Cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Ukraine and the USA
Cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Ukraine and the United States is based on four core agreements, including the Agreement between Ukraine and the Government of the United States on Humanitarian, Technical and Economic Cooperation (of May 7, 1992), the Agreement between Ukraine and the Government of the United States on Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage (of March 12, 1994), the Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and the Government of the United States on Main Goals and Tasks of U.S. Agency for International Development Assistance (annually renewed), and the Interagency Agreement on Cooperation between the State Committee of Archives of Ukraine and the Holocaust Memorial Museum of the United States (of March 29, 2005).
The existing legal framework provides for effective and comprehensive development of all areas of bilateral humanitarian cooperation fostering the introduction of traditions, history and cultural heritage of Ukraine and the U.S. community.
All types of Ukrainian art including art exhibitions, concerts of classical, folk and popular music, film screenings are vividly represented throughout the territory of the United States.
Over the last several years, Ukrainian stars such as the winner of «Eurovision-2004» Ruslana Lyzhychko, bands «Okean Elzy» and «DakhaBrakha», pop singers Anastasia Prykhodko and Bria Blessing, folk duo «Gerdan» (Solomia Gorohivska and Andriy Pidkivka), opera singers Sophia Soloviy and Yurii Minenko, pianists Pavlo Gintov, Vitaly Samoshko and Oxana Skidan, violinists Oleh Kaskiv and Olexiy Semenenko, the Odessa National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, and the National Pavlo Virsky Academic Folk Dance Ensemble have been exhibiting their artistry in a variety of the U.S. concert halls. Over the last several months, Ukrainian films «Povodyr» («The Guide»), «Haytarma» («Return»), «Plem’ya» («The Tribe») and «The Russian Woodpecker» were successfully screened in the United States. The Art Exhibit «The Revolution of Dignity: Images of Ukrainian Maidan 2013-2014» continues its touring around the country. After three months long display in Washington, D.C., the Exhibit is again open for public at the Arkansas University School of Law since August 24.
Traditionally the «Ukrainian Embassy’s Open House» (the beginning of May) generates great interest among the American public. During these annual events visitors to the Embassy have a chance to mingle and communicate with Embassy’s staff and find out more about Ukraine, recent developments there as well as Ukraine’s traditions and, culture, learn how to paint Ukrainian Pysanka (Easter eggs), and have a taste of the national Ukrainian cuisine.
There is also great interest by U.S. audiences in traditional cultural and art evenings held at the Embassy of Ukraine. The most popular among these are concerts of classical and folk music, co-sponsored by the Washington Group Cultural Fund, «International Club of DC», «Things to do in DC» and the «Embassy Series».
Some cultural events are organized by the Embassy of Ukraine in close cooperation with the U.S. Congress Ukrainian Caucus and think tanks in Washington, D.C.: Kennan Institute / Wilson Center, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and National Democratic Institute.
The U.S. Ukrainian community is a traditional co-sponsor and participants of basically every Ukraine-related cultural and social event in the United States. The scope of their activities rangers from fundraising charitable concerts (all proceeds go to Ukraine as a humanitarian aid) to lobbing and raising awareness among the members of the U.S. Congress. The leading role in the U.S. Ukrainian community belongs to such organizations as the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukrainian Federation of America, the Ukrainian-American Coordinating Council, the US-Ukraine Foundation, the Washington Group, the Association of Citizens of Ukraine, the Ukrainian-American Environmental Association, the Ukrainian Society of Engineers and Doctors of America, the SUM and PLAST youth organizations, «The Fourth Wave», «Razom», «United Help Ukraine», «US Ukrainian Activists» and many others all over the country.
There are round forty Ukrainian Weekend Schools in the U.S. They are aimed at the preservation of the Ukrainian language and maintaining national cultural traditions and patriotism. This success story is based on the enthusiasm and dedication of the local Ukrainian communities willing to raise dignified new generations of young US Ukrainians.
Another area of humanitarian cooperation pertains to the academic and professional exchanges between Ukraine and the United States that have been ongoing since the early 1990s and financed by the U.S. Congress, the Department of State and USAID, and implemented through a number of activist NGOs, notably the Council of the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), the American Councils for International Education, as well as the «Fulbright» and «Open World» programs.
Special attention is paid to raising awareness in the U.S. about The Ukrainian Great Famine (The Holodomor) of 1932-1933. The Embassy of Ukraine and the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness are currently finalizing the Victims of Holodomor Memorial project in Washington, D.C. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for the fall of 2015.