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Ukrainian scholars to gather for conference June 16-21

Andrea Lynn, HumanitiesEditor
(217) 333-2177;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Members of Ukraine’s intelligentsia will be living – and working – in Central Illinois next month.

They plan to tackle a wide range of topics in a program dealing with Ukrainian culture and history: from new developments in Ukrainian linguistics and literature to an assessment of the Chernobyl disaster.

Thirty-six distinguished Ukrainian scholars – including seven university rectors, or presidents, and two members of parliament – will speak to some 120 conferees from six nations during the 22nd annual Conference on Ukrainian Subjects, hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The event, which will be held June 16-21 (Monday through Saturday) and within the framework of the annual Summer Research Laboratory on Russia and Eastern Europe, is being organized by the university’s Ukrainian Research Program (URP), which is chaired by Dmytro Shtohryn (SHTORE-in). All sessions are free and open to the public and will be held in the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

Among the Ukrainian scholars and people of letters who are to attend the conference: Hansjurgen Doss, a member of the German parliament; Ivan Drach, a poet and member of the Ukrainian parliament; Dmytro Pavlychko, a poet and former ambassador to Slovakia and to Poland; Georgij Pocheptsov, head of the Office of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the President of Ukraine; and Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, minister counselor of the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C.

According to Shtohryn, the theme of the conference is "Ukraine Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." That theme is to be addressed in 12 sessions, two panel discussions and one round-table discussion, as well as two "authors’ evenings."

A panel discussion and the round table will focus on the political and economic situation in Ukraine and Washington’s view of it. Fifty papers will be given in English and Ukrainian.

Shtohryn, professor emeritus in the university’s Slavic and East European Library and department of Slavic languages and literatures, is the conference organizer. He teaches several courses on Ukrainian culture at Illinois.

The conference is dedicated to the memory of George Y. Shevelov, "one of the most distinguished Slavic linguists in the (West) and patriarch of modern Ukrainian linguistics," Shtohryn said, adding that one session will be devoted to Shevelov’s life and work.

The focus of other sessions:
o Problems with freedom for mass media and journalism in Ukraine.
o Mass emigration from contemporary Ukraine: reasons and problems.
o The fourth wave of Ukrainian immigration to the United States.
o Problems of cooperation between Ukraine and the Ukrainian Western diaspora.
o The role of Ukrainian-Americans in the relations between the United States and Ukraine.
o A comparison of higher education in the United States and Ukraine.
o Ukraine’s artificial famine in the 1930s and ’40s.
o Communist regime resettlement of Ukrainians after World War II.
o Churches and religion in contemporary Ukraine.

On June 22 (Sunday) a group of Ukrainian conference participants will meet the Ukrainian community of Chicago at the Ukrainian Cultural Center.

More than 100,000 of the 1.5 million Ukrainians who live in the United States live in Chicago, Shtohryn said. Other large populations of Ukrainians are in Atlanta; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New York City; Philadelphia; and Sacramento, Calif.

Each semester, Shtohryn and his graduate assistant Volodymyr Chumachenko take their Ukrainian culture class to Chicago to visit the Ukrainian village, the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches and other sites "in order to get acquainted directly with the native elements that Ukrainian-Americans use, and at the same time, integrate into American everyday social and cultural life," Shtohryn said.

For more information regarding the conference, contact Shtohryn at (217) 356-9195 or