The XXIX UNWLA Convention

Friday, May 27, 2011
National Board Meeting

Dedicated to the victims of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, the XXIX Convention of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America was held in the Hanover Marriott Hotel in Whippany, New Jersey. The four-day event, organized and hosted by the New Jersey Regional Council of the UNWLA, included the traditional mix of working sessions, award ceremonies, exhibits, guest speakers, and entertainment. Each day’s program provided participants with opportunities to learn about the UNWLA’s current programs and endeavors, socialize, and participate in numerous discussions on matters of interest to the organization and its membership.

Delegates and guests began arriving at the convention on Friday morning and were greeted by members of the convention committee. Following a tradition established and continued at previous conventions, each registrant received a tote bag filled with assorted published material, including a copy of the convention book, an assortment of embroidery patterns compiled and published by the UNWLA, a history of the Ukrainian immigration in the United States, a retrospective of the works of sculptor Mykhailo Chereshnovsky (from the Ukrainian Museum in NYC), and two volumes of the ongoing series of reports published by the UNWLA’s Scholarship Program. Copies of the most recent issue of The Ukrainian Weekly were available at registration tables and included a brief item (“Turning the pages back . . .”) describing the 10th UNWLA convention, which was held in 1953 in Detroit.

On Friday, May 27, 2011, the UNWLA’s National Board convened for its final meeting of the three-year term following the previous convention. President Marianna Zajac opened the meeting and introduced Lidia Bilous, who would be serving as convention chair/moderator. She then recapped some of the highlights of the work accomplished during the three years of her presidency, highlighting positive changes in Our Life magazine and the UNWLA website; the publication of A Candle in Remembrance (a translation of Professor Valentyna Bosrysenko’s Ukrainian-language book on the Great Famine); the continued success of the UNWLA’s Scholarship program; and the important work of the UNWLA’s Social Welfare program, which most recently paired individual Regional Councils with geriatric homes in Ukraine and involved sending various health and hygiene related items to residents of those home. President Zajac then introduced a new UNWLA project—support for Lviv’s Pediatric Burn Unit with funds from the generous bequest of the late Honorary Member Mary Beck. The UNWLA will be working with Dr. V. Savchyn, who treats approximately 300 children annually at the Lviv facility while coping with the lack of sterile instruments, obsolescent equipment, and other circumstances not conducive to providing good medical and specialized care.

Following the president’s opening speech, Honorary President Iryna Kurowyckyj congratulated her successor and the members of her administration for the great strides made as they have engaged in writing “a new page” of the UNWLA’s history. Individual members of the National Board then presented reports on their work since the pervious National Board meeting (October 2010). Treasurer Nadia Cwiach presented a comprehensive profit/loss statement, noting the adverse effects of the fire and the positive effects of restructuring Our Life. Auditing Committee member Maria Tomorug reported on the work of the committee and the UNWLA’s CPA and presented recommendations for the next fiscal year. She briefly touched upon insurance matters and maintenance issues at the UNWLA office in New York City. New Jersey Regional Council President Olha Lukiw report on the work of the convention committee and expressed her hopes that everyone would enjoy the convention experience. She thanked Vera Kushnir, who served as the Executive Committee’s convention liaison. Vice President Ulana Zinych spoke about her work as chair of the convention book committee; Education Committee Chair Christine Shwed spoke briefly about how her children’s pages led themselves to creating preschool lesson plans within the parameters of preschool curricula. Archive Committee Chair Olha Trytyak discussed the disposition of UNWLA archival material that had not been forwarded to the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She also spoke enthusiastically about Olha Drozdowycz, who will be assuming the role of UNWLA archivist in the new administration. Double-hatted Zoriana Haftkowycz briefly spoke about her service as Arts/Museum chairwoman, emphasizing how the global economic crisis has affected the Ukrainian Museum’s fundraising efforts and then touched upon her work as the UNWLA’s webmaster, briefly alluding to future plans for the website. Scholarship Program Chair Maria Polanskyj discussed ongoing sponsorship of students in various countries and expressed gratitude to her committee and to generous sponsors. Members at Large Chairwoman Roxolana Yarymovych discussed her collaborative and cooperative work with Vice President for Membership Anna Macielinski and reported on a new endeavor—co-opting Renata Zajac into her committee. Ms. Zajac’s role in the committee will be to explore the prospects, potential, and means of recruiting younger women as UNWLA MALs.

President Marianna Zajac proposed that a new standing committee be created in connection with the UNWLA website and that Zoriana Haftkowycz be appointed as chairwoman. The meeting then moved to nominations for Honorary Membership, a title conferred on outstanding women whose work on behalf of the UNWLA merits special recognition. Six individuals were selected to receive the coveted title.

The National Board Vice President for Culture Sophia Hewryk introduced a new project for UNWLA consideration—the endowment of a women’s studies program at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). She then invited Marta Kolomayets, who serves as the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation’s (UCEF) Director of Programs & Communications, to provide details about the university and the proposed project.

Friday, May 27,2011
President’s Welcoming Remarks
National Board Meeting
Reception and pre-convention program.

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Opening Ceremony and Plenary Sessions
Luncheon Program
Convention Banquet

Sunday, May 29, 2011
Morning Plenary Session
Luncheon Program
Afternoon Seminars and Evening Program

Monday, May 30, 2011
Morning Plenary Session and Convention Closing

Click here to view the pictures from the ХХІХ Convention