UWC President E. Czolij Visits Greece
October 5, 2010
The UWC President’s visit to Greece was organized by the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece “Ukrainian Greek Thought.” Association President Halyna Maslyuk-Kakku accompanied the UWC President throughout the visit.
EVIA ISLAND, ERETRIA
The first stop on the UWC President’s visit to Greece was the IV Forum of Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece held from September 9 to 10, 2010 on Evia Island, Eretria. Eugene Czolij delivered remarks during the final session of the conference on education and the international “Svichka Molinnia” (Remembrance Candle) Holodomor awareness campaign. The UWC President also gave the keynote address during the Forum’s closing ceremony.
A detailed report on the IV Ukrainian Diaspora Forum proceedings is available on the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece “Ukrainian Greek Thought” website:
On September 12, the UWC President attended Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Athens. After mass the UWC President spoke to the community about the latest disturbing developments in Ukraine and provided an update on UWC activities. He called upon Ukrainians to participate more actively in organized community life where they reside. He said that the Greek government should be made aware of all anti-Ukrainian actions, violations of human and national rights of Ukrainians and Russia’s meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Eugene Czolij urged Ukrainian Greeks to participate in all of UWC’s campaigns and initiatives.
On September 13, the UWC President led a Ukrainian Diaspora delegation to meet Deputy Mayor of Athens Aleksandra Evert-Alverti, Chairman of the Migrant and Minority Issues Committee. The Ukrainians were represented by UWC President Eugene Czolij, UWC First Vice-president and President of the European Congress of Ukrainians Jaroszlava Hartyanyi, President of the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece “Ukrainian Greek Thought” Halyna Maslyuk, Vice-president Alla Lobach, Association member Oksana Chaus, the wife of UWC President Anna Czolij, Chair of the “Ukraina-33” Committee from Lyons, France Genia Kuzen and the Ambassador of Ukraine to Greece Volodymyr Shkurov. The parties discussed issues including the integration of Ukrainian immigrants into Greek society and ways of increasing their activity in Greek society while maintaining their Ukrainian national identity. Also discussed was the dissemination of information in Greece about the Holodomor-genocide of the Ukrainian people. During the meeting, the UWC President called for the Greek government to react to Russia’s anti-Ukrainian actions and its gross meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs and the curtailing of democratic principles and freedoms in both Russia and Ukraine.
On September 14, the UWC President led a Ukrainian Diaspora delegation to meet with the General Secretary of the ministry responsible for migration issues Andreas Takis, the Mayor of Zografou (Attica) Ioannis Kazakos and diplomats from Ukraine’s Embassy in Greece. The Ukrainian Diaspora was represented by UWC President Eugene Czolij, UWC First Vice-president and President of the European Congress of Ukrainians Jaroszlava Hartyanyi, the President of the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece “Ukrainian Greek Thought” Halyna Maslyuk, the association’s Vice-president Alla Lobach, Secretary Oksana Nakonechna and Board Members Orest Chura and Roman Sadovsky. During the meeting at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Greece with General Secretary Andreas Takis issues pertaining to the status of Ukrainian immigrants in Greece were raised, including statistics and qualifications and document renewal procedures for legal Ukrainian immigrants. The UWC President also raised human trafficking concerns and it was decided that ministry representatives will meet with Ukraine’s ambassadors and members of the “Ukrainian Greek Thought” Association to further discuss this issue. Eugene Czolij drew Andreas Takis’ attention to the importance of the Greek government’s recognition of the Holodomor of 1932-33 in Ukraine as an act of genocide of the Ukrainian people. The Association promised to provide additional informational in support of this latter matter.
The delegation visited Zografou (Attica) City Hall for a meeting with Mayor Ioannis Kazakos and City Council. During his address to the Mayor’s advisors from different parties, local political and civic activists, Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC’s mandate and activities, disturbing developments in Ukraine and the need to establish the historical truth about the genocide of the Ukrainian people, OUN-UPA, etc. He thanked Mayor Ioannis Kazakos for his contribution to Ukrainian-Greek relations, assistance to the Ukrainian community in Greece in erecting a monument to Taras Shevchenko on the premises of City Hall and supporting the dissemination of accurate historical information about the Holodomor and OUN-UPA. Mayor Ioannis Kazakos was awarded UWC’s highest honour: the Medal of St. Volodymyr the Great. Following the meeting and awards ceremony, the delegation laid wreaths to the Taras Shevchenko monument standing in Zografou’s Friendship Park. There the UWC President spoke about the importance of honouring the memory of the great Ukrainian poet and maintaining national identity.
The UWC President and delegation next visited the Embassy of Ukraine in Greece for an official meeting with Ambassador Volodymyr Shkurov. A number of issues were discussed, including services to Ukrainian citizens, cooperation with the Ukrainian community in Greece, events at the Embassy’s Cultural Centre and current events in Ukraine that cause concern among the Diaspora. During the meeting, Eugene Czolij awarded Kostyantyn Karkanyas, a long time friend of the Ukrainian community and President of the Association of Private Colleges of Greece, with an Honourable Diploma from UWC for his support of the Association of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece “Ukrainian Greek Thought.” Kostyantyn Karkanyas has graciously provided premises for the Association’s Sunday school and various community events over the course of many years.
The UWC President and First Vice-president met with the leadership of the Association “Ukrainian Greek Thought” at the end of the day to sum up the results of the IV Forum of Ukrainian Diaspora, the meetings with Greek and Ukrainian officials. The organizations’ leaders also discussed ways to improve cooperation in the future.
While in Greece the UWC President visited various prominent historical sites, including the Meteora monasteries in Thessaly, the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum in Athens.