UWC President E. Czolij Visits Croatia
December 9, 2010
UWC PRESIDENT E. CZOLIJ VISITS CROATIA
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Eugene Czolij visited Croatia on November 16, 18 and 19. In Vukovar and Zagreb he saw local Ukrainian civic and religious life, met with national and local government officials, university students and Ukraine’s Ambassador to Croatia and visited historical landmarks.
The UWC President’s visit was organized by the Coordination of Ukrainian National Minority in the Republic of Croatia and the Ukrainian Community of the Croatian Republic. He was accompanied by the President of the Coordination of Ukrainian National Minority in the Republic of Croatia Viktor Filima, his Vice President Mihajlo Semenjuk and the President of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture Miroslav Hočak.
The UWC President began his visit to Croatia in Vukovar on November 16. Together with the Head of the Vukovar Srijem County Council Božo Galić, Mayor of Vukovar Željko Sabo, Ambassador of Ukraine to Croatia Oleksandr Levchenko, Head of the Ukrainian Community in the Republic of Croatia Ivan Semenjuk and representatives of the local Ukrainian community, the UWC President participated in the cornerstone laying ceremony and blessing of the Ukrainian House construction site – the future Ukrainian community centre in Croatia.The foundation was blessed by Fr. Volodimir Magoč.
Next the UWC President honoured the memories of those who died during the War for Independence by laying wreaths at the Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar and the Memorial Cross for War victims who died for Croatia’s freedom near City Hall and lit a candle at the Ovčara Monument marking the site of the Vukovar Massacre.
The UWC President later met with Mayor of Vukovar Željko Sabo. The UWC President thanked the mayor for understanding the needs and supporting the Ukrainian national minority and spoke about the finances required to complete the construction of Ukrainian House.
Eugene Czolij next attended a town hall meeting with the Ukrainian community of Vukovar. He spoke about UWC activities and current events in Ukraine, in particular about defending human rights and freedoms.
On November 18, 2010 the UWC President visited the Chair of Ukrainian Language and Literature, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb where he discussed Ukrainian language education and publishing activities with the Chair’s Head Dr.Eugen Paščenko and academics. Eugene Czolij also provided students with an overview of UWC activities.
Next the UWC President and representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora met with Ambassador of Ukraine Oleksandr Levchenko. They spoke about cooperation between the Ukrainian diplomatic mission and the Ukrainian Diaspora of Croatia and the relations between Ukrainian governmental structures and UWC.
The UWC President also met with the Greek Catholic Bishop for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola Kekić, Bishop of Križevci. They discussed Ukrainian religious and civic life in Croatia. The UWC President encouraged the introduction of weekly Divine Liturgy celebrations in the Ukrainian language in Zagreb. Eugene Czolij also requested support for renewing the “Vasyljanum” Centre at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Prnjavor, Bosnia and Herzegovina for community needs. The Bishop told the UWC President about the finances required to pay for the repair of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Next Eugene Czolij met with the Ukrainian community of Zagreb. He spoke about UWC activities and learned about the challenges faced by the local community as well as its success stories.
On November 19 the UWC President met with the Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić and raised the issue of premises for Ukrainian community needs. The Mayor promised to resolve this issue in a positive manner. They also discussed financial assistance for covering the repair costs of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Next the UWC President met with the Head of Croatia’s Parliament Luka Bebić along with representatives of the Ukrainian community and the Ambassador of Ukraine. In observance of Vukovar Massacre Remembrance Day, the UWC President expressed condolences to the Croatian people and thanked the nation’s leadership for supporting the Ukrainian national minority. During discussions he thanked Luka Bebić for making a submission to the Croatian Parliament for recognition of the 1932-33 Holodomor as an act of genocide of the Ukrainian people. He also thanked the Croatian Parliament’s War Veterans Committee for recognizing the Holodomor as genocide and the Croatian World Congress for support and called upon all members of parliament to support the measure. In addition, Eugene Czolij called for developing bilateral relations with Ukraine and reacting to reports of human rights violations in Ukraine.
The UWC President discussed issues pertaining to the Ukrainian national minority in Croatia with the Head of the Council of National Minorities in Croatia Aleksandar Tolnaeur. Eugene Czolij noted the importance of this government body’s existence and thanked the Government of Croatia and the Council of National Minoritiesfor supporting the preservation of the Ukrainian national identity in Croatia. He suggested the Council should prepare a memorandum on Croatia’s policies towards national minorities and conduct seminars about existing European foundations and projects for national minorities.
MEETING WITH UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES FROM SLOVENIA
At the end of his trip Eugene Czolij met with representatives of the Ukrainian community of Slovenia including the leadership of the “Karpaty” Association of Ukrainians in Slovenia: Council President Slavko Figuryk, Vice President Mykolai Erdeli and Secretary Andriy Hevka. They provided the UWC President with current information about the Ukrainian Diaspora in Slovenia and discussed Holodomor information initiatives, cultural and education efforts, financing of various projects and premises for organizations. The UWC President provided information about UWC activities and called upon the Ukrainians of Slovenia to cooperation.
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