Please read below to learn more about our 2019 Ukrainian Canadian Congress Leadership Award Winners.
Diane Lorraine Boyko is the mother of Lesia (Drew) & Stacia (Isaac) Horbay; the daughter of Harry & Joyce (Sorokan) Boyko; the grandchild of Wasyl & Nettie (Halabura) Boyko, and Dmytro & Emily (Bokshowan) Sorokan;, the great-granddaughter of Jacob & Irina (Dupchak) Boyko, and Kyrilo & Paraska Halabura and Hryhori & Paraska (Trischuk) Sorokan and Wasyl & Elena (Boychuk) Bokshowan, the older sister of Karen (Murray) Oleksyn and Rob Boyko, and the aunt of Ryan, Brett and Nicholas. Her family tree has many deep roots and is an important part of who she is.
Diane Boyko was born and raised in Alvena, Saskatchewan into a family that ensured being Ukrainian was a way of life. The language was spoken, the traditions maintained, and God was a part of their lives. Upon moving to Saskatoon to attend the University of Saskatchewan, Diane immersed herself in the community, singing with Vesna Choir, dancing with Yevshan, and serving at the Cathedral of St. George on Parish Council, directing the UCY program, serving as president of the UCWLC.
In 2003, Diane was elected as a trustee to the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board, serving as Chairperson for the past 10 years. Diane has served as a representative for the Saskatchewan School Boards Association to the University Senate and the Ministry of Education’s Student Achievement and Assessment Advisory Committee. As an ambassador through education, she models herself by promoting values of language and heritage as an integral part of the school experience. She is particularly proud of the Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bi-lingual School celebrating its’ 40-year anniversary! Diane diligently builds partnerships with numerous agencies to provide nutrition programs, leadership opportunities and cultural enrichment, particularly with First Nation communities.
Diane extends her leadership and creative talents into the greater Saskatoon community. She is the coordinator of the Sundog Arts and Entertainment Faire in Saskatoon, since 1995, served as co-chair of the JUNO Awards hosted in Saskatoon in 1997, and the committee hosting Canadian Country Music Awards in 2012 and 2017.
Diane serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Musée Ukraina Museum, mentors for Leadership Saskatoon, supports Tourism Saskatoon initiatives, and participates in the Ukrainian Canadian Professional & Business Association. Diane is a proficient public speaker, serving as MC at numerous festivals, concerts, galas and banquets. One of Diane’s highlights was co-mc of the 125th National Gala Showcase concert celebrating 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada in 2016.
In 2012, Diane she was honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2015 received the Nation Builders Award from UCC – Saskatchewan.
Ryan Boyko is the Founder and CEO of Armistice Films Inc. It is Ryan’s mission to illuminate epic, untold stories for international audiences.
Ryan was Producer, Writer and Director of the innovative, award winning series “The Camps,” which premiered on September 8th 2016. The 33 episode series has been seen in 174 countries and has garnered two awards, the IndieFest Award of Merit with Special Mention and an Award of Recognition from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival.
He is a multi award winning visual artist and an accomplished actor who has performed on many of Canada’s finest stages including the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, two seasons with the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival and two seasons at the Stratford Festival of Canada, where he won the Tyrone Guthrie Award.
Ryan has appeared on several television series’ including “Flashpoint,” “The Listener,” and “Outlaw Bikers”. Ryan played Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey legend Bill Barilko and most recently, appeared in the Movie “Chokeslam” (2017).
Ryan’s feature directorial debut “That Never Happened: Canada’s First National Internment Operations” was seen in film festivals across Canada and the United States. The film won 6 awards for Best Documentary and 1 People’s Choice Award. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations selected “That Never Happened” to screen during the Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva as its contribution to the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“That Never Happened” will begin airing on CBC’s The Documentary Channel on November 20th 2019.
There is no doubt about it: Savelia Curniski likes a challenge. Savelia completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She then went on to do masters’ studies in Curriculum Development.
While a student at the university in the 1970’s, Savelia realized her passion for visiting pioneer Orthodox and Catholic churches and documented 150 churches in rural Saskatchewan. The project is now housed in the Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies in Ottawa.
Savelia travelled extensively but the most significant was a trip she took in 1990 to Ukraine. What an exciting time to walk in the village of her grandparents, who came to Canada in the early 1900’s. Her travels in Ukraine deepened her awareness not only of the opportunities but also of the needs of Ukrainian society. In 1998, she contacted the president of Chalice, as she desperately wanted this Canadian sponsorship program to take poor and orphaned Ukrainian children under their umbrella. To date this Canadian support has gone far to ease the poverty of over 3,500 children.
