SHARED VISION, SHARED SUCCESSES:
U.S. - Ukraine Foundation and the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council
January 28, 2011 - The following is a success story based on a shared vision and cooperation between two well known organizations, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.
The goals of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), a non-governmental nonprofit established in 1991, include fostering democratic development, advancing free market reform, and furthering human rights in Ukraine. The scope of USUF’s activities, facilitated in large part by grants from other foundations and the U.S. Government, has had an extensive range over the years. One far-reaching program has brought Ukrainian legislators and officials from all levels of Ukraine’s government to the U.S. to see the workings of democracy firsthand. In recent years, USUF has broadened its ability to disseminate information about and for Ukrainians by web casting various programs.
The Ukrainian American Coordinating Council (UACC) is a charter member of the Ukrainian World Congress and also a not-for-profit entity. It was established in 1983 to provide an alternative Ukrainian American umbrella organization for those Ukrainian American individuals and organizations wishing to support a democratic and collaborative organization working for the interests of the Ukrainian American community. Since the rebirth of an independent Ukraine, the UACC has also striven to promote mutually beneficial relations between the U.S. and Ukraine. The UACC also focuses on cultural and educational endeavors, such as helping underwrite the publication of scholarly research on Ukrainian topics. A recent example was its support for the publication of A Chronicle of Collectivization and the Holodomor in Ukraine, 1927-1933, volume 1, Book I, jointly with Harvard University’s Ukrainian Institute.
Because the USUF and UACC share similar goals and a similar professional and humanitarian ethos, they have been working together for some time. The current economic situation has increased the need for a more efficient pooling of dwindling financial resources. The resulting synergy of the collaboration of these two organizations has strengthened their individual efforts.
On February 2 of this year, for instance, the two organizations sponsored a community meeting with members of Ukraine’s opposition deputies from the Verkhovna Rada and various non-governmental organizations with the generous cooperation of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, Maryland. Such face-to-face meetings between Ukrainian activists and the Ukrainian-American diaspora provide an excellent direct means of communication for both sides concerning current developments.
In addition to keeping abreast of current conditions in Ukraine, both organizations have been dedicated to publicizing the record of events from Ukraine’s history, especially those that are little known, have been kept purposefully hidden or have been distorted by past and current hostile regimes. Keeping the memory of the Ukrainian Holodomor of 1932-33 alive and supporting research to establish that this tragedy was a genocide directed specifically at the Ukrainian people, for example, has been a major focus of both organizations.
In this context, UACC and USUF partnered in 2010 to assist Edvins Snore, director of the film“The Soviet Story,” when he traveled to Washington to publicize his film. His documentary shows the close physical, political and philosophical collaboration between the Nazi and Soviet systems in the years before and during World War II, with a significant portion of the film dedicated to the Holodomor. The archival documents seen in the film also reveal just how much the Soviet Union helped Nazi Germany create the Holocaust and uncover the scope of Stalin’s atrocities committed in the Soviet Union. Mr. Snore made considerable progress not only in promoting this important film, but in creating interest and support for further investigation into the injustices and atrocities perpetrated on the people within the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Soviet era.
Shining a more public light on the Holodomor was achieved via USUF’s recent web casting initiative which allowed the members of both organizations and the public to participate in person or virtually in the November 2010 presentation by Yale history professor Timothy Snyder of his book, Bloodlands--Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. The book contains Professor Snyder’s analysis of his Holodomor research, and the session was moderated by UACC president and former history professor Ihor Gawdiak. (To view this video, see: http://www.usukraine.org/events/timothy-snyder-bloodlands111510.shtml .)
USUF furthermore recently sponsored a discussion of the proposed Holodomor Memorial in Washington, DC, and how it may affect the “memorial landscape” in the capital (http://www.us Ukraine.org/events/holodomor-memorial-dc-discussion.shtml). The Foundation also assisted Eugenia Dallas, a Holodomor survivor, in her meetings in Washington, DC, including a Voice of America interview.
The Ukrainian American Coordinating Council and the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation have also worked together and with other organizations on charitable causes, such as providing humanitarian help to Western Ukraine when the area was ravaged by floods in 2008. Both organizations helped to create the Ukraine Disaster Assistance Fund, together with the Ukrainian Federation of America and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. In 2008 and 2009, nearly $40,000 was raised by the coalition for this Fund.
During 2010, the coalition decided to aid an area in Ukraine that was particularly hard hit by the floods. What was needed was a large school bus to serve the Holovetsko village school and the children of eight nearby villages in the Stariy Sambir District, including Ripiano, Dnistryk, Smerichka, Babyno, Hrozovo, Vytsiv, Mshanets, and Hvozdets. The coalition worked directly with the principal of the school for the purchase of the bus, which had to be approved by the Ministry of Education. The bus now transports over 200 students.
Ukraine’s future political direction is of concern to all those who care about the country, and for this reason, the continued cooperation of such organizations as UACC and USUF is essential. The Foundation’s newest program, Ukraine 2020, is an initiative of USUF in Washington and the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy in Kyiv. Its aim is to support Ukraine’s European integration, which Ukraine has declared to be a priority goal. Ukraine 2020 will involve exchanges and policy dialogue that will bring together government officials, public policy experts, business groups, non-profit organizations, and individuals interested in Ukraine’s European future. A component of this new program, supported by the UACC, is an Education and Culture Task Force led by Ambassador William Green Miller.
Both UACC and USUF encourage your involvement and support. If you would like to volunteer your talents, please contact us at email: firstname.lastname@example.org.