Browsing: News and Views

The room was buzzing with excited voices. I was surrounded by proud parents, eager teenagers and experienced professionals who had gathered in Kyiv to celebrate another summer of successful internships for Ukraine Global Scholars (www.ukraineglobalscholars.org).
Ukraine Global Scholars (UGS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Cambridge, Mass., that helps talented Ukrainian students from low-income backgrounds get full scholarships to attend educational institutions in the United States. However, the program goes well beyond support during the application process. It is a vibrant community – more like family – that encourages me to explore my passions and contribute to the development of the broader communities in Ukraine. Every summer UGS alumni return from MIT, Phillips Academy Andover, The Lawrenceville School, Haverford College, and many other notable educational institutions to Ukraine in order to apply the skills and knowledge gained during the academic year.

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Prominent Ukrainian news media have reacted sharply to the recent fake news issued to the media by members of the President’s Office and the subsequent comments from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Andriy Bohdan. The disinformation concerned Mr. Bohdan and his purported resignation from his highly controversial post as head of Mr. Zelenskyy’s administration.
Mr. Bohdan twice held high posts in the administration of Viktor Yanukovych and is therefore prohibited from holding such a post by the Law on Lustration. President Zelenskyy has tried to get around this by changing the name of his administration. By calling it the Office of the President, which is nowhere mentioned in the lustration law, the claim is that the ban on Mr. Bohdan does not apply.

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At the Plast camp Novyi Sokil, located just outside of Buffalo, N.Y., the mood is bittersweet.
On one hand, the campgrounds are stirring with new life. Against the backdrop of a late-to-arrive spring, the sound of power tools could be heard. Workers were putting the final touches on new barracks that would be used to house “novatstvo” (cub scouts) during the annual summer camps. There was a quiet sense of urgency in the air, as the first occupants of the new building – attendees of the counselor training camp – would arrive in mere days.

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The Revolution of Dignity was the driving force for many public organizations and volunteer initiatives to take action, and this is the reason that nowadays many spheres of life in Ukraine are supported by Ukrainians who care deeply about their country. 

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Ten years of charitable work at St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Newark have taught us many things, but most of all they have taught us to develop a close relationship with the volunteers that we work with, be they here in the United States or overseas. Close interaction gives rise to understanding and deep respect. I coordinate the St. John’s volunteer projects and periodically travel to Ukraine to visit those who help put into motion the dreams that we have for helping the less fortunate in Ukraine.

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Severodonetsk is a city in eastern Ukraine of a population of approximately 100,000 that was captured in May 2014 by Russian militants. In July 2014, Ukrainian forces regained control of the city.
In October 2018, I had an opportunity to travel throughout Ukraine with a stop in Severodonetsk in my role as social welfare chair of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA). The UNWLA has a long-time history of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

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It is now May 2019. That means we’ve had five years of the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, undeclared by Russia and hybrid by nature. The war has already led to the deaths of 13,000 Ukrainians, and it continues to claim Ukrainian military and civilian lives almost every day, undermining the international security order, the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and economic and political stability of Ukraine, while using the occupied territories of the Donbas as testing grounds for new Russian military systems and platforms.

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It’s the middle of the night here in Paskivka, a tiny village in Poltava region where the number of goats exceeds the actual human population, but I am far from falling asleep. I am trying to come up with a reasonable answer to the “Why are you applying to our school” question to simultaneously show my commitment and still seem cool about it. It seems impossible to explain in under 100 words why I have been dreaming about the acceptance letter for the past two years. My desk is covered with SAT study guides, essay drafts labeled “trash” and cheesy inspirational quotes that supposedly should motivate me to tackle the deadlines. My friends believe I joined some kind of a cult, my parents think I’m going crazy, and unfed goats have just declared the silent treatment. 

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During the first round of the presidential election on March 31, Ukrainians were impressed by photos from election points around the world. Hundreds of Ukrainians were photographed queuing up to exercise their right to vote and select the country’s next president.

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According to its value statement, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) is guided by principles of Christian ethics, religious tolerance, political non-partisanship and universal respect for human rights. It is in keeping with these very values that the UNWLA announces its newest program: UNWLA Supports the Spiritual Rebirth of Ukraine. As part of this program, the UNWLA will be providing financial support to two educational institutions: the Three Saints Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Volyn Theological Academy. 

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The German government has submitted a revamped proposal for Russia to “ensure” unimpeded shipping through the Kerch Strait and Azov Sea, where Russia’s de facto control is usurping Ukraine’s rights. Berlin’s offer centers on international monitoring of the safety of navigation there (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, January 21, 2019).

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Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, commander of Ukraine’s Navy and coastal defenses, came to Washington two weeks ago to round up support for Ukraine’s naval hardware needs and to explain Ukraine’s side of the Kerch crisis. The Kerch crisis has placed Ukraine in a difficult quandary: it does not have the naval forces to directly challenge Russia’s control of the Kerch Strait, and it will take decades for Ukraine to bolster its naval capabilities, according to the strategy that Admiral Voronchenko laid out in a recent document titled “Strategy for Naval Military Forces and the Armed Forces of Ukraine – 2035.” 

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