In 2004, Savelia saw human trafficking first-hand in Ukraine. She was both appalled and shocked. She asked how this modern-day slavery could be alive and thriving in the 21st century. Therefore, after a few phone calls to friends and acquaintances, the charity NASHI was formed around her kitchen table. NASHI is a group of volunteers dedicated to making Canadians aware of human trafficking and the building of a safe house for at-risk young girls in Ukraine known as the “Maple Leaf House”.
While at the safe-house, the young girls are helped to be healed from previous abuses. They are helped to prepare themselves for a future of their own choosing. Today sexual predators are targeting girls as young as 6 years old in Ukraine where they are bought and sent all over the world. As the co-founder of NASHI, Savelia was recognized for the above initiatives by the Governor General of Canada at a ‘People of Courage’ Luncheon in 2007 in Regina and by appointment to significant Canadian national bodies. Minister Goodale recently appointed her to a federal fifteen-member advisory body for a Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Public Security in Canada. She also serves on the Canadian Council of Churches Committee on Human Trafficking in Canada. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Saskatchewan in 2017 awarded Savelia with the Nation Builder’s Award again for her humanitarian work in bringing this travesty of human trafficking to the attention of many Canadians. Savelia and Victor Malarek played integral roles in the production of NASHI’S second documentary: ONE PEROGY AT A TIME: THE SEQUEL launched and shown in various cities throughout Canada.
In 2009, Savelia received the Holy Great Martyr Award of St. Barbara for her dedication to a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. In 2019, she was invited by the Patriarch of Constantinople to do a presentation on human trafficking. The summer of 2019, she also received the Award of St. Nicholas the Wonder-Worker. This order is the highest award of the Foundation of International Awards, registered in Ukraine under the auspices of the United Nations.
Savelia believes she has been blessed with being given the opportunity to be born and live in Canada and being able to pursue all these adventures. Savelia’s life has been packed with challenges and excitement. It has been wonderful! She awaits new challenges and new adventures.
Born in post-war Munich, Stefan spent the first two and a half years of his life at the Mittenwald DP Camp. He arrived with his parents on September 27, 1948 in Quebec City. Growing up in Toronto, he attended Humberside Collegiate, Lakeshore Teachers’ College, and received a B.A. in Slavic Studies from The University of Toronto.
Stefan was active in the Ukrainian Community first as a counsellor in the Ukrainian Youth Association “Plast”, then as a teacher of Ukrainian Language and Literature at the Yuriy Lypa School and the Mykhaylo Hrushevsky School. He has been an M.C. at various community events, and has taken part reciting poetry in many of the programs. For 55 years Stefan has been a member of the “Zahrava” Ukrainian Drama Club and continues to appear in many plays.
Stefan has provided valuable contribution to the cultural and proactive life of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada during his 34 years producing Ukrainian television programs “Svitohliad”, “Obyektyv”, “Yak Bulo Kolys”, and most recently “ForumTV”. He travelled to Ukraine in 1989 with an Omni TV camera crew and was the first Ukrainian Canadian to report on the “Chervona Ruta Festival” (Considered the Rebirth of the Nation). As Ukraine became independent, he continued reporting on current events from Ukraine as well as reporting on community activities in Canada. Especially notable is his production of the “Yak Bulo Kolys” program, providing a capsule look of Ukrainian Life in the late 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.
Stefan is an active member of the Ukrainian Journalists of North America organization, helping organize events, and participating in giving presentations.
Dr. Stella Hryniuk
Dr. Stella Hryniuk was born and raised in small town Manitoba. Her parents instilled in her values of education, leadership, and love of Ukrainian heritage. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Manitoba, where she subsequently taught multiple courses over more than 20 years, and published extensively – 9 books, 24 articles, and 14 book reviews. Students in her signature course, “Ukrainians in Canada”, have made careers in Ukrainian heritage-related and government occupations. Official recognition for her research and writing came from the many governmental and other grants and fellowships bestowed upon her.
Dr. Hryniuk is a pioneer in building the emerging fields of Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian history, and is one of the first female historians among predominantly male, American-trained scholars working in these areas. A specialist in Galician history, she challenges stereotypes of the first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. She showed these Ukrainians to be enterprising risk-takers, not backward and oppressed people the literature portrayed. Her published works on this and other themes continue to be referenced by scholars at home and abroad. For her accomplishments, she was awarded two U of M Faculty awards – For Excellence in Research and For Outreach. She was named Winnipeg Woman of Distinction by the YM-YWCA in 1993.
Recognizing the advancing loss of Manitoba’s Ukrainian churches, she co-founded the Manitoba Eastern European Heritage Society to document those remaining structures photographically for posterity. The collection has been digitized and is partially accessible online. An outreach program was added for parishes, especially in rural areas, to encourage community heritage preservation.
