Montreal The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Montreal branch, marked the 20th year of Ukraine’s renewed Independence with its annual banquet held September 1, attended by over 160 members of the community and invited guests.
In her opening remarks, president of UCC Montreal and Quebec Provincial Council Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhova stated, “ in marking this anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, we reflect on the sacrifice of millions of Ukrainians in achieving the status of liberty and democracy, and reflect on what is being undone today by the current government” and “let us not lose faith in the resiliency of our people and let us take the necessary actions in the belief that Ukraine’s independence will be eternal”.
Special greetings at the banquet were presented by Mr. Arunas Staskevicius, the Honorary consul of Lithuania in Montreal who congratulated the community in their celebrations. As unwilling members of the former Soviet Union, he referred to the difficult road both nations were forced to endure to achieve their freedom.
Greetings were then given by Mr. Evhen Czolij, president of the World Congress of Ukrainians having just returned from the Fifth World Forum of Ukrainians in Kyiv. Mr. Czolij, underlining the significance of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence in 1991 and the adoption of a new, just constitution, gave a snapshot of the current climate in Ukraine with the return of an authoritarian government and its Soviet past. This change is met by the diaspora worldwide with great concern. The future of Ukraine depends on the Ukrainian people.
The main speaker was Askold Lozynskyj, president of the International Conference in Support of Ukraine. His presentation gave a reassessment of the last 20 years and the disregard of rule of law by the current government. It incorporated reference to Ukraine’s past, emphasizing Shevchenko’s impact on beginning the struggle for an independent Ukraine, free from foreign domination, and call for unity in successfully achieving this end. Regarding the diaspora’s role in this current situation he stated, if Ukraine’s freedoms and human rights are being violated, the diaspora has a right to care. It has the right not to be just a bystander, but help those in Ukraine to secure a free, democratic country. The diaspora must provide a voice in support of this struggle. His presentation received a standing ovation.
Opening and closing prayers were said by Mitrat Oleh Korecky of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and at the end by Father Volodymyr Kouchnir of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church respectively. A celebration with song and dance completed the evening’s Independence program with performers Vera Turko-Kulycka, Oksana Kotskovitch and the Donna Marunczak dancers, concluded with the singing of Ukraine’s national anthem.
The evening’s master of ceremony was Mychailo Shwec. Head of the banquet organizing committee was Marika Putko, head of the banquet program was Bohdanna Klecor-Hawryluk, assisted by Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhova, Olena Kulishov, Lina Hawryliw, Andrij Dragan, Simon Kouklewsky and others. Support for organizing this major annual event, which was videotaped, was given by Caisse Populaire Ukrainienne Desjardins de Montreal and the Ukrainian Youth Centre.
Festivities marking the 20 anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed Independence will continue from Sept 9 to 11, with the 12th Annual Montreal Ukrainian Festival held at Parc de l”Ukraine. This festival, which was originally begun by UCC Montreal as a modest community festival, with few hundred participants has since grown over the many years, with an attendance of over 10,000, organized by the St. Volodymyr Cultural Society, an independent body and member organization of UCC Montreal.
For further information about UCC Montreal please see: uccmontreal.org or call (514) 593 1000.
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Photo I D (photo credit Yurij Luhovy)
(L to R) Evhen Czolij, president of World Congress of Ukrainians; Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhova, president of UCC Montreal; Ascold Lozynskyj, president International Conference in Support of Ukraine.
Head table guests and members of UCC’s executive at Montreal’s Independence Banquet.
L to R
O. Mitrat Oleh Koreckyj; Silvija Staskeviciene; Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhova, UCC Montreal President; Arunas Staskevicius, Honorary Council of Lithuania in Montreal; Marika Putko, banquet committee head; Mychailo Hawryniak, UCC executive member.
L to R
Simon Kouklewsky, radio producer; Marika Putko, banquet committee head; Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhova, president of UCC Montreal; Arunas Staskevicius, Honorary Council of Lithuania in Montreal; Silvija Staskeviciene; Bohdanna Klecor-Hawryluk, head program committee; Mychailo Shwec, master of ceremony.
514 481 5871 or 515 259 7162
(the 514 593 1000 is the KYK office no,
but direct contact is easier at the other nos)