UJE in Uman: Polish Cultural and Educational Center and Lyceum No. 2
The Ukrainian office of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE), a Canadian charitable non-profit organization, continues its cooperation with educational institutions in Uman, a city located in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine.
This time, the event took place in the Polish Cultural and Educational Center at the Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University (USPU) on 26 April 2023. Since 2008, the center has been researching inter-ethnic, in particular Polish-Ukrainian relations and the history and culture of the two peoples. It has cooperated with educational institutions in Poland at the academic level. The event was attended by several dozen people. In addition to university professors, the audience included students from the faculties of history and political science.
Ihor Kryvosheia, director of the Polish Cultural and Educational Center and professor at the USPU's Department of World History, started the meeting by introducing UJE to the audience. He drew the attention of the audience to the books that were presented and eventually gifted to all the participants that day: Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence by Paul Robert Magocsi and Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern, This Blessed Land: Crimea and the Crimean Tatars by Paul Robert Magocsi, A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: From Antiquity to 1914 by UJE Co-Director Alti Rodal, as well as the recently published Ukraina Redux: On Statehood and National Identity. The author of this book is Paul Robert Magocsi, a professor in the Department of History and the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and a member of UJE's Board of Directors.
Professor Kryvosheia said he had had the opportunity to read Ukraina Redux and noted that the book concisely and clearly described the history of the Ukrainian national identity and state-building from its beginnings to Russia's current war against Ukraine. The author also outlined how the country's inhabitants identified themselves and their attitude towards the state of Ukraine — relying on ethnic or civic national identity.
Vladyslav Hrynevych, Jr., UJE's Regional Manager in Ukraine, reminded the audience that Ukraina Redux is a revised version of an Expert Report submitted to the International Court of Justice at The Hague on behalf of the Government of Ukraine in 2022. The report considered the legacy of statehood in Ukraine and its various forms before and after the declaration of independence on 24 August 1991. Vladyslav Hrynevych, Jr., also spoke about UJE's activities in Ukraine in recent years and its plans for the future. He invited all those present to the grand opening of the exhibition "A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: From Antiquity to 1939," scheduled to take place at noon on 29 April 2023 in the Uman Art Museum. The exhibition is authored and curated by Alti Rodal.
The participants of the public discussion asked many questions. Ihor Opatsky, PhD in History and teacher in the USPU's Department of the History of Ukraine, spoke about the important function of UJE books in debunking entrenched mutual myths and stereotypes of the Ukrainian and Jewish peoples. Dr. Tetyana Kuznets, a professor in the USPU's Department of the History of Ukraine, was interested in the UJE's activity outside of Ukraine.
Sets of UJE books were also given as a gift to the Uman State Pedagogical University library.
The same day, UJE representatives visited Lyceum No. 2 in downtown Uman and met with its administration in the library.
Vladyslav Hrynevych, Jr. talked about UJE's main objectives and areas of activity, handed over gift book sets, and informed the audience about a new project recently launched by the organization — the All-Ukrainian Children's Drawing Contest. This year, its topic is "Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: Looking into the Future — 2023."
Larisa Chernysheva, deputy director of the lyceum and teacher of the Ukrainian language and literature, emphasized the importance of cooperation between Ukrainian general education institutions and international cultural and educational organizations.
Daria Riabokon, a history and law teacher, noted that high-school students were interested in studying the history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations and participating in the drawing contest organized by UJE.
The lyceum's representatives promised to organize a group excursion for their high-school students to the upcoming exhibition "A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: From Antiquity to 1939" in the Uman Art Museum.
Vladyslav Hrynevych, Jr.,