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Bohdan Kovaluk (1929 – 2021)

On Sunday, July 11, 2021, the Canada-Ukraine Foundation lost a friend, Bohdan Kovaluk, who for decades supported CUF in diverse ways.

Despite all of life’s challenges, Mr. Kovaluk was a great gentleman and highly regarded within the community. He was exceptionally committed to honouring his heritage and family.

Bohdan’s daughter, Melanie Kovaluk, shared his life story:


Bohdan passed away peacefully with his loving wife at his side on Sunday, July 11, at the age of 92 after suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last ten years.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years Maria Matwijas Hasiuk, daughters Melania Kovaluk, Tetiana Kovaluk and son Markian Kovaluk. Grandfather to Kalyna Lewycky, Zachary Lewycky, Luba Chabursky, Greg Chabursky, Eva Kovaluk, Alexia Kovaluk and great grandfather of Maxime Arcand and Emma Arcand. Uncle to nephews and nieces residing in the US, Sweden and Lviv, Ukraine.

Born in Kolomya, Ukraine, on January 22, 1929, the family moved to Lviv, Ukraine. His father, Mykola Kowaluk, ran a family publishing company called Vidavnitstvo Record.

After the war, Bohdan joined his five sisters and his mother in Berchtesgaden, Germany, where he became an active member of the Ukrainian scouting organization Plast. He completed his High School diploma and began his Engineering studies in Luvin, Belgium.

In 1953 Bohdan moved to Montreal where he completed his engineering degree at McGill University and continued working devotedly in the Plast Ukrainian community where he was a leader and example to all.”

Together with his sisters, Bohdan Kovaluk established the Melania Kovaluk Memorial Fund at the Canada-Ukraine Foundation in memory of their mother to provide scholarships to high school graduates from Melania Kovaluk’s home village of Zabolotivtsi to pursue studies at a higher level. Throughout the years, Mr. Kovaluk personally helped manage the Fund, communicated with the CUF and schools in Ukraine, greeted scholarship recipients and much more.

The family asks to donate to the Melania Kovaluk Memorial Fund at the Canada Ukraine Foundation in lieu of flowers. The Foundation thanks the Kovaluk family for continuing Mr. Kovaluk’s legacy.

He was a man of action and great respect, and we are grateful for the gift of his life!

Вічная Пам’ять!

To make donating more accessible, the CUF suggests making donations towards the Melania Kovaluk Memorial Fund in memory of Bohdan Kovaluk online by clicking here or by mailing cheques to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, 620 Spadina Ave., Suite 200 Toronto, Ontario M5S 2H4 Canada. Please indicate in the cheque memo that the donation is for the Melania Kovaluk Memorial Fund.

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CUF Summer Students 2021 and Executive Coordinator

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation welcomes the 2021 summer students through the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. This program is designed by the Government of Canada to provide flexible and holistic services to help all young Canadians develop their skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition into the labour market.

Orest Sklierenko, CUF President & CEO said: “On behalf of the Executive Committee and the entire Board of Directors of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, I am grateful to the Canadian government for funding three employees over this summer to help us move our programs forward and achieve our strategic objectives. We are looking forward to working with Solomiya, Paul and Maksym in providing them with an enriching learning experience and marketable skills for their future.”

Meet our summer students:

Solomiya Sharun is a Masters’ student in Development Studies at York University. Solomiya has a strong ability to analyse issues from a variety of perspectives and understands social issues. She has worked at the Canada Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS). Inspired by CUTIS’ gender strategies aimed towards women’s inclusiveness in trade and the prevalence of traditional gender business stereotypes in Ukraine, her research focus intends to investigate women’s underrepresentation in Ukraine’s agricultural sector. Solomiya previously interned with CUF on a volunteer basis and is excited to be working with CUF again as our Marketing Coordinator.

