On Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA-IL) held their annual meeting and election at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village. The meeting was presided over by Dr. Julian Kulas, founding President of UCCA-IL.
Organizational greetings were presented by representatives of Ukrainian Youth Association – CYM branches, Organization for Defense of the Four Freedoms for Ukraine, the Woman’s Association for Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine branches, Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union, and UZIR television.
Current President Pavlo T. Bandriwsky presented an overview of UCCA-IL’s 2008-2009 activities and programs. UCCA-IL took an active role in coordinating and planning the activities commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide as part of the Anniversary -Ukrainian Genocide-Holodomor Commemoration Committee – Chicago. Those activities included the coordination of the International Holodomor Torch Relay in Millennium Park, the “Breaking the Silence on the Unknown Genocide” exhibit and conference a the Cervantes Institute and the Community Procession and Solemn Ecumenical Requiem at Holy Name Cathedral.
UCCA-IL stood beside our Georgian friends during the Russian invasion of George during the summer of 2008. Members of UCCA-IL participated and coordinated public demonstrations in downtown Chicago. A working group of community representatives of Former Captive Nations of the Soviet Union was formed in response to the Georgia-Russia crisis. UCCA-IL board members participated in discussions with representatives of the Georgian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian communities of Illinois.
Bohdan Melnyk, Vice President and Chair of Relations with Ukraine Committee briefed that UCCA-IL hosted a successful “Viche” informational session in the fall to shed light on the current political situation in Ukraine and its implications on upcoming elections.
Orysya Kolyasa, UCCA-IL’s representative to the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee (UUARC) gave a briefing on the tremendous support received from the Ukrainian Community in Illinois following the floods of July, 2008 in Western Ukraine. UUARC, with the financial help of UCCA-IL, was able to collect enough supplies and clothing to fill an entire cargo shipping container. The community stepped up and donated so many supplies and clothing that a second shipment is currently being coordinated.
In addition, Ms. Kolyasa runs the UCCA-IL sponsored English as a Second Language School in Chicago. The students of the program donated funds to send dozens of wheelchairs to Ukraine for invalids.
Stepan Strilchuk, UCCA-IL Treasurer, stated that despite the economic downturn in the United States, UCCA-IL had a very successful fundraising year. Profits from the annual Taras Shevchenko concert allowed UCCA-IL to make a donation to St. Nicholas School in the amount of $2,100. The 2008 UCCA-IL Ukrainian Days Festival generated over $41,000 in profit and attracted over 13,000 attendees. This year’s Ukrainian Days Festival will be held on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd at Smith Park near Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.
Dr. Julian Kulas briefed meeting attendees on UCCA-IL’s involved in the Euro-Cup USA Championship Committee and the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. UCCA-IL is prepared to assist in making Ukrainian Olympic athletes and trainers feel at home in the Ukrainian community and Ukrainian Village of Chicago if Chicago wins the bid to become the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Following all the briefings of activities and committees the new 2009-2010 Board was elected. Dr. Oles Strilchuk was elected President of UCCA-IL for the 2009-2010 term. Dr. Strilchuk is a Chicago area dentist and father of three grown children. He is active in the Ukrainian Youth Association – CYM and has served as both Vice President of UCCA-IL and as Chair of the UCCA-IL Youth Relations Committee.
Dr. Strilchuk shares the Presidium with Bohdan Melnyk- Vice President; Pavlo T. Bandriwsky- Vice President; Bohdan Buchwak – Vice President; Ivanna Gorchynsky – Secretary; Stepan Strilchuk – Treasurer, and Lida Tkachuk – Ukrainian National Fund Referent.
The remainder of the 2009-1010 UCCA-IL Board is comprised of Mychajlo Baransky, Walter Bratkiv, Ivanka Bryan, Ivan Dewan, Marta Farion, Olha Fedak, Halyna Hrytsak, Maria Iwanec, Nadiya Ilkiv, Myroslav Kalyniouk, Orysya Kolyasa, Taras Konowal, Roman Kuropas, Andrew Luczak-Glubisz, Nicholas Mischenko, Katya Mischenko-Mycyk, Zeonid Modrycky, Olena Tchoryk, Lyubomyra Sheremeta, Maria Scherbiuk, Myron Wasuniec, Nadiya Wozny, Nestor Wozny, Eva Zelenko. The Audit Committee consists of Orest Baranyk, Lubomyr Klymkovich and Ivan Telwak. Honorary Members of UCCA-IL Board are Petro Baran and Pavlo Slobodian.
Prior to the conclusion of the meeting Pavlo T. Bandriwsky was presented a certificate and bouquet in appreciation for his unwavering dedication and hard work during the past three years of his Presidency. Mr. Bandriwsky will remain actively involved in UCCA-IL as a member of the Presidium.
Further information about the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America can be found on the website http://www.uccaillinois.org