2018 Mohyla Lecture: One Hundred Years Of Modern Ukrainian Statehood

Dr. Serhy Yekelchuk, U of Victoria, the 2018 Mohlya lecturer.

21st Annual Mohyla lecture was delivered by Dr. Serhy Yekelchuk, Professor Slavic
Studies and History at the University of Victoria and current president of the Canadian Association for Ukrainian Studies. The lecture was entitled One Hundred Years of Modern Ukrainian Statehood. Professor Yekelchyk is author of six books on Ukrainian history and Ukrainian-Russian relations, including Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation (OUP, 2007), which has been translated into five languages. His monograph, Stalin’s Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War (OUP, 2014), was the recipient of the best book award from the American Association of Ukrainian Studies. Dr. Yekelchyk’s most recent book is The Conflict in Ukraine (OUP, 2015). He is currently completing a history of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917–1920.​

This year’s lecture was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian People’s Republic’s (UNR) declaration of independence which was meant to break ties with Russia while establishing a modern democratic Ukrainian state. Prof. Yekelchuk talked about the meaning of this historic event as a continuation of the longer Ukrainian historical tradition of statehood. He discussed in what way the proclamation and defeat of the UNR influenced twentieth-century struggles for a free and independent Ukraine, which emerged in 1991, and whether the current conflict with Russia is a replay of the “hybrid war” the Bolsheviks conducted against the UNR in 1918.

The 2018 Mohyla lecture was held on February 15, 2018 in Shannon Library, St. Thomas More College. The event was hosted by the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage and co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Saskatchewan Provincial Council. This year’s lecture was well attended with about thirty students, faculty and guests present. It was followed by informal reception in the Shannon Library.





Ukraine Study Abroad Program – Partnership Agreement Signed

Signing the 5-year SSU Agreement: (l-r) Dr. Kumaran (STM), Dr. Huzar (TNPU), and Dr. Vannelli (UofS)

On January 23, 2018, St. Thomas More College signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Saskatchewan and the Voldymyr Hnatiuk Ternopil National Pedagogical University (TNPU) regarding the college’s Ukraine Study Abroad Program. The five-year agreement establishes the institutional basis for a continuing partnership with TNPU to offer STM’s Spring Session In Ukraine (SSU), which has been in existence since 2001. The SSU is an intensive language and cultural immersion program offered overseas in Ternopil, Ukraine.  The program is co-ordinated by Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen and supported in part by the PCUH. Dr Olena Huzar, the local Ternopil coordinator, represented the TNPU at the signing ceremony. Dr. Arul Kumaran (Dean) and Dr. Anthony Vannelli (Provost) signed the agreement on behalf of STM and the University of Saskatchewan respectively. The PCUH provided funding in support of Dr. Huzar’s visit. While in Saskatoon, Dr. Huzar spoke with several stakeholders regarding additional steps to strengthen the program and explored other academic opportunities.

2nd Annual Ukrainian Studies Research Showcase

The 2nd Annual Ukrainian Studies Research Showcase hosted by the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students’ Association (USUSA) in association with the PCUH was held on the evening of January 16, 2018. The event helps showcase both undergraduate and graduate research in the field of Ukrainian Studies on the UofS campus, providing a unique academic opportunity for students to communicate with their peers and the community at large the work being undertaken as part of their course of study at the university.

The event commenced with a roundtable discussion. Jakob Yuriy, Mykan Zlipko, Alexander Clark and Alexa Kowaluk – Spring Session in Ukraine 2017 program participants – offered perspectives on health and wellbeing in Ternopil where the students conducted original research during their study abroad program. The roundtable was followed by graduate presentations. Iryna Kozina, an MA candidate in History, shared her research on the Yorkton Ukrainian Redemptorists and their response to sociocultural changes on the Prairies during the 1960s. Mitchell Dowie, a recent MA graduate in Political Studies, subsequently spoke on the findings of his thesis: Canada’s relations with Ukraine in the immediate post-Maidan period under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. The evening ended with a reception organized by the USUSA, allowing the conversation to continue freely in a more informal setting.