Paul Kuzyshyn is an active member of the Ukrainian community in Ottawa and Montreal. He holds a Bachelors’ degree of Social Sciences in International Development & Globalization from the University of Ottawa. Paul worked for a number of years at BCU Financial in Ottawa, where he was engaged with the Ukrainian community on a daily basis. He is also a member of the Ottawa Ukrainian Student Club where he helped organize social events and fundraisers. Paul is joining our team as an Administrative Assistant – Fundraising/Grant preparation.  

Maksym Woychyshyn is an honours high school graduate looking forward to starting at the University of Toronto in September of this year. His passion is centered around Robotics so he will be studying computer science, statistics and mathematics in university. He is active in the Ukrainian community, volunteering his time helping seniors at Ivan Franko Homes with various tasks including setting up streaming services. Maksym will also be working as an Administrative Assistant concentrating on Archive and Data management.


The Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) is excited to welcome our newest team member: Julia Stech!

Julia has joined us as our Executive Coordinator and will be reporting to our President/CEO Orest Sklierenko and COO Oksana Kuzyshyn. Julia will also be responsive to our Board and Committee chairs, assisting them with their programming requirements.

Julia’s primary focus will be developing, launching and executing CUF’s capacity building fundraising campaign and optimizing communications with major donors, partner organizations and other stakeholders. Over this summer she will also assist in supervising our three Canada Summer Jobs employees, making sure that they are engaged and provided with interesting and useful tasks beneficial to their skills development.

Julia comes to us from the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute Foundation (Executive Administrator) and has working experience from the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation (Administrator) and the Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre (Marketing Specialist). Prior to that she was the Project Manager – fundraising at the Ukrainian Catholic University, development department. Julia earned her Master’s degree in journalism from the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University, her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv as well as holds a certificate in conflict management and a diploma in marketing.

Julia is a member of the Board of Directors at Svitlychka, Ukrainian Cooperative Nursery School of Toronto and a member of Plast – Ukraine’s national scouting movement.

We are excited to see her apply her extensive fundraising, marketing and management experience and first-rate education to help us grow our Foundation and achieve our Strategic goals.

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Presidential Remarks

Adapted from President’s remarks at the Annual General Meeting of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation held Saturday, June 5, 2021

Dear friends and supporters of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

One year into my term and 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be natural to look back and reflect on what has been accomplished over the past year. While it is important to do that in order to track and measure how our internal work and external partnerships and programming are progressing towards achieving our long-term strategic goals, we do that on a regular basis at Executive Committee and Board meetings. So today, here at the AGM I would prefer to look forward.

Thank you

But before we look forward, I’d like to say Thank You! Thank you to:

• All the friends, supporters, and donors without whom CUF would not be able to deliver the programs and projects it has been involved in over more than 25 years.

• CUF’s member organizations for your collaboration, cooperation and support. The League of Ukrainian Canadians, Help us Help, UNF, Ukrainian Self-Reliance League, Plast, the Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics and the Council of Ukrainian Credit Unions.

• Dzherelo for their partnership and continued great work, and to all our other partner fund holders, whether it be the continued work of the Liubov project, the Kovaluk scholarships, the LNAU Jaroslav Zajshlyj scholarships, the donors from the Cosbild group and our most recent partners, the Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine.

• Our partners at UCC, its national leadership and its provincial affiliates, as well as the Ukrainian World Congress and its member organizations

• CUF Board member and the external committee members: each and every one of you is aligned behind CUF’s mission and vision and I Thank You for your time and commitment.

• Lesya, who has continued to work tirelessly with Brad and the Finance/Audit committee to keep the books in check and our finances in order

• Ambassador Derek Fraser for your years of service to our country and to CUF. Ambassador Fraser stepped down from the Board of CUF earlier this year.
Дякуємо!

Welcome

On that note, I’d also like to make a few Welcomes!

• Ambassador Roman Waschuk joined the CUF board earlier this year and already brought his calm and thoughtful approach to several discussions on a range of topics

• I’d also like to introduce Julia Stech, our Executive Coordinator. Welcome Julia! We look forward to the energy and skillset you bring to our organization. One of Julia’s first tasks will be overseeing CUF’s summer students, whom we also welcome at this time!
Вітаємо!

