Bicentennial of the birth of Taras Shevchenko marked at UN
On 27 March 2014 the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko was commemorated at the United Nations in New York, U.S.A. – Taras Shevchenko: Champion of the Ukrainian language, self‑determination of peoples, human rights and social justice. The event, held in conjunction with UNESCO International Mother Language Day, was organized by the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) with the support of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations.
Members of UN diplomatic representations, high-ranking U.S.A. state officials, representatives of the educational and cultural communities,and the general Ukrainian public participated in the commemoration of Taras Shevchenko.
The Deputy Chief of the General Assembly for Revitalization and Security Council Reform H.E. Noel Sinclair spoke on behalf of the President ofthe 68th Session of the UN General Assembly H.E. John B. Ashe, and the Director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Public Information Maher Nasser delivered greetings on behalf of the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal.
Remarks were also presented by Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Andriy Deshchytsia, President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Tamara Olexy on behalf of UWC President Eugene Czolij, and WFUWO President Orysia Sushko. The keynote address was delivered by University of Toronto professor Dr. Maksym Tarnawsky.
The common theme was the significance of language as the main guarantor of a nation’s cultural legacy. The current events unfolding in Ukraine, however, also influenced the speakers who emphasized the continued relevance of the great poet as the Ukrainian people, who remain in a struggle for their freedom, continue to draw inspiration and strength from Shevchenko’s prophetic words.
The program also included performances by the Prometheus Chorus of Philadelphia, Vocal Duet Lisova Pisnia and the Dobriansky Brothers; English and Ukrainian reciting of Shevchenko’s poetry; as well as a slide presentation introducing the artwork of Taras Shevchenko. The Master of Ceremonies was Peter Fedynsky, translator of the recently released first complete English-language translation of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar.