UWC President E. Czolij Visits Serbia
December 2, 2010
UWC PRESIDENT E. CZOLIJ VISITS SERBIA
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Eugene Czolij visited Serbia from November 13 to 15, 2010 where he took part in celebrations marking the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in the lands of former Yugoslavia. He also joined local Ukrainians in marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture. During his visit the UWC President experienced local Ukrainian community and religious life firsthand and met with Serbian governmental representatives.
The UWC President’s visit to Serbia was organized by the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture headed by Miroslav Hočak, who is also the chair of UWC’s Conference of Ukrainian Youth Organizations.
The UWC President was accompanied on November 13 and 14 by UWC Vice President Jaroszlava Hartyányi, who is also the president of the European Congress of Ukrainians (ECU).
On November 13, the UWC President and Vice President participated in a gala event celebrating the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement on the lands of the former Yugoslavia and the 20th anniversary of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture. The event was held at the Sandor Petofi Hungarian Cultural Center in Novi Sad. Joining the Ukrainian community in the celebration were representatives of the Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Greek communities.
The luminaries included Greek Catholic clergy, namely Fr. Roman Miz and Fr. Vladislav Varga from Novi Sad and Fr. Nikola Stupjak from Croatia, the Deputy Head of the Provincial Government of Vojvodina and Provincial Secretary of the Secretariat of Interregional Cooperation Boris Barjaktarović, Deputy Head of the People’s Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina Branimir Mitrović, Ambassador of Ukraine to Serbia Viktor Nedopas, Vice President of ECU Slavko Burda, President of the Ukrainian National Council of Serbia Josip Sapun, Advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Romania Iaroslava Colotelo, Vice President of the Union of Ukrainians in Romania Gheorghe Hleba, Vice President of State Self-governance of Ukrainians in Hungary György Kravcsenko, President of the Union of National Minorities in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Stevan Havreljuk, President of the Coordination of the Ukrainian National Minority in the Republic of Croatia Viktor Filima and the President of the Ukrainian Community in the Republic of Croatia Ivan Semenjuk.
During his speech the UWC President congratulated the Ukrainian community on the occasion of both anniversaries. He spoke about the factors that contributed to the creation of the Ukrainian Diaspora in the lands of the former Yugoslavia. He also highlighted the successes of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture since it resumed activities in 1989. In his remarks Eugene Czolij spoke about the role of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Centre in preserving the Ukrainian faith and national identity. He mentioned Metropolitan Andrey Sheptyckyj’s contribution to establishing the Ukrainian church in Bosnia and his definition of the important role “Prosvita” should play in preserving and developing Ukrainian language and culture.
The full text of the UWC President’s speech is available in Ukrainian at:http://www.ukrainianworldcongress.org/news.php/news/435
During the gala Jaroszlava Hartyányi presented an ECU Honorary Diploma to the President of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture Miroslav Hočak for his contribution to preserving Ukrainian identity in Serbia and development of the Ukrainian youth movement in Europe.
On November 14 Eugene Czolij visited the “Kobzar” Ukrainian Cultural and Arts Association where he watched the association’s young members practise for their performance for the upcoming “Veselka” Ukrainian Children’s Festival. He also met with the Ukrainian school Director Nedeljko Djordjić who explained how Ukrainian language is taught through culture.
On November 14 the UWC President met with the Head of the Government of Vojvodina Bojan Pajtić and the Deputy Head of the Peoples’ Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina Branimir Mitrović. During the meeting Eugene Czolij provided an overview of UWC’s activities and spoke about the importance of encouraging minorities, including Ukrainians, to keep their national traditions alive in Serbia. He raised a number of issues that require the Serbian government’s attention, namely Serbia’s official recognition of the 1932-33 Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people, the installation of a Taras Shevchenko monument in Novi Sad, the need for government financial support for Ukrainian cultural associations in Vojvodina, the need to include a greater number of national minority representatives in government and establishing a sister-city relationship between Lviv and Novi Sad.
Next Eugene Czolij visited the premises of the Ukrainian National Council in Novi Sad where he met with its head Josip Sapun and members. They spoke about the council’s activities and the recently-adopted Law on National Councils of National Minorities in Serbia.
A meeting at the residence of the Apostolic Exarchate for Greek Catholics of Serbia and Montenegro was held between the UWC President, Bishop Jurij (Heorhiy) Džudžar and Fr. Roman Miz of the Novi Sad parish. They discussed the activities of UWC and the Greek Catholic Church in Serbia.
On November 14 Eugene Czolij and Jaroszlava Hartyányi visited the Ukrainian community in the city of Kula. They attended mass at St. Josaphat Greek Catholic Church and met with Fr. Vitalij Lotockij and local parishioners. Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC’s efforts in developing Ukrainian community life in the Diaspora and defending Ukraine’s independence. He called on those present to react to anti-Ukrainian actions and the violation of human and national rights of Ukrainians.
That day Eugene Czolij and Jaroszlava Hartyányi visited the Ivan Senjuk Cultural and Arts Association where they discussed the centre’s activities with its executive headed by Andrija Paripović. Next the UWC delegation visited the “Ridne Slovo” publishing house where they met Director Jaroslav Kombilj and Chief Editor Oksana Stećuk and learned about the “Ridne Slovo”newspaper and “Soloveyko” children’s magazine.
On November 14 the UWC President took part in celebrations marking the 5th anniversary of the “Kalyna” Culture and Arts Association in the city of Injia. The UWC President spoke about the important role of the arts in preserving Ukrainian heritage and wished the association members success in the future.
After the concert Eugene Czolij visited the Dormition of Mary Mother of God Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church where he discussed local Ukrainian community issues with Fr. Petro Dutka.
On November 15 the UWC President met in Belgrade with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights Ivan Bulatović. Eugene Czolij spoke about the violations of human rights and freedoms occurring in Ukraine and Russia and the importance of recognizing the 1932-33 Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian peopleby the international community, including Serbia. The sides also discussed the positive developments stemming from the Law on National Councils of National Minoritiesin Serbia that was adopted last year.
Reports by local media in Serbia on the UWC President’s visit can be found on the following websites:
Ukrainian World Congress
145 Evans Ave., #207
M8Z 5X8 Canada
Tel. (416) 323-3020
Fax (416) 323-3250