Looking forward

As we add new board members and begin to build out the CUF office, let’s look forward as we continue to write the second 25 year chapter in CUF’s story together.
Key internal areas of focus from the strategic plan are:

1.) Fundraising (for capacity building)
2.) Promoting the CUF brand to all stakeholders
3.) Optimizing the CUF organizational chart
4.) Establish a paid support staff
5.) Expand presence on the ground in Ukraine

Internally, we have made progress in bringing technology to our meetings and operations, in financial reporting and oversight and we are hiring our first staff member. All these advances will help create a solid foundation for addressing CUF’s strategic priorities.

Welcoming Julia is just the beginning of the build-out of the CUF office. As she onboards with the leadership of Oksana and others on our board and executive, Julia will bring her fundraising and communications skillsets and help progress the work on a couple of immediate needs – capacity building and communications.

External

Key external areas of focus from the 2020 strategic plan are:

1.) Developing smart partnerships – with key organizations inside and outside our community, inside and outside government;
2.) Developing smart processes – to assess impact and sustainability of future projects and measure projects underway;
3.) Shift the geographic focus to ensure Eastern Ukraine is included in the scope of work.
I’m pleased to see progress from all our committees has continued through the pandemic. The external committee chairs will update the AGM and our external stakeholders in separate presentations/communications.

CUF President Advisory Councils

Finally, I’d like to announce that we are forming President’s Advisory Councils in the areas of Healthcare, Education, Civil Society and Youth. The members of councils will be experts in their respective fields and serve as advisors to the CUF President and members of our board who are working on the relevant committee.

Stay tuned to our social media channels and website for more updates in all the above areas in the coming weeks, months and years.

Thank You once again for your support and dedication – together, we will continue the culture of excellence and take CUF to the next level.

Orest Sklierenko
President & CEO
Canada-Ukraine Foundation

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UKRAINIAN CANADIAN COMMUNITY LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE

Posted on May 20th, in Covid19, UCC Communiques & News, News, Featured. May 20, 2020. The COVID-19 Children’s Relief Initiative was launched today as…

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CUF’S MARATHON IN HELPING UKRAINE CONTINUES

By New Pathway -Dec 24, 2019 Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News. The Berlin wall came down 30 years ago but psychologically it still…

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Brief update on main achievements of HelpAge Canada and HelpAge Ukraine project (UKR041)

Posted on August 10th, in  News

From May 2020 to July 2020 HelpAge International in Ukraine implemented the project aimed to reducing the risks of coronavirus infection among older women and men living along the contact line (0- 5) in government-controlled areas (GCA) in Donetsk and Luhansk regions with financial support from HelpAge Canada.

The project covered 20 settlements in the Donbass area, Governmental-controlled area (GCA).

Donetsk region – settlements: Marinka, Krasnogorivka, Taramchuk, Stepne, Novomykhailivka, Novobakhmutivka, Zalizne, Opytne, Vodiane, Pervomaiske.

Lugansk region – settlements: Novotoshkivske, Nyzhnie, Orikhove, Troitske, Komyshuvakha, Zolote, Stanitsa Luhanska, Makarove, Petropavlivka, Valuiske.

 For implement the project HAI recruited one project officer (PO) in each region, one project assistant (PA) and 10 community volunteers (CVs). All these people were employees of HAI in a previous project funded by ECHO, so they are aware of the policies of HAI, humanitarian principles and rules of personal safety and protection of the older people. Before the start of the project implementation the POs conducted a short update training on the rules of working in a pandemic, the using of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and understanding the project’s objectives for volunteers and PAs. Also, when choosing volunteers for the project, we took into account the factor that each of the 20 settlements should be covered by one of our volunteers in order to ensure better access to the beneficiaries and the delivery of non-food items (NFI). The major focus was on provision of COVID-19 adapted hygiene kits, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 prevention through information sharing and guidance on steps needed if one has symptoms and also provide remote psychosocial support via regular check-in mobile phone calls and a HelpAge ‘telephone hotline’ provide accurate and update information on COVID-19.

