FINAL BLOG BEFORE AGM!

09.06.17


Apologies for such a gap since my last blog.  

Firstly, I offer my heartfelt sympathy to the victims and families of both the Manchester and London terrorist attacks. 

We seem to live in a world where a minority of individuals have no value for human life and will do anything to disrupt our democratic freedoms. 

Together with all communities in the UK, we need to stand united and openly condemn such acts of violence, and I was grateful to the Manchester Ukrainian community for showing their solidarity in prayers at St Anne’s Square. 

Just to add that my son Maksym was on London Bridge when the attack happened. Thankfully he is safe. 

 

So, it’s nearly a year since I was elected as the Chair of AUGB! 

The year has gone very quickly and has been a rollercoaster of a ride. 

To say I have not enjoyed it would be a lie. The highs balance out the lows to give both reality and elation rolled into one. 

Throughout the year I have had the opportunity to meet with many branches - not all as I would have liked - with most I previously did not get the opportunity to visit on an official basis. 

We have seen changes this year in our makeup and procedures which are all aimed at making our Association more efficient and effective in its operations. 

However, there is still plenty more to do. 

My intention was during this year to hold a joint meeting with all of our community organisations to share ideas, problems and plans for the future of the Ukrainian community in the UK. Sadly, time has beaten us on this occasion but the intent still sits high on the agenda of the AUGB Board and we are looking to book a date for such a meeting in early autumn. 

Since my last blog in Feb we have been busy with a major exhibition at 49LG (marking the centenary of the Ukrainian Revolution, 1917), visits from various academics and the Mayor of Kyiv Mr Klitchko. 

I had the honour of representing the AUGB at the unveiling of the Hill 70 memorial to Filip Konoval; we attended a meeting in Athens to revitalise the European Congress of Ukrainians; Fedir Kurlak represented AUGB at the funeral of Cardinal Huzar; we have met various Ukrainian student groups from universities around the UK and are discussing the formation of a new national Ukrainian students’ association and we are looking to network more effectively. 

Day to day legal housekeeping continues. In accordance with our new M&A we were legally obliged to inform each member by post of the forthcoming AGM (17th June, Doncaster) which in itself was a major task to undertake and needed the co-operation of all branches to succeed. Thank you to all those who helped to co-ordinate it and make it happen. 

Hopefully our members with email facilities will allow us to utilise technology for future such notifications (form enclosed with AGM notification). 

The future administration of our organisation will see further important legislative change being introduced with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018. Once again this will have an impact on the way in which we operate both at head office and at branch level and we have already begun the process of making sure that our organisation complies fully before the Regulation comes into force. Further details to Branches will follow in the second half of 2017. 

The rebuild at Reading Branch is almost complete, including improvements which will benefit the local community, and we should start to receive a rental stream soon. 

Good progress is also being made with tendering for significant refurbishment at the Luton branch, which will bring significant benefits to the community in terms of both facilities and finances. 

I’m also pleased with the progress we’ve made on our investment strategy, but am under no illusion about how much more there is still to do to secure AUGB’s long term financial stability. 

Sadly, the situation in Ukraine has changed little during my year in office. The war continues, the West pays little attention and Mr Putin continues to flout International law. 

We can be thankful that Putin has not tried to make further headway onto Ukrainian soil which did seem a likely possibility during the past year. Who knows how this matter will be resolved! The situation remains volatile, and it is not at all clear what the US stance will end up being. 

Thankfully, President Macron of France sees the picture clearly and, together with Germany, supports continuing sanctions on Russia. 

Given the result of the UK election, and the challenges to come, we do not know how active the UK’s support will be for Ukraine. And we will need to keep a close eye on the position of the Labour party, since the circle around Jeremy Corbyn includes people who are only too ready to believe Russia’s narrative. 

There was an article in The Times recently that the Ukrainian Embassy picked up and responded, that the so called rebels were to offer tourists tours around the territory of Eastern Ukraine held by them and that the Russian Duma had sanctioned and supported such a move! The Russian propaganda machine continues to rotate at full throttle! 

My year ends sadly with the death of His Beatitude Cardinal and former Patriarch Lubomyr Huzar. May he rest in peace and his memory be eternal! 

To conclude I wish to thank everyone that has taken the time to read the few blogs that I have written and for your feedback.
I must also say a massive thank you to all those who have supported and helped me during this year, especially my wife Hania. I sign off with the highest respect for you all.   

 

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