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UWC leadership meets with Ukraine’s political leaders

#UWC news
November 24,2023 1268
UWC leadership meets with Ukraine’s political leaders

Kyiv, November 24, 2023. The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) leadership is on an official visit to Ukraine to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor genocide and to introduce the newly elected UWC leadership to the highest levels of Ukraine’s political leaders. 

Key topics of the meetings included multiple citizenship, the development of strong Ukrainian communities, the preservation of the memory of the Holodomor genocide, cooperation between the Ukrainian authorities and the UWC in projects to assist Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, and the education of Ukrainian children outside of Ukraine.

The UWC Delegation included UWC President Paul Grod, Andriy Futey, UWC Vice President and the President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), Stefan Romaniw, First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress and Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), Mykola-Myroslav Petretskyi, UWC Vice President for Eastern Europe and the President of the Union of Ukrainians in Romania (UUR), Roman Mykytenko, UWC Vice President for Northern Europe, and Roman Grod, the President of the World Congress of Ukrainian Students, Andriy Shevchenko, Head of the UWC Mission to Ukraine and Serhiy Kasyanchuk, Director of the UWC Mission to Ukraine.

During the visit to Ukraine, the UWC leadership met with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk. The parties discussed progressive Ukrainian legislation on Ukrainians abroad, primarily in the area of multiple citizenship.

In response to the UWC’s concerns about equal opportunities for Ukrainians born in Ukraine and abroad, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada assured that efforts are underway to establish equality within the new law, emphasizing “no division into classes of citizenship in the new law.” 

The meeting also focused on defense and assistance to Ukraine, including the Unite With Ukraine project; rebuilding Ukraine and the UWC initiative #EnergizeUkraine; establishment of parliamentary friendship groups; and advocacy for the global recognition of the Holodomor as genocide by all parliaments of the world.

The UWC President thanked the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada for the effective and fruitful work of the Parliament of Ukraine during a full-scale war.

In turn, Ruslan Stefanchuk acknowledged the UWC’s endeavors in insisting on recognition of the Holodomor as genocide and commended its ongoing projects in this direction, as well as efforts to support Ukraine in the war against the Russian occupiers.

“I am grateful to the Ukrainian World Congress for supporting our country in the fight against Russian aggression. The enemy can be defeated through the united, coordinated actions of our international partners, allies and Ukrainians abroad,” wrote Ruslan Stefanchuk.

UWC President Paul Grod and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk

The UWC President also introduced the newly elected leadership of the organization during a meeting with Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine. The parties discussed joint efforts around key topics: providing Ukraine with weapons, financial support and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. They also touched upon the need for humanitarian demining.

We must call upon the world to stand in solidarity with Ukraine with a united and strong voice. I am grateful to the UWC for its participation and organization of numerous support actions. We need to make Russia pay for its aggression in the same coordinated manner. Sanctions and the confiscation of frozen assets are our key areas of focus. We continue to work in a coordinated and systematic manner to achieve victory!” emphasized Denys Shmyhal.

UWC leadership at the meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal

During the visit, the UWC delegation met with Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Ukrainian
Community, Mariana Betsa.

Dmytro Kuleba thanked the UWC leadership for their significant contribution to the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as their systematic and consistent support. “Thanks to our joint efforts, the parliaments of 28 countries have already recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people. We do not stop there and continue to work on expanding the geography of Holodomor recognition,” the Minister emphasized.

The UWC President introduced the newly elected UWC leadership and thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the steadfast support of the global Ukrainian community. The parties discussed the issues of multiple citizenship, the development of strong Ukrainian communities and the education of Ukrainian children outside of Ukraine.

Paul Grod spoke about Unite With Ukraine, the UWC initiative that ranks third among donor organizations assisting Ukraine, and Energize Ukraine, the initiative to rebuild Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. 

Stefan Romaniw, First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress, spoke about the global #ShineALight campaign and the UWC Holodomor Descendants Network projects aimed at preserving the memory of the Holodomor genocide.

UWC Vice President for Eastern Europe Mykola-Myroslav Petretskyi also highlighted the needs of Ukrainians in Moldova.

Paul Grod, the President of the UWC, Stefan Romaniw, First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress and Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), and Mykola-Myroslav Petretskyi, UWC Vice President for Eastern Europe and the President of the Union of Ukrainians in Romania (UUR)

“The best way to ensure the return of Ukrainians to Ukraine is through education,” emphasized Paul Grod during a meeting of the UWC delegation with the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Oksen Lisovyi.

During the meeting, the UWC President introduced diverse proposals from educational committees and global communities to strengthen educational endeavors abroad. Moreover, Paul Grod recommended the establishment of new educational networks.

Mykola-Myroslav Petretskyi, UWC Vice President for Eastern Europe, delved into strategies for aiding Ukrainian refugees in integrating into new societies while safeguarding their distinct identities. He illustrated a successful example of such integration through the case of Ukrainian schooling in Romania.

Paul Grod outlined several pivotal UWC projects, notably the ongoing Energize Ukraine project, already operational in a Chernihiv school. This initiative focuses on installing solar panels, batteries, generators, and other essential energy equipment.

With approximately half a million Ukrainian schoolchildren in Europe alone, it is imperative to take every possible step to ensure that each child maintains their language, culture, and Ukrainian identity, emphasized UWC leaders.

UWC leadership and Oksen Lisovyi, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine

The UWC delegation discussed cooperation in post-war reconstruction projects in Ukraine during a meeting with Mustafa Nayyem, Head of the Agency for the Restoration and Development of Infrastructure of Ukraine. In addition, Paul Grod, UWC President, presented the official with a unique award – a copy of the first Ukrainian currency (hryvnia) from the 11th century.

UWC President Paul Grod and Mustafa Nayyem, Head of the Agency for the Restoration and Development of Infrastructure of Ukraine

Coordination of advocacy efforts for Ukraine’s membership in the EU, backing Ukrainian education and international recognition of its credentials, as well as addressing Russian asset confiscation and countering Russian information influence – these issues were the focus of the UWC leadership delegation’s meeting with representatives of all factions of the Parliament of Ukraine.

The meeting also focused on one of the key topics of the UWC leadership’s visit to Ukraine – multiple citizenship.

In the issue of multiple citizenship, there should be “one class of citizenship,” noted Paul Grod. “Those born in Ukraine and abroad should have equal rights,” emphasized the UWC President.

UWC leadership and the representatives of all factions of the Parliament of Ukraine

One of the first places in the Ukrainian capital the UWC leaders visited was the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine also the wall of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. UWC leaders honored the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for a free and independent Ukraine.

UWC leadership, honoring the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for a free and independent Ukraine. Collage: UWC

During the first day of the visit to Ukraine, on November 23, the UWC leadership participated in a conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the genocide of Ukrainians. In addition, Stefan Romaniw, First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress and Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), participated in the International Academic Forum “Ukraine in the Holodomor Era: Power, Resistance, Identity”.

The UWC delegation will continue to work in Kyiv and join the commemorative events marking the Holodomor on Saturday, November 25.

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