MA Thesis on Canada-Ukraine Relations Successfully Defended

Defence Committee (l-r): Roy Romanow (member); Colleen Bell (Chair); Charles Smith (member); Mitch Dowie; Bohdan Kordan (supervisor); Natalia Khanenko-Friesen (member)

On December 1 2017, Mr. Mitchell Dowie, a graduate student in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Political Studies, successfully defended his MA thesis titled “A Dangerous World: Stephen Harper’s Post-Maidan Ukraine Policy.” Focusing on Canada’s relations with Ukraine in the immediate post-Maidan period, the thesis seeks to explain the fervency in Canada’s support for Ukraine under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. The study examines and assesses the ways in which various factors at the system, domestic, and individual levels helped shape the Harper government’s response, emphasizing the role that ideology played in lending a particular quality to the government’s position at the time.

Mr. Dowie was awarded a PCUH Graduate Thesis Scholarship to write the thesis.  The study was undertaken as part of the PCUH’s Canada-Ukraine Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to nurture and encourage a wider understanding of current Canada-Ukraine relations at the governmental and non-governmental level.


USUSA Students at Holodomor Awareness Event

As part of Holodomor Awareness Week at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students’ Association (USUSA) in association with PCUH cohosted the showing of the feature film “Bitter Harvest” on campus, November 21. All UofS students and members of the community were invited to the event. An information display created as part of a national campaign “The Holodomor Education Project” was also showcased so that patrons might learn more about the artificially induced famine that claimed the lives of millions in Soviet Ukraine during 1932-33.

WWI Internment Exhibit and Opening at STM

Dr. Peter Macleod, Canadian War Museum

Dr. Peter Macleod, Canadian War Museum

A travelling exhibit created by the Canadian War Museum made its way to Saskatoon and the STM Art Gallery on the University of Saskatchewan campus. The display features photographs from the National Library and Archives of Canada as well as period artifacts from a private collection.

On November 10, an opening reception was held, which featured a guest speaker from the Canadian War Museum, Dr. Peter MacLeod, Director of Research, who spoke about the origin and genesis of the exhibit. Dr. Bohdan Kordan delivered remarks on the impact of internment and remembrance. This was followed by a selection of short readings – first-person accounts of the internment experience – presented by students
from the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students Association.

USUSA Students: Jake Yuriy, Christian Kordan, Sam Campling

Hosted by the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH) in co-operation with the STM Art Gallery, the exhibit is supported by a travel grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. The exhibition will run from November 2, 2017 – January 15, 2018.


PCUH Graduate Scholarship Recipient

PCUH Graduate Scholarship Recipient - Iryna Kozina

PCUH Graduate Scholarship Recipient – Iryna Kozina

The Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage offers scholarships in support of University of Saskatchewan graduate students at the MA level, who are working on topics relevant to Ukraine, Ukrainian-Canadian identity, or the Ukrainian experience. MA Scholarships in the amount of $1500 are provided in direct support of the thesis-writing phase for students registered with the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Graduate Studies and enrolled in a graduate degree program. 


In 2017-18, Iryna Kozina, an MA candidate in the Department of History, was awarded a scholarship for her thesis proposal “Prickly Questions: The Yorkton Ukrainian Redemptorists’ Response to Sociocultural Changes in Saskatchewan, Canada (1960-1980).” Iryna explores the writings of the Redeemer’s Voice Press, the Catholic publishing house of the Ukrainian Redemptorists of the Yorkton Province, and how the priests approached changes in the rapidly-evolving 1960s. The expected date of completion is summer-fall 2018.

