Traditionally, the International Institute of Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations, Lviv Polytechnic National University, begins the new year with strategic sessions and meetings with key international partners. And this year is no exception. Implementing the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), on January 26, 2021, the IECDR team held a strategic planning session with Pavlo Sadokha, UWC Regional Vice President in Western Europe, and Vira Konyk, Regional Vice President of Central and Eastern Europe.
Introducing the main participants of the strategic session, Iryna Kliuchkovska, Director of IECDR, stressed that these foreign Ukrainians are highly respected not only in Ukraine but also in the countries where they live: «It is very important that you, Mz. Konyk, actively participate in the meetings at the highest state level – with the President of Estonia, with representatives of the parliament of your country of residence and many others. State awards from Estonia also testify to your achievements». «Pavlo Sadokha, who is doing a lot for Ukraine today, is the guardian of Ukrainians and all Ukrainian in Western Europe,» said the IECDR Director.
At the strategic session, IECDR presented proposals for joint actions coordination – a number of projects of the Institute, the implementation of which is planned for 2021, as well as mechanisms for their joint implementation within the European continent.
In addition, representatives from Europe outlined current issues and priorities facing their agenda.
Vira Konyk emphasized that Central and Eastern Europe is a very complex and diverse region: «There are several strata of Ukrainians: indigenous Ukrainians who need special attention and steps to preserve their identity; the so-called Soviet diaspora, which is quickly assimilating, and not to the indigenous nation, but to Russia; a new migration wave, which is mostly represented by migrant workers. Another feature is the post-socialist countries (Poland, Bulgaria, Romania), where a specific policy was introduced at one time, and, of course, Transnistria. That is why the policy towards all these different types of Ukrainians must be different». As the UWC Regional Vice President noted, «another challenge has been exacerbating in Central and Eastern Europe today: the strengthening of pro-Russian sentiment in Ukrainian communities, particularly in Latvia. And we really need the Ukrainian community to be pro-Ukrainian, because in general it is a question of national security of our country».
Pavlo Sadokha spoke about the problems of Ukrainian schooling in European countries and the implementation of the educational process in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular the procedures for teaching and testing in foreign Ukrainian schools. «We had many meetings on this topic with Ukrainian ambassadors, who confirmed that this is indeed a priority issue to solve, but so far there is no result,» the UWC Vice President said. According to Pavlo Sadokha, the active opening of so-called Ukrainian classes in Russian schools may have an additional negative impact, which may negatively affect the patriotic upbringing of Ukrainian youth in Europe and only strengthen pro-Russian influence on this age group.
Finally, the UWC Vice Presidents expressed their gratitude to IECDR for the inspiring and constructive meeting.