Dr. Hryniuk has been active in Ukrainian community organizations, especially through accepting leadership positions when called upon. After 1991, she supported the democratic development of Ukraine by establishing the Manitoba Ukrainian Teachers’ Institute for faculty, student, and cultural exchanges, and for shipping textbooks to Ukraine.
Dr. Hryniuk advances the causes of women, multiculturalism, academic research, archival preservation, and a positive Canadian Ukrainian identity. She has produced a rich legacy for future generations.
Dr. Hryniuk is the proud mother of two children: Angela Hryniuk and Dr. Michael Hryniuk.
Nadia, daughter of Mary (Nowoselski) and Joseph Bilinski, grew up on a farm near Prud’homme, Saskatchewan. The family farm was nestled between the homesteads of her grandparents, who were first- wave immigrants to Canada from Western Ukraine. Nadia completed her teacher education at the University of Saskatchewan. While at university, she joined a Ukrainian dance ensemble and youth choir, and was energized by her experiences travelling and performing with other young people who shared her language and culture. These experiences influenced Nadia’s decision to become a Ukrainian language teacher. She wanted to inspire her students to live out their Ukrainian heritage and to enjoy having a dual identity in Canada.
In fall of 1979, Nadia became the first teacher in the Ukrainian-English bilingual program in Saskatoon. With no provincial curriculum to follow, Nadia created the program ‘on-site’ for the first two years. She was approached by the Ministry of Education to write bilingual curricula, while continuing to teach in the program. After K-12 curriculum development was complete, Nadia held several administrative positions with Saskatoon Catholic Schools, including Byzantine Rite religion consultant, public relations coordinator, and assistant to the Director of Education. In 2000, Nadia returned to the Ministry of Education to become a provincial language consultant, followed by Senior Program Manager for English as an Additional Language (EAL), a position she held until retirement from the ministry in 2016. In recognition of her leadership in EAL education in Saskatchewan, Nadia was nominated for the Premier’s Award of Excellence.
During her years with the ministry, Nadia was the principal author or co-developer of over twenty documents for Ukrainian bilingual education, high school language education, immigration, and EAL Education in Saskatchewan. She has been a frequent presenter at language workshops, seminars, and conferences, and has been a course instructor for teachers in Ukraine.
Currently, Nadia works with the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, as a course developer and instructor for teachers pursuing a specialization in EAL education. She is also an associate member of the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH) at St. Thomas More College, where she is leading a Ukrainian Language Assessment Project that is being shared with language educators in Canada and Ukraine.
Nadia’s past volunteer roles include board membership on various committees, including: UCC Saskatchewan, the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Friends of the Shevchenko Foundation, Saskatchewan Teachers of Ukrainian, and the Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Government Advisory Committee. Nadia completed two terms as the UCC Saskatchewan representative to the U of S Senate and two deployments as a Canadian election observer in Ukraine. Most recently, Nadia has been actively involved with the UCC Saskatchewan Holodomor Awareness and Education Committee as a writer, resource developer, and presenter on the topic of Holodomor.
Married to Leonard for 39 years, Nadia is the very proud mother of Dr. Oksana Prokopchuk-Gauk (husband Mykola, children Valentyn and Anatoliy), and Dr. Demyan Prokopchuk (wife Natalia).
Marijka Stadnyk was born into a family of community volunteers and this tradition continues through her many years of activism, advocacy and fundraising activities, both in Canada and Ukraine.
Marijka serves on the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto Executive Board as Vice President of Operations and is a member of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM). In her various roles as Executive Member of the Board, Marijka has planned and executed numerous high-profile fundraising and community events.
Over the last 13 years, Marijka has helped plan, organize and execute the Ukrainian Independence Day Festival in Toronto as both Chair and Executive of the Festival Planning Committee from 2008-to present. Under her leadership, Festival attendance has grown to over 11,000 visitors, and is now recognized as the largest Ukrainian Independence Day celebration in North America. This celebration raises significant funds for UCC Toronto while engaging the local community.
Marijka was Chair of Groundbreaking and Chair, Official Unveiling Ceremonies of the Holodomor Memorial Parkette (unveiled Oct. 21, 2018 in Toronto), the largest and most significant UCC Toronto project to be undertaken in decades.
Marijka was a co-founding member of the EuroMaidan Canada Committee (2014). Under the auspices of this committee, the community was quickly mobilized to protest against Russian aggression, lobby and advocate on behalf of Ukraine and raised over $100,000 in aid.
She is a co-founder of Orwell Art, based on the book “Orwell and the Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm” by Andrea Chalupa, which raises awareness of the Holodomor in Ontario’s high school curriculum. Marijka has continually raised awareness of the Holodomor to educators by assisting with curriculum writing, consulting with teachers on how to incorporate Holodomor studies, providing resources and by making special presentations to educators.