Activities of PCUH Faculty

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen recently gave two presentations at the Oral History Association Annual Meeting in the Minneapolis (October 5-6, 2017). In the session on public history, she presented her collaborative project on Oral History of 20th Street: Many Faces of a City Core Neighbourhood, its online archives and documentary films. On the invitation from the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC, U of Toronto) she chaired a conference roundtable on Oral History and Holodomor and spoke about the digital oral history archive on collectivization in Ukraine, developed by her at the PCUH.

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen also traveled to Toronto to present her most recent book ‘Ukrainian Otherlands’ at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA), in the roundtable organized by the Kobzar Literary Award and held at the Harbourfront Centre on October 21, 2017. Both her and Dr. Bohdan Kordan’s monographs – Ukrainian Otherlands and No Free Man – are shortlisted for the Kobzar Literary Award 2018.

Meanwhile, Prof. Kordan presented a paper on Canadian internment at the international conference “Military and Civilian Internment in World War I: Differential Treatment, Its Motives and Long-Term Implications,” the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University, Israel, 13-16 October 2017. He and Nadia Prokopchuk, a PCUH affiliate, are also poised to receive the 2017 Nation Builders Award from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Saskatchewan), November 5, Art Hauser Centre, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Finally, Nadia Foty-Oneschuk successfully defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Alberta. Congratulations Dr. Foty-Oneschuk!

PCUH Ukrainian Language Assessment Symposium: Year One

The Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH) at St. Thomas More College, with the financial assistance of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Saskatchewan Provincial Council and the Saskatchewan Teachers of Ukrainian (STU) organized a Ukrainian Language Assessment Symposium on October 13-14, 2017. The symposium brought together educators representing a range of programs and institutions from across Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta responsible for Ukrainian language education and training. The participants had an opportunity to learn more about the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), an international language reference tool that has gained considerable momentum in Canadian language learning programs in the past decade.

Dr. Laura Hermans-Nymark, principal author of The Common European Framework of Reference: A Guide for Canadian Educators, addressed the audience as the keynote speaker. This was followed by a series of presentations from specialists and practitioners that focused on Ukrainian language assessments and student language portfolios, which have aligned with CEFR levels.

Support for use of the CEFR in
Canadian language programs has
grown largely due to:

  • recognition of the scale’s reliability and validity across 47 European countries;
  • the CEFR’s positive approach to identifying what students know and can do in a language, rather than focusing on what students do not know;
  • skill descriptors based on real-life language use for various purposes;
  • equal attention to four skill areas – listening, speaking (production and interaction), reading, and writing; and
  • the central role of students in identifying their own language strengths and areas for improvement.

Symposium participants identified an overarching need for a bank of skill descriptors, compiled from existing Ukrainian and English language portfolios. Plans are underway for a follow-up phase to the Ukrainian Language Assessment Symposium. During the next several months, a working group of representatives from the symposium will review and sort descriptors by age of learners and stages of language learning. The goal is to gather samples and create a bank of Ukrainian language assessment tools that can help teachers to identify student language levels along the CEFR scale.

2017 Ukrainian Studies Reception at STM

The annual Ukrainian Studies Reception, co-hosted by PCUH and the STM Dean’s Office, took place October 10 at St. Thomas More College. This year’s reception was well attended with thirty students, faculty and guests present.

Dr. Tammy Marche, STM’s newly-appointed Associate Dean, brought greetings from the college and spoke of the prominence of Ukrainian Studies at STM. She was followed by several faculty that oversee various aspects of Ukrainian Studies program on and off campus – Profs. Khanenko-Friesen, Kordan, Foty-Oneschuk, and Prokopchuk. Each spoke of the work being done and the opportunities available for study as well as research. The support provided to the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students Association (USUSA) and its activities was emphasized.

Mr. Danylo Puderak, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-SPC, brought greetings from the community, encouraging students to apply for scholarships off and on campus. He also made note of how participating in the USUSA was a formative experience in his life and urged the students in attendance to be engaged and seize the opportunities presented. Mr.Tanner Prychak, co-President of the USUSA, familiarized the attendees with the activities and initiatives of the association and encouraged students to join the club.