UWC holds Annual General Meeting in Greece
September 17, 2012
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS HOLDS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING IN GREECE
The Annual General Meeting of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) was held in Anavyssos, Greece, on September 7-9, 2012.
The AGM began with a commemoration of the great Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, at a monument erected in his honor on the city council grounds in Zografou, Attica. Joining the AGM delegates and guests at the ceremony were the Mayor of Zografou, Konstantinos Kalliris, his predecessor Ioannis Kazakos, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Hellenic Republic Volodymyr Shkurov, and representatives of the local Ukrainian community. The ceremony commenced with a prayer service celebrated by Metropolitan Adrian Staryna of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate, Fr. Mykhailo Yurina of the Greek Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Orthodox priest Fr. Vasyl Lylo. After the laying of wreaths at the foot of the monument, UWC President Eugene Czolij, Konstantinos Kalliris and Volodymyr Shkurov delivered remarks focusing on the creative legacy of Taras Shevchenko. Following cultural performances, the UWC President planted a willow tree on Greek soil as a symbol of Ukraine.
During the plenary session of the AGM, greetings were delivered by President of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council Mykhaylo Ratushnyi and letters were read from the Mayor of Ternopil, Serhiy Nadal, and the Director of the International Institute of Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations, Iryna Kliuchkovska.
The annual report of the UWC was presented by its President, Eugene Czolij. He focused on the main areas of UWC’s activity, specifically those related to Ukraine’s democratization, Ukrainization and Euro-integration, as well as the consolidation of the Ukrainian diaspora and the protection of its rights and interests.
Reports were also presented by members of the UWC Executive Committee,Council and Committee chairs, as well as representatives of UWC’s Ukrainian national coordinating bodies, and international and national member organizations.
Important issues relating to UWC’s future activities were the focus of four round table discussions:
1) International action marking the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor 1932-33;
2) Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of T. Shevchenko;
3) International UWC Observer Mission to the October 2012 Parliamentary Election in Ukraine; and
4) Development strategy of the last wave of emigration.
Joining Ukrainians from the diaspora at these discussions was Ukrainian historian Volodymyr Tylischak.
During the AGM, the UWC accepted into its membership the Coordinating Council of Ukrainian Associations and Unions from Bosnia and Hercegovina as a Ukrainian national coordinating body and the Congress of Ukrainians of Latvia as a Ukrainian national organization.
Included in the program was a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the UWC during which greetings were read from the Greek Minister of Education, Religion, Culture and Sport, Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos, and a keynote speech was delivered by UWC President Eugene Czolij.
While in Greece, delegates had the opportunity to visit an exhibit by Ukrainian artist Oksana Chaus, along with two Greek artists. They participated in Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Athens where Eugene Czolij addressed the local Ukrainian community and met with the parish priest, Fr. Liubomyr Daciv, and Marta Attikos, the director of the Saturday school and the Athenian-Ukrainian facultative school. Eugene Czolij also discussed the specifics of Ukrainian community life with the President of the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece Ukrayinsko-Hretska Dumka (Ukrainian Greek Thought), Halyna Masliuk, and the director of the Ukrainian Sunday school, Oksana Nakonechna.
Following the AGM, the UWC President met with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Konstantinos Tsiaras, during which he urged support for the Ukrainian community and encouraged Greece to inform Ukraine’s civil society about the benefits of EU membership.
The UWC AGM was held in Greece to coincide with a conference that immediately followed titled Democratization and integration into European society as significant factors in the consolidation of an independent Ukrainian state. This conference was the main component of the V Forum of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece organized under the patronage of the UWC by the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece Ukrayinsko-Hretska Dumka.
The UWC is the international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 33 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status.