roman Melnyk (Toronto), Radoslav Zuk (Montreal), Borys Sirskyj (Ottawa), Halyna Kvitka Kondracki (Toronto), Lesia Szwaluk (Winnipeg), Adrian Boyko (Saskatoon), Marko Levytsky (Edmonton), Mychajlo Hantsch (Calgary), Robert Wuschenny ( Regina).


Adriana Luhowa, of Montreal for her work with PLAST, SUSK, Help us Help the Children, and with McGill and Concordia Ukrainian students unions. In addition, she successfully organized a charitable fundraiser for Ukrainian orphanages and was the main videographer for the documentary film on the Holodomor, "Genocide Revealed".

Olyana Grod of Mississauga for her work in positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in Ukrainian Youth Association CYM, including being the current national president. In addition to being instrumental in organizing the 2010 CYM World Jamboree, Olyana has been actively involved in the community, having organized Holodomor Education Week and Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations at Queen's Park. She has served on the executive of SUSK and has currently begun an internship with the Canadian Urban Institute in Kyiv.

Andrijko Semaniuk of Winnipeg. Andrijko has been active in the Ukrainian Youth group CYM and sits on their national executive. A business student at the University of Manitoba, Andrijko is also a member of the musical troupe Zrada which has travelled across Canada and the US as well as performs with the Hoosli male chorus. He is active in the Catholic community, having served as an altar boy and member of the choir at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral.

Roman Storoschuk of Alberta. Roman is currently studying Philosophy at the University of Calgary. He is also vice-president of the University of Calgary Ukrainian Student's Society. Roman is also actively involved with the Ukrainian Canadian Student's Union (SUSK). Roman has been profoundly involved in Plast - Ukrainian Youth Scouting Organization, where Roman is a councillor for both the younger and older youth. Roman has been involved with the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Calgary, The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation and the Calgary Ukrainian Festival.

Congratulations to all these deserving individuals!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Photos of Prime Minister Harper in Ukraine

October 24, 2010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper receives and eats ceremonial bread upon his arrival in Ukraine

October 25, 2010: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, meets with Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine
Prime Minister Stephen Harper observes a moment of silence
after placing a jar of grain on the "Sad Memory of Childhood"
statue at the National Holodomor Memorial Museum and Monument

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is joined by James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, and Mark Warawa, Member of Parliament for Langley, as he departs the Babyn Yar Monument, erected to commemorate the victims of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War
Prime Minister Stephen Harper watches a wreath being laid prior to observing a moment of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Park of Glory
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, announce a Youth Mobility Agreement between their two countries. This new agreement will give qualified Canadian and Ukrainian citizens, aged 18 to 35, more opportunity to travel and work in each other’s countries. 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Yulia Tymoshenko, Leader of the Opposition in Ukraine.
PMO photos by Jason Ransom

PM Harper announces new agreement on youth mobility with Ukraine

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that Canada and Ukraine have signed a new agreement that will give young people more opportunity to travel and work in each other’s countries.

The announcement was made following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Harper and Victor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine.

“Our two countries have strong ties underpinned by the more than 1.2 million Ukrainian descendants living in Canada today,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Today’s agreement will create exciting work and travel opportunities for our youth, forging new bonds between our countries for generations to come.”

The Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to come into effect next year, will simplify and facilitate the process for qualified Canadian and Ukrainian citizens, aged 18 to 35, to travel and work in the other country for up to one year. Participants will gain a better understanding of the other country’s languages, culture and society and benefit from professional and personal development.

To date, Canada has entered into 30 other bilateral arrangements on youth mobility through the International Experience Canada initiative.

The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to announce that the next phase of negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine will begin December 13. The first phase of negotiations between Canada and Ukraine on this agreement began in May 2010.

This year marks the 119th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence, which attests to the close ties the two countries enjoy today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Virsky in Vancouver

This was a most amazing show! So glad I had the opportunity to see these outstanding performers.

They're still touring Canada, so if your town is one they're slated to visit, make sure not to miss this show!

In the meantime, enjoy these clips of the Vancouver performance.

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