UWC President E. Czolij Visits Spain
October 8, 2010
UWC PRESIDENT EUGENE CZOLIJ VISITS SPAIN
Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij was in Spain from September 19 to 23, 2010 to get acquainted with the Ukrainian community in that country. He held several meetings in Madrid and Barcelona with national and local government officials, diplomats from Ukraine and membership and leadership of Ukrainian-Spanish communities.
The UWC President’s visit to Spain was organized by the Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians headed by Yuri Chopyk (Madrid) and the “Chervona Kalyna” Association of Ukrainians in Catalonia headed by Volodymyr Petrushchak (Barcelona).
On September 19 Eugene Czolij and his wife Anna attended Divine Liturgy at the Church of Our Lady of Good Success. Following mass they took part in school year opening ceremonies at the Ukrainian Saturday School run by the church. Next, the UWC President proceeded to a meeting with the local Ukrainian community that was attended by parish priest Fr. Ivan Lypka, the President of the Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians Yuri Chopyk, the Community’s Honorary President Teodor Barabash and members of the following Ukrainian civic organizations: Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians, Association of Ukrainians in Cantabria “Oberih”; “Ukraintsi Alcaly” Association and Ukrainian Saturday School of Alcala; “Nashi Dity” Association and Ukrainian Saturday School “Ridny Krai”; Association of emigrants from Eastern Europe “Za maibutnye” and the “Dyvosvit” School in Mostoles and the Ukrainian Saturday School of Our Lady of Good Success. During the meeting, the UWC President provided an overview of UWC activities and called upon the Ukrainian Diaspora of Spain to show solidarity and unity with the people of Ukraine and react to all violations of human and national rights of Ukrainians in Ukraine and Russia. Following his speech the UWC President answered questions and discussed the pressing issues raised by the local community, including social security, legalization of Ukrainian documents and Ukrainian education.
On September 20 the UWC President and the President of the Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians Yuri Chopyk met with Member of Spanish Parliament Gonzalo Robles Orozco. Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC’s mandate and purpose, noted the importance of Spanish governmental assistance to Ukrainians and Ukrainian organizations in Spain and requested support for the participation of Ukrainian youth from Ukraine in World Youth Day scheduled to take place in Madrid in August 2011. He also noted the importance of international recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people and appealed to the government of Spain to monitor human rights violations of Ukrainians in Ukraine and in Russia. Gonzalo Robles Orozco spoke highly of the Ukrainians who live in Spain saying they are honest, hard-working and well-integrated into Spanish society.
That same day the UWC President led a Ukrainian delegation to a meeting at the Spanish-Ukrainian Center with Madrid’s Deputy Advisor on Immigration and Cooperation Gabriel Fernandes Rohas, the Director of the Immigration Department Pablo Homes Tavir, the Director of the “Atenea” Foundation Paz Kasias and the Director of the Spanish-Ukrainian Center Ester Rico Donovan. Representing the Ukrainian community were the President of the Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians Yuri Chopyk, the Community’s Honorary President Teodor Barabash, Treasurer Ivanna Babiy, Anna Czolij and the Director of the “Ukrainske korinnya” magazine Larysa Ratych. An overview of the Spanish-Ukrainian Center’s activities was presented as an example of the way Madrid society supports immigrants. Eugene Czolij expressed gratitude for the assistance given to Ukrainians and called for vigilance in the problem areas of Ukrainian-Russian relations.
Reports on the meeting were carried in the following Spanish publications:
The Ukrainian delegation led by the UWC President next went to the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain for a meeting with Ambassador Anatoliy Shcherba and Consul General Vladislav Bohorad. During the meeting Eugene Czolij provided an overview of UWC activities. He raised the issues of Embassy and Consular services to Ukrainian citizens and the social security of Ukrainians residing in Spain. Ambassador Anatoliy Shcherba spoke about the Embassy’s cooperation with the Ukrainian Diaspora of Spain and pledged assistance to the youth from Ukraine who are coming to Spain for World Youth Day.
A detailed report on the UWC President’s visit to Madrid is posted on the website of the Ukrainian Community of Spain for Rights, Honour and Dignity of Ukrainians:
On September 21 Eugene Czolij and his wife Anna and the President of the “Chervona Kalyna” Association of Ukrainians in Catalonia Volodymyr Petrushchak met with the Director General of the Barcelona City Planning and Environment Carlos Martinez Quiroga, Subdirector General of Languages and Environment Josep Vallcorba and the Head of the Service of Languages Department Neus Lorenzo. The UWC President provided an overview of UWC activities, spoke about multiculturalism policies and the provision of premises for the Ukrainian Saturday School in Barcelona. The parties noted the positive results of state support for national minorities, especially in the areas language and culture.
The UWC President next met with acting Consul General of Ukraine in Barcelona Borys Sotnikov. The meeting was also attended by the President of the “Chervona Kalyna” Association of Ukrainians in Catalonia Volodymyr Petrushchak and the President of the Association of Ukrainians in Torrevieja, Alicante province Mykhailo Chereshnyuk. Eugene Czolij spoke about the scope of UWC’s mandate and raised a number of issues including the provision of consular services and pensions to citizens of Ukraine, recognition of Ukrainian diplomas and drivers’ licenses in Spain and the transportation of the deceased for burial from Spain to Ukraine. Boris Sotnikov spoke about his office’s cooperation with local Ukrainian civic organizations in honouring the victims of the 1932-33 Holodomor.
Later that day the UWC President delivered a talk to the Ukrainians of Catalonia at the church hall of Santa Monica in Barcelona. He spoke about UWC’s various activities, including those aimed at defending the independence of the Ukrainian state. He urged those present to react to any and all anti-Ukrainian actions and violations of Ukrainians’ human and national rights. Meeting participants included Fr. Hector Zimmer of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Barcelona and representatives of the following Ukrainian civic organizations in Barcelona and surrounding areas: Association of Ukrainians in Catalonia “Chervona Kalyna” from Alicante province, Association of Ukrainians in Segarra, Lleida province, “Aniarku” Association and “Skhid-Zakhid” Association from Barcelona. The lively discussion focused on the current condition of Ukrainian civic organizations in Spain and the unsettling political situation in Ukraine.