UWC President E. Czolij Visits Portugal
October 12, 2010
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) visited Portugal from September 23 to 27, 2010. The UWC President held a series of meetings with leaders and members of Ukrainian-Portuguese organizations and learned about the state of local community affairs. He spoke about UWC’s mandate and activities, including UWC’s reaction to current events in Ukraine that cause concern. Organization leaders also discussed ways of improving cooperation.
The UWC President’s visit to Portugal was organized by the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal headed by Pavlo Sadokha.
On the first day of his visit the UWC president met with the President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal Pavlo Sadokha who provided an overview of Ukrainian community life and the state of Diaspora affairs in Portugal.
On September 24 Eugene Czolij and his wife Anna were accompanied by Fr. Ioan Lubiv of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos on their trip to the town of Christian pilgrimage Fatima where they celebrated Divine Liturgy and visited several holy sites.
Next Eugene Czolij visited the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and met with Fr. Silvio Litvinchuk, who organized a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian community of Fatima and surrounding areas. The UWC President provided an overview of UWC activities, including work geared towards maintaining Ukrainian national identity, defending the rights of Ukrainian citizens, providing for their cultural and educational needs and the protection of Ukraine’s independence. A number of social issues pertaining to the development of Ukrainian community life were raised during the ensuing discussion.
Back in Lisbon later that day, Eugene Czolij and the Vice President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal Stepan Pazychyn were interviewed on the Ukrainian program “Nashe Radio”, a 60-minute daily broadcast. During the discussion with the radio hosts Halyna Bobyk and Victoria Shahsko the UWC President spoke primarily about the organization’s activities.
On September 25 the UWC President visited the Ukrainian Saturday School “Dyvosvit” run by the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal and attended by 180 young Ukrainians. After a general introduction to the school conducted by its Director Yuri Unhurian, Eugene Czolij taught an open lesson to students of the higher grades. He spoke about the UWC’s structure and focus of activities and called upon the young generation to do their part to preserve Ukrainian language and culture and participate in Ukrainian community activities.
The UWC President next took part in the Council meeting of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal attended by the association’s President Pavlo Sadokha, First Vice President Olha Harasymchuk, School Director Yuri Unhurian, Audit Committee Chair Tetyana Polikovska and the President of the association’s Lisbon Branch Mykhailo Nakonechny. The agenda addressed the association’s strategic plans and cooperation with UWC, the need for Ukrainian youth organizations in Portugal, the international campaign to secure recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people, defense of human rights, using printed publications and electronic mass media as efficient communication channels to Ukrainian communities, Ukrainian schools and organization of international sporting events for Ukrainians worldwide.
Eugene Czolij also met with representatives of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor”, the “Christian Movement of Ukrainians in Portugal” Association and the Ukrainian-Portuguese Business Club. They discussed successful practices and current challenges to organized community life, the need to preserves Christian and Ukrainian values and the need to provide practical organizational support to Ukrainian civic organizations. By way of example, the latter need could be served by working sessions during international Ukrainian conferences that would provide practical advice on dealing with organizational issues. This meeting was attended by: Oleh Hutsko, President, and Oksana Hutsko, Iryna Bodyk of the “Sobor” Association of Ukrainians in Portugal; Ivan Onyshchuk, President, and Ivan Sereda, Volodymyr Yavney of the “Christian Movement of Ukrainians in Portugal” Association and Maksym Bohun, President of the Ukrainian-Portuguese Business Club.
After Divine Liturgy on September 26, Eugene Czolij spoke briefly at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. He spoke about UWC activities and the disturbing developments occurring in Ukraine.
Later that day the UWC President delivered the keynote address during community commemorations of the 19th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. The observance was attended by Ukrainians from across Portugal, including Algarve, Abrantes, Caldas da Rainha, Santarem, Leiria and Viseu. After providing an overview of UWC’s activities, Eugene Czolij outlined UWC initiatives to ensure Ukraine remains independent. He appealed to Ukrainians of Portugal to contribute to issues of importance to Ukraine and Ukrainians throughout the world, to be vigilant and react to anti-Ukrainian actions and violations of human rights. The UWC President’s remarks sparked a lively discussion during the question and answer session. The commemorations ended with a gala concert featuring performances by local artists.
The UWC President met with the pastoral coordinator of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Ivan Gudz to discuss Ukrainian community life in Portugal and ways to strengthen cooperation between the Church and civic organizations.
On September 28 the website of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal http://www.spilka.pt/ was subject to a cyber attack that occurred soon after video footage of UWC President Eugene Czolij’s meeting with the Ukrainian community of Portugal was posted on the website. The website was hacked and destroyed in the early hours of September 29. A detailed report on the incident is available in Ukrainian:
The website was restored and running by October 11.