UWC President Eugene Czolij concludes working visit to Australia
On 1-13 August 2017, on the invitation of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij together with his spouse Anna fulfilled his first visit to Australia, during which he visited Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Hobart to present current Ukrainian issues to Australian governing authorities and strengthen ties with the local Ukrainian Churches and community.
During the meetings with Australian high-ranking government officials that took place on 7 and 9 August 2017 in Canberra, and 1 and 10 August 2017 in Melbourne, the UWC President thanked Australia for supporting Ukraine in countering Russian aggression, which is a global threat, and urged Australia to provide further support to Ukraine in protecting its territorial integrity. Eugene Czolij drew attention to the positive developments in Ukraine, which is actively reforming, modernizing and combatting corruption, and offers great opportunities for economic development. The UWC President encouraged the Prime Minister of Australia to visit Ukraine,and underlined the importance of an active Australia-Ukraine Parliamentary Group and its Chair visiting Ukraine. During these meetings the UWC President was accompanied by UWC Secretary-General and Chairman of AFUO Stefan Romaniw. The Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia Mykola Kulinich also took part in the meetings in Canberra.
UWC President Eugene Czolijvisited 7 cities in Australia where he had the following program:
1 August 2017, Melbourne
- had a meeting with the President of the Legislative Council of Victoria Bruce Atkinson and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria Brooks Colin; and
- had a meeting with members of the AFUO Board and community leaders in Melbourne organized by UWC Secretary-General and AFUO Chairman Stefan Romaniw.
2-3August 2017, Perth
- addressed the Ukrainian community of Perth during a meeting organized by the Ukrainian Association of Western Australia, headed by its President Mykola Mowczan;
- visited St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, where he discussed local Ukrainian religious life with the parish priest, Father Ihor Holovko; and
- visited St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
4 August 2017, Adelaide
- had a guided tour of the Museum of Ukrainian Art of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of South Australia, provided by its President Irena Boujenko;
- visited the Ukrainian Community Centre of the Association of Ukrainians in South Australia, including the Ukrainian school and a class of the Yevshan children’s dance ensemble; and
- addressed the Ukrainian community of Adelaide during a meeting organized by the Association of Ukrainians in South Australia, headed by its President Jaroslaw Fursenko. The program included a screening of the short documentary film “50 years of the Ukrainian World Congress” and performances by local Ukrainian artists.
5-6 August 2017, Sydney
- visited Kniahynia Olha Ukrainian Central School, where he spoke with the students;
- visited the Ukrainian Community Hall of the Ukrainian Association of Sydney;
- visited the parish Ukrainian school at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, where he spoke with the students;
- met with the parish priest of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, Fr. Simon Ckuj, who is also the Vicar General of the Eparchy of Sts. Peter and Paul of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia;
- visited the Intercession of the Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where he met with the Chairman of the Parish Council Wolodymyr Woytowycz;
- attended Divine Liturgy at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Catholic Church;
- addressed the Ukrainian Youth Association in Sydney at the Ukrainian Youth Centre; and
- delivered a keynote address during a banquet dedicated to the UWC’s 50th anniversary organized by the Ukrainian Council of New South Wales, headed by its President Mark Shumsky.
7 August 2017, Canberra
- had a meeting with the Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia Mykola Kulinich;
- had meetings with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of AustraliaTony Smith;and Senator, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs of Australia(on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia)Zed Seselja;
- paid respect to the victims of the Holodomor at the Memorial in their memory;
- visited St. Nicholas UkrainianAutocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Centre, where he met with its Director Fr. Michael Solomko, who is also the Head of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand; and
- met with Fr. Wolodymyr Kalinecki of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church.
8 August 2017, Brisbane
- met with Fr. Stefan Sapun of Our Lady the Protectress Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church;
- met with Fr. Mykola Serdiuk of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church; and
- addressed the Ukrainian community in Brisbane during a meeting organized by the Ukrainian Community of Queensland, headed by its President Stephan Chomyn.
9 August 2017, Canberra
- had meetings with Member of Parliament, Chair of the Australia-Ukraine Parliamentary Groupand Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid SubcommitteeChris Crewther; Senator, Vice Chair of the Australia-Ukraine Parliamentary GroupCatryna Bilyk; Chief of Staff, Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of AustraliaMurray Hansen; and Assistant Secretary for Northern, Southern & Eastern Europe Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Tradeof AustraliaKevin Magee; and
- delivered a public lecture at the Centre for European Studies of the Australian National University on the topic “EU attitudes towards former Warsaw Pact states and former Soviet republics”.
10 August 2017, Melbourne
- had a meeting with the Minister for Multicultural Affairsof Victoria Robin Scott; and
- spoke at the roundtable entitled “The UWC at 50 and beyond: the Australian context” at the Mykola Zerov Centre for Ukrainian Studies at Monash University.
11 August 2017, Hobart
- addressed the Ukrainian community in Hobart during a meeting organized by the Association of Ukrainians in Tasmania, headed by its President Maryna Ladaniwskyj.
12-13 August 2017, Melbourne
- visited the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Ukrainian parish school, where he spoke with the students;
- met with the Eparch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and member of the UWC Board of Directors Bishop Peter Stasiuk;
- delivered a keynote address on the priorities of the UWC and its main future objectives during a gala commemorative banquet dedicated to the UWC’s 50th anniversary and the 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence organized by the AFUO and the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria;
- attended Divine Liturgy at Sts. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral; and
- visited St. Mary Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Cathedral in Essendon and paid respect to the victims of the Holodomor at the Memorial in their memory located on the territory of the Cathedral.
UWC Secretary-General and Chairman of AFUO Stefan Romaniw accompanied UWC President Eugene Czolij during his visits to Canberra and Melbourne.
“On behalf of the Ukrainian World Congress I express my gratitude to the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations headed by its Chairman Stefan Romaniw for organizing the visit to Australia, which enabled the presentation of important Ukrainian issues to high-ranking government officials and strengthened UWC ties with local Ukrainian communities” – stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.
S. Romaniw and (first from right) welcomes E. Czolij and his wife A. Czolij (at left) at the banquet in Melbourne. L. Slipetsky in the middle