WASHINGTON – The year 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), the Washington public-affairs bureau of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). This year, UNIS has already sponsored two Ukrainian Day advocacy events – the first in March, following the commencement of a new Congress and the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and the most recent in mid-June, when dozens of participants came to Washington to meet with government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in formulating and monitoring U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
The goal of these advocacy events is to interact with members of Congress to discuss the community’s concerns regarding continued Russia sanctions and desperately needed economic and military assistance to Ukraine.
In the autumn, UNIS will once again sponsor a Ukrainian Day on Wednesday, October 11. This endeavor is especially critical considering Russia’s ongoing illegal occupation of Crimea and the war being waged in eastern Ukraine against the foreign-borne Russian-supplied terrorists. The goal of this advocacy event is to encourage members of Congress to enhance support for military assistance to Ukraine to fend off Russian aggression and preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.
The highlight of the Ukrainian Day program will be a gala congressional reception in the prestigious Senate Caucus Room – Senate Russell Building Room 325 – commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian National Information Service. Founded by the UCCA during the height of the Cold War in 1977, UNIS has been instrumental in advocating the community’s concerns for four decades. Its unwavering commitment to bringing about independence for Ukraine and, since 1991, enhancing the bilateral relations between Ukraine and the United States, has earned it much respect within Washington.
A few of UNIS’s milestones in the past 40 years include:
• annually observing Ukraine’s Independence (January 22nd/August 24th);
• serving as a reliable source of information for correspondents nationwide;
• petitioning in defense of Ukrainian political prisoners and dissidents;
• actively opposing religious persecution in Ukraine;
• annually marking National Captive Nations Week;
• testifying before the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service regarding matters of mail tampering in the former Soviet Union;
• interacting with United States Information Agency (USIA) to broadcast and publish its materials for distribution in Ukraine in the Ukrainian language;
• demonstrating in defense of human rights, religious freedom and U.S. support for Ukraine;
• commemorating the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933, which included resolutions in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, an informational campaign at USIA; as well as media and public relations coverage concerning the Famine; creation of the Ukraine Famine Commission in the U.S. Congress, with testimony from various Ukrainian Famine survivors;
• organizing thousands to rally for recognition of Ukraine’s independence in 1991;
• annually supporting increased foreign assistance to Ukraine; submitting testimony to the House and Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committees;
• campaigning for state visits by Ukrainian presidents to Washington;
• establishing the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) to advance U.S. security interests in Central and East Europe;
• organizing working visits of Ukrainian government officials and NGO leaders to meet with their U.S. counterparts and the community;
• initiating the formation of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus in 1997 through the auspices of Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and former Rep. Jon Fox (R-Pa.);
• sponsoring numerous Ukrainian Days advocacy events;
• advancing the building of a Holodomor Memorial in Washington to raise awareness of Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine; and,
• actively encouraging U.S. support of civil society in Ukraine during times of unrest, promoting reform efforts in that country, and petitioning for economic and military assistance.
UNIS’s October 11 advocacy program is also supported by the Central and East European Coalition. As a founding member of the CEEC, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America works in tandem with the coalition to advance U.S. foreign policy issues in the Central and East European region. The CEEC will hold a congressional briefing session on Wednesday, September 27, on the future of NATO and its open-door policy. Additional details are pending.
Further information will be forthcoming on the UNIS Facebook page and the UCCA website at www.ucca.org.