XXIX UNWLA Convention

Sunday Dinner

Afternoon Seminars and Evening Program
Sunday, May  29,2011M. Polansky

The concurrent afternoon seminars were devoted to the UNWLA Scholarship Program and the UNWLA’s cultural/publishing endeavors. Scholarship Program Chair Maria Polanskyj underscored the importance of supporting students who are “the future of Ukraine,” noting that the funds allocated for these children cover the cost of books, clothes, and other things that Ukraine’s “free educational system” does not provide. She expressed her gratitude to sponsors, particularly those who have maintained a consistent supporting presence in the program by “adopting” new children once previous beneficiaries of their donations graduate.

S.HewrykThe seminar presented by Vice President for Culture Sophia Hewryk included remarks about past recipients of the Kovaliv Awards for literature and history, illustrated by a display of books published by the recipients. She also commented on the UNWLA’s support for the National Competition for the Best Shakespeare Studies Research among Students organized by the National Academy of Science of Ukraine. The featured speaker at this seminar was Iryna Koshulap, a recipient of a UNWLA grant, who is currently working on her doctoral dissertation at the Central European University in Budapest. The subject of her dissertation is Women, Nation, and the Generation Gap: The UNWLA in the Post-Cold War Era.

Ms. Koshulap began her presentation by explaining that she was writing her thesis in Budapest “because there is nothing in Ukraine that supports women’s studies programs that would contribute to this thesis.” She echoed the sentiments of Myroslava Gongadze—both women observing that women in Ukraine have little opportunity to achieve success when the culture continues to practice gender bias in politics, academia, and numerous other professional and social arenas, confirming that the glass-ceiling syndrome is an endemic problem. A particularly poignant part of Ms. Koshulap’s presentation was her reference to something mentioned by Larysa Darmochval at the lunch preceding her seminar. “I live,” she noted, “in an area not far from Bolekhiv, where the museum dedicated to Natalia Kobrynska was built, but I never heard of her until I started my studies in Budapest.”

Later that afternoon, many convention attendees boarded buses for an excursion to the Ukrainian Museum in New York City to view its latest exhibit “An Invitation to a Ukrainian Wedding.” Others rested or socialized at the hotel; a few dipping into the inviting water of the hotel’s swimming pool before boarding buses for the evening dinner that was hosted at Whippany’s Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey.

Oksana Petryna, Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, welcomed guests to the center. With mAnnouncersany of the formal and official segments of the convention behind them, guests were ready to party and the program hosts accommodated this exceedingly well. The pleasant “home-style” dinner included a raffle, a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, nice renditions of traditional Ukrainian songs by a number of accomplished songstresses, and a smashing exhibition of elegant ballroom dancing that made “Dancing With the Stars” look a little lame and tame in comparison. A nice touch to the entire program was Ms. Petryna’s explanation that all of the performers were the children or grandchildren of UNWLA members. At the Cultural Center’s dinner, guests received a gift from the Ukrainian Museum in New York, a book entitled The Tree of Life, The Sun, The Goddess: Symbolic Motifs in Ukrainian Folk Art.

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

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