Additionally, volunteers provided the First Psychological Aid during the visit and provided information about the available services for the older people in specific localities. Since the project is aimed at quick response, it was decided to focus on the beneficiaries of the previous project “ACCESSIII” funded by ECHO. This decision made it possible to save time on additional needs assessment as it relied on its own database of older people. Considering that the ECHO project ended in April and we distributed only sanitizers at that time we have had evidence on high need of hygiene products. Also, according to WHO recommendations, adherence to personal hygiene rules and social distancing are the main factors in curbing the spread of coronavirus infection.

Key achievements

HAI project assistants with the support of volunteers conducted previous database verification. HAI Finance/Log Department selected suppliers in accordance with the HAI procurement procedures and policies. 1000 hygiene kits were purchased (around 16 tons). 1000 stickers with HelpAge Canada and HelpAge International logos were printed for ensure visibility. When forming the set, HAI also guided by the recommendations of the WASH Cluster developed as part of the response to COVID-19. The quantitative composition of the kit is designed for use within three months. Please see Annex 1 for hygiene kits composition. Since the start of the pandemic, we have experienced significant price fluctuations. But since the purchasing power of the population fell, suppliers began to reduce prices for wholesale buyers. Consequently, HAI was able to procure a hygienic kit for three months at the cost of the kit budgeted for one month. Considering that all beneficiaries have chronic diseases and serious health problems, the assistance provided will help significantly reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus infection, improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries and help them adhere to the self-isolation regime.

As at the end of July 2020 the distribution process is coming to an end. A total of 917 sets were distributed. The remaining 51 packs will be delivery to the older people during last week of July 2020. HAI also continued collecting photos and video stories. Unfortunately, during the implementation of the project 32 beneficiaries died, so the hygienic kits will be kept in HAI warehouse and will be delivered to the new beneficiaries as soon as they will be identified in August 2020.

HAI continues providing advocacy through Age and Disability Technical Working Group (ADTWG) on amplifying older people’s voices for ensuring that they are involved in decision-making and that their dignity and autonomy are respected in pandemic. HelpAge chairs the Technical Working group on Age and Disability (ADTWG) formed under the UNOCHA Protection Cluster. The ADTWG aims to strengthen the coordination and capacity of the humanitarian actors to develop and implement age and disability-friendly humanitarian response.

Key numbers

Summary information on beneficiaries included in the 041 project as of 24.07.2020

Photos from the distribution

ANNEX 1

Hygiene Kits composition.

# Description Remarks
1 Toothbrush 2 pcs
2 Toothpaste 300 ml
3 Soap bars 13 x 75 g soap \(900 g total)
4 Shampoo (hypoallergenic if possible) 750 ml
5 Washing powder for clothes, universal and hypoallergenic 4.5 kg
6 Liquid Bleach 6 of 1-liter containers
7 Dishwashing gel / Washing-up liquid 1,5 liters
8 Toilet Paper 6 rolls
9 Garbage bags (35 Litres) 2 rolls of 30 pcs
10 Rubber gloves for cleaning 3 pairs
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Ukrainian Canadian community launches new initiative to support children in Ukraine

Posted on May 20th, in Covid19UCC Communiques & NewsNewsFeatured

May 20, 2020. The COVID-19 Children’s Relief Initiative was launched today as an online appeal to provide support to children in Ukraine in need of basic supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 100,000 children in Ukraine were living in government-run residential institutions or rehabilitation centres prior to the quarantine announced on March 11, 2020. In an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus approximately 50,000 children were sent home to their biological families, many of whom are unable to provide or care for them.

“These families are in dire need right now because tens of thousands of children were sent back from government-run institutions to family residences for isolation purposes,” said Mykola Kuleba, the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine.

