Last weekend I with many Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians took part in commemorations to mark the 85th Anniversary of the Holodomor 1932-33 stretching from Edinburgh in the North to London in the South. Together with Deputy Chair Iryna we attended the commemoration at Westminster Abbey: Evensong followed by a Panakhyda in memory of the millions of victims of the Holodomor which was sung at the Abbey’s memorial to all innocent victims of oppression, violence and war. 


Children from the local Ukrainian school and youth organisations CYM & PLAST placed candles around the memorial depicting the number 85. It was a very moving and emotional ceremony from start to finish! 


That night I met CEO Fedir and Board member Zenko before our early morning flight to Kyiv to represent AUGB at the XI Congress of the Ukrainian World Congress. They too had taken part in ceremonies held in Leeds and Coventry and the consensus of opinion was that the whole day had been an energy-sapping day of emotion and that our community should be very proud of what it had organised and achieved, not only on this specific day but throughout the year in commemoration of this sad and tragic anniversary. 


Our sentiments were further reinforced from seeing reports and photographs from all the commemorations that had taken place that day and on the Sunday. 


On behalf of AUGB I would personally like to thank all organisers of all of the events for their time, effort and selfless dedication making the commemoration of the 85th Anniversary of the Holodomor. Thanks also to all participants who helped to further raise awareness about this very tragic chapter in our history. 


We flew out to Kyiv on the Sunday to attend the Ukrainian World Congress’s opening evening event which was held held at the National Olympic Stadium. Opening addresses from various invited dignitaries included Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Deputy PM Stepan Kubiv, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and church leaders. Outgoing President Ewhen Czolij presented the UWC’s highest award – the medal of St. Volodymyr the Great – to those who have made a long-standing substantial contribution to the work of the UWC, their respective Ukrainian communities in the diaspora and support for Ukraine. Among those on this selective list were our very own Deputy Chair Iryna Terlecky and Board member Zenko Lastowecki. Congratulations to them both and very well deserved. 


The evening concluded on a sad note with breaking news that Russia had attacked Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and taken several sailors prisoner. We immediately posted a statement on AUGB’s website, facebook and twitter pages and sent a copy of the statement to the UK’s Foreign Office. We were delighted to learn that the UK’s reaction was very swift and clear with the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, including a statement on the Kerch incident during his address in Parliament on Monday (26 November) when opening a four-day exhibition dedicated to the 85 anniversary of the Holodomor, organised by the Embassy of Ukraine and the British-Ukrainian Society. Deputy Chair Iryna Terlecky and board members Bohdan Terlecky, Volodymyr Muzyczka and Bohdan Ratycz represented AUGB at this event. The full speech of the Foreign Secretary can be viewed here.


The exhibition itself has been on view to all MPs and visitors to parliament together with copies of our new book, ‘Grains of truth: A collection of UK materials on the Holodomor in Ukraine, 1932-33’. (Incidentally, this book is now also available on Amazon and our online giftshop.)


The working congress was opened and chaired by outgoing President Ewhen Czolij on Monday morning, addressing 248 delegates from 26 countries. The morning session passed by quickly with reports on the last five years of work, some lively discussion and questions. One plenary session was then dedicated to the UWC and its future, then in the early evening, delegates split into groups according to their respective geographical regions for round table discussions on ‘local’ issues and sharing ideas relating to the diaspora in their own countries.


Tuesday continued with round table discussions on topics such as Ukrainians living outside Ukraine: steps to facilitate return to Ukraine, sources of financing Ukrainian community activities, strengthening of Ukrainian youth/student organisations, the Ukrainian language - path to identity, raising a positive image of Ukraine worldwide... 


After lunch delegates assembled in the main conference hall to commence voting on amendments to the UWC’s governing document, budget for 2019 and 2020, auditors, and a new President and board of directors/governing body. Debates and elections lasted until early evening concluding with Pavlo Grod (Canada) being elected as the new President of the Ukrainian World Congress for a term of four years. The Directors and Governing body were selected from delegates worldwide, including the UK. The UWC now has designated Vice Chairs for each region of the world eg Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceana, North America, Asia etc.. 


This long but interesting afternoon session of the XI UWC Congress concluded with the singing of the Ukrainian National Anthem, a group photograph and a short reception during which delegates had a final opportunity to discuss the success of the event and bid their farewell to each other as many, including ourselves, were returning to their home countries on the following day. 


A new era has commenced for the Ukrainian World Congress and as one of its founding members, the AUGB wishes the newly elected leadership every success and is looking forward to a continued close working relationship with those who now steer the ship.


Petro Rewko 



Photos (top to bottom)


  • Opening Ceremony - Petro Grod (Canada)
  • Zenko Lastowiecki recieving the UWC's Award of St. Volodymyr the Great from Yaroslava Hartiani (left) and Ewhen Czolij (right), Deputy President and President of the UWC
  • Award of Iryna Terlecky
  • Award of Zenko Lastowiecki
  • UWC President Ewhen Czolij during the opening session of the XI UWC Congress
  • AUGB delegates with newly appointed UWC President Pavlo Grod (centre), and Deputy President Stefan Romaniw (right)






























Ukrayinska Dumka


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