In Memoriam Former Ukrainian World Congress President Peter Savaryn 1926-2017
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) expresses deep sorrow and condolences on the passing on 6 April 2017 of former President of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (today the UWC) Peter Savaryn.
The death of Peter Savaryn is a painful loss for his wife Olha, and children Vira, Mykhailo and Halia with their families, Canadians and the global Ukrainian community.
Peter Savaryn was well known in Canada, where he lived since 1949, as a nation builder who, while valuing his Ukrainian heritage, understood the role of every Ukrainian in the continued development and prosperity of Canada. As a respected lawyer and staunch defender of the policy of multiculturalism, Peter Savaryn was active in the Conservative Party of Alberta which he chaired and served as Chancellor of the University of Alberta.
Although Peter Savaryn’s involvement in the Ukrainian community involved many spheres of activity, he focused primarily on developing the cultural and educational foundations of the community in Canada. Peter Savaryn was active in the Ukrainian Youth Association Plast, Shevchenko Scientific Society, Alberta Society for the Preservation of Ukrainian Culture and Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Peter Savaryn played a very significant role in the establishment of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta and was a key promoter within the Province of Alberta of the introduction of Ukrainian as a language of instruction in the provincial school system.
In 1983, Peter Savaryn was elected President of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians for a five-year term. During the presidency of Peter Savaryn, the International Commission of Inquiry into the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine was established on the initiative of the UWC. This Commission issued a final report in 1990 stating that the Holodomor was a man-made famine and that the Soviet authorities must be vigorously condemned for this.
In 1993, during the Sixth World Congress of Ukrainians, Peter Savaryn was awarded the highest honor of the UWC, the Medal of St. Volodymyr the Great. For his contribution to Canadian society Peter Savaryn was awarded the Order of Canada.
“As President of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians, Peter Savaryn understood that the freedom of the Ukrainian people was dependent on each and every individual in the diaspora, and he used his political savvy to strengthen communities and build a circle of international allies in the struggle for Ukraine’s independence. The UWC leadership and membership share the deep pain of the loss of Peter Savaryn and pray for the repose of his soul,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.