“Currently thousands of families are unable to provide basic food and hygiene supplies to their children,” said Mr. Kuleba. “With your support, these vulnerable children can remain where they belong, at home, with their families.  Information gathered during this time will guide the creation of a long-term strategy”.

Donations are now being accepted to support the purchase of food packages and hygiene kits for these children and their families in Ukraine. These materials will be distributed by social workers as they visit the families to assess the health and well-being of the children.

This initiative is being led by Help Us Help and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. It is supported by Meest Corporation and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, in partnership with the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine.

Donations to purchase these kits can be made to either Help Us Help or Canada-Ukraine Foundation and are eligible for tax receipts.  The project website can be found at www.covid19childrensrelief.ca.

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation was established to coordinate, develop, organize, and deliver assistance projects generated by Canadians and directed to Ukraine.  Help Us Help is a member of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and since 1993, has distributed over $25 million in charitable aid to projects and organizations engaged in education, literacy, arts and culture, social work, civil society, and humanitarian aid.

All food packages and hygiene kits are curated by Meest in partnership with Ukrainian retailers and distributed throughout Ukraine by Meest Express directly to social workers. Packages and kits can also be purchased directly through Meest’s eCommerce website giftsforukraine.com. Giftsforukraine.com is a new online service, powered by Meest, that allows users to purchase goods and gifts online for their relatives and friends back home in Ukraine. Meest Corporation Inc. was founded in Toronto in 1989 with the main goal of uniting the Ukrainian diaspora abroad, in Canada, with the homeland, in Ukraine. True to its goal of strengthening ties between Ukraine and the Diaspora in Canada, Meest has long been a sponsor of humanitarian aid shipments from Canada to Ukraine and has a long-standing partnership with Help Us Help and Canada-Ukraine Foundation in delivering aid all across Ukraine.

BACKGROUND

Ukraine has among the highest numbers of institutionalized children in Europe. The majority of these children have families that are unable to provide or care for them. 

Just under 100,000 children were living in residential institutions or rehabilitation centres prior to the quarantine announced on March 11, 2020. In an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus approximately 50,000 children were sent home to their biological families.  There is great concern that, due to a lack of support from social services in place, these children and families will endure additional hardships during the pandemic.   

Mr. Kuleba has long been an advocate for Ukraine to take steps in transitioning from a society that puts parentless or neglected children in institutions, to one with an extensive Social-Care network that allows children to safely remain in their homes or to enter into foster care.

The pandemic has brought about an opportunity for Ukraine to begin this transition by better understanding the needs of the families of children that have been sent home. 

About Deinstitutionalization (DI) Reforms

In 2017, the Ukrainian government adopted the National Deinstitutionalization (DI) Reform Strategy and Action Plan, which involves supporting families and creating favourable conditions for the upbringing of children. While a pilot DI reform project was launched in the Zhytomyr region that same year, the full dismantling of the orphanage system is planned for 2026. 

For more information:

Krystina Waler, Interim Executive Director Help Us Help

Tel: 1-416-627-9941 Email: krystina@helpushelp.charity

Website: www.covid19childrensrelief.ca

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CUF’s marathon in helping Ukraine continues

By New Pathway -Dec 24, 2019

Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

The Berlin wall came down 30 years ago but psychologically it still shapes the economic and political lives of the people in Eastern Germany. Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s President Victor Hetmanczuk provided this example of how long societal change can take under the best of circumstances, at the UCC’s XXVI Congress in Ottawa in November.

The war in Ukraine has gone for six years and we do not know how long this war will continue, Victor Hetmanczuk said. When the war does end, how long is it going to take us to come up with a meaningful plan to help the people in Luhansk and Donetsk oblast? Are Ukrainians willing to pay a 5.5% solidarity tax that the Germans still pay to subsidize the construction of an equal society in Eastern Germany? Will the Ukrainian diaspora agree to pay a 5.5% tax to help rebuild the Donbas? Who is going to invest an amount comparable to $3 trillion that has been invested into Eastern Germany since late 1980s?

