This will be a slightly longer blog, simply because so much has been happening that’s worthy of note!

On Sunday 30 October I was invited by their chair Genia Mandzij to attend the conference for Ukrainian Teachers here in the UK which was hosted by AUGB Manchester. It was a pleasure to meet teachers and School Directors of our Ukrainian schools based in AUGB centres in Manchester, London, Coventry, Nottingham, Waltham Cross, Bradford and Rochdale. Discussion during the conference was positive and lively and showed the continuing focus on developing educational opportunities for our children. Our schools have always been an important part of AUGB’s work and we must support and help them to thrive, including helping other branches to reintroduce schools within their communities. 

During the week Fedir and I were invited to the House of Commons for a reception hosted by the British Ukrainian Aid Charity. Together with many other dignitaries, including the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK, we were given a presentation on what the charity had achieved to date and its plans for the future. 

After much preparation the AUGB’s academic conference passed off successfully on Saturday, with speakers from Ukraine and our diaspora and with attendees from all over England, Scotland and Wales. 

All of the welcoming addresses and lectures were highly interesting, informative and thought provoking covering a wide-range of aspects from the AUGB’s history:  dynamics and characteristics of AUGB membership 1945-55, British archival documents on the AUGB and Ukrainians from the 1940’s, Ukrainians in Scotland and early years of the AUGB, a ‘stich in time’ retrospective look at the AUW (OUZ) Alla Horska Museum in Manchester,  post-WWII Ukrainian publications in the UK, cooperation between the Ukrainian Catholic and Autocephalous Orthodox Churches with the AUGB, prominent personalities in AUGB’s history – Danylo Skoropadsky, Vadym Shcherbakivsky, Robert Lisovsky – and the screening of the first part of a film on the AUGB from 1955.

It would be unfair to pick out details from one or two lectures and not comment on others. They were all excellent in their own right.  Besides, there will be a more detailed article about the conference in this week’s Dumka and we also intend to collate all of the conference materials for publication early in the New Year.  

So let me then just leave you with a ‘did you know?’ snippet from Saturday.  Zoya Lisovska, daughter of former AUGB President Robert Lisovsky, provided details about some of his graphic designs – which include the AUGB, OUZh and Plast logos. Among them was the revelation that in 1928 Lisovsky won a competition to design the official logo of Lufthansa Airlines - a blue and yellow encircled crane – which the airline adopted and has retained to the present day…

We all left the conference not only much better informed about our history, but also thinking that we need to organise more similar events. We often don’t realise ourselves the significance of what AUGB and its members have experienced and achieved over the last 70 years. We just accept this as ‘normal’ but Ukrainian academics from all over the world see our history as something worth studying in depth and something which has enduring lessons for Ukraine and its diaspora. This is something we can all take pride in.

Very special thanks are due to the Curator of the Shevchenko Library and Archive, Ludmila Pekarska, for her tireless work in bringing everyone and everything together on Saturday for an unforgettable day.

Our work, of course, continues to this day, with countless volunteers working – often without thanks – to bring the community together for social, cultural and educational events. I was sorry to miss Bradford’s fourth annual ‘Pyvofest’, but it has been conveyed to me on good authority that the two day event was a great success, with performances from Bradford’s own Krylati Dance Ensemble, Manchester CYM Choir Volia and AUGB’s Representative Dance Ensemble Orlyk. Well done to all those who organised and helped out with this now established calendar event.

As for this week, I’m looking forward to the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) this weekend and to meeting representatives of the World Committee of CYM who are holding a two day meeting in our Board Room at Linden Gardens on Thursday and Friday. The majority of the AUGB Board and AUGB members came up through the ranks of CYM so it is an organisation that is very dear to our hearts and we are delighted that we have been able to help make it possible for them to hold their two events in London this week.  

Petro Rewko
AUGB Chairman   

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