Canada hosts successful Ukraine Reform Conference, Ukraine House and Visit of President Zelenskyy

#UWC news
July 5,2019 127

Over 800 of Ukraine’s friends and partners from 37 countries and 10 international organizations gathered in Toronto, Canada, July 2-4, 2019, to participate in the third Ukraine Reform Conference, which was hosted and co-chaired this year by Canada.  The discussions among foreign ministers, heads of international institutions, parliamentarians, and representatives of the private sector, civil society and think tanks, focused on strengthening support for Ukraine’s reform process and its path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Paul Grod delivered a statement from the UWC and the 20-million strong Ukrainian diaspora to the Ministerial meeting of the Ukraine Reform Conference held on July 2 in which he expressed gratitude to those gathered for significant contributions in helping Ukraine become a truly democratic state and defending its citizens against Russian military aggression. Urging everyone to stay the course, the UWC President emphasized that the President and Government of Ukraine require our ongoing support and that together we can ensure that Ukraine becomes a high-income, democratic member of the European Union, NATO and the broader TransAtlantic Community.  The UWC President warned the heads of the 47 delegations that any weakening of international resolve, like the recent reintegration of Russia into PACE, will only be viewed as weakness and further exploited.

Prime Minister of Canada J. Trudeau, President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada C. Freeland with participants of Ukraine Reform Conference

“The Ukrainian World Congress congratulates Canada and its Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on hosting this very successful Ukraine Reform Conference which has offered international leaders an opportunity to engage on ways to continue supporting Ukraine and its leadership on its challenging path to building a strong, democratic European state,” stated UWC President Paul Grod. “We remain grateful for Canada’s leadership in supporting Ukraine’s young democracy and standing firmly in defence of its territorial integrity against Russian aggression.  We fully expect that the international community will follow Canada’s lead in banning entry to individuals with Russian passports issued in the occupied Donbas region of Ukraine.”

From left: CN Tower lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag; P. Grod delivers UWC statement to Ministerial meeting

Paul Grod led a panel discussion during the Ministerial meeting titled Vision: Ukraine as a High Income Country. Panelists presented their perspectives on supporting Ukraine’s aspirations to be a high-income state, including ways to unlock sustainable growth that works for everyone and entrenching institutional reforms to address corruption, improve the rule of law and the justice system that remain critical for long-term success. Among the panelists were Horizon Capital Founder and President, UWC Vice President and Chair of the UWC Committee for Economic Prosperity of Ukraine and Investment Lenna Koszarny; Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Finland; and Cyril Mueller from the World Bank who presented a set of comprehensive recommendations based upon the WB report “Ukraine Growth Study Final Document : Faster, Lasting and Kinder” 

P. Grod (left) leads panel discussion titled “Vision: Ukraine as a High Income Country”

The UWC and Ukrainian Canadian community leaders participated in a dinner on July 2 in Toronto hosted by Prime Minister Trudeau in honour of President Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenskyy where he reaffirmed Canada’s unequivocal support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity.

From left: President V. Zelenskyy and Prime Minister J. Trudeau; President V. Zelenskyy and Minister C. Freeland

In order to maintain the important momentum of reform and international support, it was announced that in 2020 Lithuania will co-host the next Ukraine Reform Conference in Vilnius.

An integral component of the Ukraine Reform Conference was Ukraine House Toronto in which the UWC was a proud partner. Ukraine House Toronto hosted three days of programming which included  stimulating discussion on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for the economic prosperity of Ukraine and its investors. “Ukraine House is a vital initiative in promoting Ukraine – its economic, investment and cultural potential, to the international community. The UWC was a proud partner and we congratulate Executive Director Alexa Chopivsky and the organizers on another successful event,” added Paul Grod.

Ukraine House organizers (from left): A. Chopivsky, S. Grytsenko and D. Bilak

On July 2, UWC President met with President Zelenskyy together with Ukrainian Canadian community leaders led by Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Alexandra Chyczij.  The hour-long discussion addressed key issues relating to Russian military, political and economic aggression against Ukraine; Ukrainian language; new Presidential appointments; support for Ukrainian communities around the world; and strategies for cooperation between the President and the UWC.  

President V. Zelenskyy meets with the UWC President and representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian community

President Zelenskyy was unequivocal in his commitment to defend the Ukrainian language as the only state language of Ukraine; expressed his firm opposition to any attempts by Russia to create a frozen conflict or federalization of Ukraine; and described his efforts to free the Ukrainian sailors and political prisoners held illegally in Russian jails.  He reaffirmed his commitment to support Ukrainian communities around the world, especially in Russia where they face intimidation and discrimination; and welcomed the opportunity to work with UWC to create an environment and legislative framework that encourages Ukrainians living abroad to return to Ukraine with their know-how and financial resources.  The UWC committed to work with the President to implement the proposals discussed and in developing a roadmap for cooperation.

First Lady O. Zelenskyy and President V. Zelenskyy visit Holodomor Memorial Parkette at CNE grounds and National Holodomor Awareness Tour Mobile Classroom

President Zelensky and the First Lady also paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holodomor with a visit the Holodomor Memorial Parkette located on the CNE grounds and the National Holodomor Awareness Tour Mobile Classroom.

During a breakfast with 450 Canadian business people hosted on July 3 by the Economic Club of Canada, Ukraine House Toronto and Ukrainian Canadian Congress, President Zelenskyy highlighted the trade opportunities and innovation potential of Ukraine.  The President called on Canadians to “Invest in Ukraine! Why? Because we are one of the most promising countries with a great growth potential.”  He noted that “We need fair courts. Now the Ukrainian court system is trusted by neither society nor investors. We will change it. Our team prepares a separate plan for this.”  He also suggested creating a special investment fund for the joint investment of Canadians of Ukrainian origin in the projects in Ukraine and committed to “guarantee full support for the implementation of such a project and protection of investments. To do this, a separate team is being created.”

President V. Zelenskyy addresses breakfast hosted by Economic Club of Canada, Ukraine House Toronto and Ukrainian Canadian Congress

Photos: Official website of the President of Ukraine, Ukraine Reform Conference, Ukraine House Toronto, Ukrainian Canadian Congress National, Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto Branch, National Holodomor Awareness Tour

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