City of Residence: Oshawa
Walter Kish was born in 1950 in Rouyn-Noranda, Que. to Ukrainian immigrant parents. His parents were active in the local Ukrainian community centred on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (which his father personally helped build), and the UNF Branch where he attended “Ridna Shkola” and was a member of the dance group. In his late teens he became active with the SUSK branch at the University of Waterloo, eventually become a member of its Executive. At the same time, he became active with the Oshawa Branch of the UNYF, eventually becoming its Branch President in 1971. In 1972 he became the National President of the UNYF and led it through one of its most difficult as well as dynamic periods. He subsequently became a member of the Board of Directors of the parent organization, the UNF of Canada.
During the 70’s he became the first English language editor and frequent contributor to The New Pathway (Noviy Shliakh), creating a monthly English language section called New Perspectives. Eventually, in the late 90’s he was elected Chairman of the Board of the paper and led a major renovation effort that modernized the paper and made it a bilingual publication. Since 2000, he has been writing a regular weekly editorial column for the paper that has become its most popular regular feature. This year, a collection of his best columns were published as a book – Here and There, Reflections of a Hyphenated Ukrainian.
Between 1993-94 Walter moved to Ukraine to accept an assignment as Country Manager of Seagram Ukraine, during which time he helped build a full subsidiary of the company and helped train dozens of young Ukrainian professionals and businessmen in how western businesses work. From 2004-2006 he once again lived and worked in Ukraine as manager of a large CIDA foreign aid program whose goal was to help develop and strengthen the credit union system in Ukraine.
From 2000 to 2003 Walter served on the Audit Committee of one of the largest Ukrainian credit unions in Canada, the Ukrainian Credit Union in Toronto, eventually becoming the Committee’s Chair. From 2008 to the present, he has been serving as a member of the Board of Directors of this Credit Union.
In 2008, Walter was instrumental in reviving the UNF Branch in Oshawa which had been defunct for over a decade, becoming its first President. In 2009, he led a similar effort that saw a UCC Branch also being revived in Oshawa. He currently serves as its Vice-President. In 2009 he was one of the chief organizers of the largest Holodomor commemoration that Oshawa has ever experienced. He currently chairs a UCC committee that is organizing a major commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Michael Starr.
Walter is currently also an active member of the Board of the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and the Ukrainian Journalists Association of North America.