All these questions, which Victor Hetmanczuk posed in his speech at the Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine workshop during the Congress, demonstrate the magnitude of the problems facing Ukraine. These problems won’t be solved with band-aids, it’s going to be a marathon, he said.

This marathon for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation started in 1995 when CUF was established as a National Charitable Public Foundation. Between 2014-2018, CUF conducted 114 projects in Canada and Ukraine. Over these five years, CUF collected more than CAD 9.6 million ($4.9 million were provided by federal and provincial governments). This kind of financing puts CUF among the biggest charitable donors of Ukraine-related projects globally.

Medical supplies provided by CUF

The Foundation is also active in Canada. In 2018, it was successful in obtaining new grants for the Holodomor Bus: $1.5 million from the Federal Government and $750,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Since the start of the Bus Tour in 2015, around 53 thousand people visited the Bus.

The Canadian Holodomor Bus project has had its repercussions even for Ukraine. During the Toronto Reform Conference in July 2019, President Zelenskyy and his wife visited the Bus at the Holodomor Monument in the CNE grounds. It made an impact on them to the point of further meetings were held in Kyiv recently that could lead to a draft Memorandum of Understanding about CUF’s participation in the building and programming of a similar bus for Ukraine.

The Holodomor Tour Bus in Ottawa

CUF has as its charitable objectives relief of poverty, advancement of education, health care and religion, assisting in observation of elections and other purposes beneficial to the community.

In Ukraine, CUF’s medical mission has consisted of the following: surgical missions, upgrading of medical skills, assistance for the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre, dental program for orphans and PTSD support for veterans.

Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre

CUF’s Ukrainian medical missions have just seen a significant extension. The Foundation has signed a three-year agreement with the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre to participate in the Sunnybrook Ukraine Surgery Education Partnership located in Lviv. Within the partnership, there will be master classes for surgeons, a symposium and an observership in Toronto. In October 2019, on the first mission, 26 patients had operations done in three operation rooms simultaneously, while 138 doctors attended the one-day symposium.

Within CUF’s Ukrainian dental program, 427 orphaned children were examined and received 448 dental appointments where they had 720 dental fillings and numerous other treatments. 47 professionals and volunteers from Ukraine were involved in this program.

CUF’s Ukrainian dental program

The Defenders of Ukraine projects in 2018 were funded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National from the proceeds of the Invictus Games event in Toronto in 2018. These projects included Ukrainian Social Academy for “Boots to Business” entrepreneurship training program for veterans and funding for the Donbas ATO Veterans Union and Centre Poruch for psychological support of veterans and their families. The Defenders of Ukraine projects also funded the Veterans House for ATO veterans providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation programs. Pobratymy and Dopomoha Ukraini organizations funded the training in overcoming combat shock trauma and preventing PTSD for veterans.

CUF expects that its revenue in 2019 will amount to $2.3M. These funds will help the Foundation remain the focal point of the Ukrainian Canadian community’s assistance to Ukraine. One of the UCC Congress’ resolutions reads that the UCC will continue to support and augment Canadian humanitarian assistance to Ukraine through the existing mandate of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. CUF will collaborate with UCC to coordinate, promote, help prioritize and maximize the effectiveness of aid to Ukraine. UCC’s provincial councils are encouraged to communicate to their membership CUF’s mission and objectives. Member organizations of UCC are also encouraged to access the CUF advisory groups for information, guidance and assistance.

The Foundation’s marathon in helping Ukraine overcome its hardships is continuing.

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Shevchenko Award

At the XXVI Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, Alexandra Chyczij, the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented the Shevchenko Medal award to Victor Hetmanczuk, the president, and Roman Petryshyn, a founder of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

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SHEVCHENKO AWARD

At the XXVI Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, Alexandra Chyczij, the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented the…