In a volunteer capacity, Marijka also participated in education workshops in Ukraine and Mongolia to transfer knowledge to local educators and improve education practices and standards in these countries. Local teachers gained valuable insight into second-language teaching methods and recognition of course work. She was an election observer in Ukraine in 2005. A defining characteristic of her work is the ability to actively engage and include a wide variety of community members to join in the call to participate and contribute for whatever job needs to be done.
Marijka Stadnyk is a professional educator with over 25 years of experience in education in Ontario with a focus on English as a Second Language (ESL), Cooperative Education and Alternative Education for at-risk youth. She resides in Toronto with her family.
Dr. Roman Yereniuk
Dr. Roman Yereniuk is a long-term academic and passionate community leader based in Winnipeg. For some forty years he served jointly in administrative and teaching positions at St. Andrew’s College (Faculty of Theology) and the University of Manitoba (Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies). His areas of specialty include Ukrainian church history and Ukrainian Canadian history and cultural studies. In this last area he has promoted and delivered papers on Ukrainian Diaspora Studies in Ukraine and Canada. He also has been for two decades the general editor of the “Faith and Culture” Journal of St. Andrew’s College. He has published four books and over 60 artic les in numerous journals in Canada and Ukraine. Likewise he has been a prominent executive member of the Ukrainian Academy of Art and Sciences in Canada and was instrumental in organizing a number of theme conferences in Canada with the partnership of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (Canada).
Dr. Yereniuk has been a distinguished leader and volunteer at various levels of the Ukrainian Canadian community. For many years he was a member of the National (two terms as Treasurer), Manitoba Provincial (Chair for three years) and Local Winnipeg branches (chaired several standing committees). As a prominent member of the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF), he has served on five standing committees, including the Consortium of Ukrainian Educators working in Ukraine. In 2001, he initiated Project ‘Liubov’ – Love to provide support for underprivileged children and youth in Ukraine, as a special designated fund of CUF, which continues to operate to this day.
As a past member of the Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko for two terms, he focused on promoting and supporting projects dealing with youth. Dr. Yereniuk has served in various leadership capacities on the National, Eparchial and Parish boards of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and has written extensively about its history and institutions. Likewise he has been on the National, Provincial and local boards of the Ukrainian Self Reliance League of Canada and assisted it with extensive committee, conference and convention work.
For many years, Dr. Yereniuk was active on the Boards of Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education and the Osvita Foundation working to promote and popularize the bilingual teaching of Ukrainian and English in the public schools of Manitoba. In addition he was elected a School Trustee in the Winnipeg School division for 14 years and the Manitoba Association of School Trustees (7 years), emphasizing the strengthening and promotion of the teaching of world languages and Multiculturalism. He also was an UCC active member elected to the Manitoba lntercultural Council (a Manitoba made Multicultural Council) for 8 years, including one term as VP.
For his dedicated service in the above-mentioned organizations and institutions, Dr. Yereniuk has been awarded some six citations and honors in the last two decades.
Roman’s motto in life has been “to be a university academic with strong teaching and research profiles balanced with deep roots in community service to the Ukrainian multicultural ‘hromada’ as well as the general Canadian society”
William Zyla was born in Buenos Aires. At an early age he immigrated together with his parents to Canada, where the family settled in Oshawa. He received a BA from the University of Western Ontario, earned an LLB from the University of Windsor, and was called to the Bar in 1979. Today he continues to practice law in Toronto, specializing in commercial and residential real estate and in estate planning and administration. His professional work is balanced by a strong commitment to community service and cultural interests, particularly his love of classical music.
For William, exposure to Ukrainian liturgical, choral and operatic music evolved into an appreciation of Ukrainian music and a realization that, notwithstanding its quality, it was virtually unknown in the classical music world. An opportunity to become involved in bringing the works of Ukrainian composers before a non-Ukrainian as well as Ukrainian audience materialized in 2004, when Pavlo Hunka, the celebrated English-Ukrainian bass baritone, launched the Ukrainian Art Song Project. Its aim was to record some one thousand art songs by Ukraine’s finest composers and present them on the classical music world stage, utilizing some of the best Canadian opera singers and musicians and the facilities of the Glen Gould recording studio.
William devoted ten years to the project. It was a time spent working together with other dedicated volunteers who through their efforts and perseverance were able to engage the community and raise the requisite funding to record, produce, and launch over four hundred art songs by Ukrainian composers. The Ukrainian Art Song Project is a work in progress and much work remains for its completion, but its successful impact is already well evident. Established and aspiring Canadian opera singers are including and performing Ukrainian art songs in their repertoires, annual master classes are training a new generation of singers, and music scores of the songs are available digitally to artists around the world. Seeds of the project planted on Canadian soil are now sprouting in Ukraine itself, with art song performances and study underway there.