USUF in the News and Other Updates
Oleh Shamshur, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, with USUF staff (04/04/ 2006)
Summer 2005 Youth Leaders and USUF's Vera Andrushkiw with the recently appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States, Oleh Shamshur
Analysis by Markian Bilynskyj
Markian Bilynskyj is the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation's Vice President and Director of Field Operations in Ukraine.
The views expressed by Mr. Bilynskyj are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Mr. Bilynskyj may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Important News
The Co-Chairs of the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Ambassadors Steven Pifer and William Green Miller, today criticized the December 20 statement by the press service of Ukraines Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP), as published on MAUPs web-site. That statement is factually wrong on several counts.
First, the MAUP press statement claims that there is no connection between recent statements by MAUP and efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation to graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Coalition representatives, however, in recent contacts with Congress have heard considerable concern about the anti-Semitic nature of MAUP statements, in particular those statements expressing MAUPs support for the Iranian president following his outrageous remarks regarding Israel. There can be no place for anti-Semitism in a modern European democracy.
Second, the MAUP press statement attributes several quotes to Mark Levin, Director of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry (NCSJ). Mr. Levin, a very active and supportive member of the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, has never made such comments. Indeed, he is extremely concerned that recent MAUP statements will weaken support for Jackson-Vanik graduation among those Jewish-American organizations that make up the NCSJ.
Third, the MAUP press statement falsely suggests that Ihor Gawdiak, President of the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, is an opponent of graduating Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik. To the contrary, Mr. Gawdiak has long supported graduating Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik and has been closely involved with the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition since its founding. Mr. Gawdiak has criticized earlier MAUP statements precisely because of his outrage at the nature of those statements and because they could delay Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation condemns the November 4, 2005 statements by the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP) as hateful, virulent and having no place in the public discourse in Ukraine or anywhere else. MAUPs anti-Semitic statements supporting the Iranian President's recent call for Israel to be wiped off the map was an affront to decency that provoked the unequivocal international condemnation it deserved.
Even before Ukraines independence the leadership council of the democratic movement, Rukh, included representatives of all religious and ethnic groups in Ukraine and advocated religious and ethnic tolerance and cooperation. Since independence one of the most notable achievements of each successive government of Ukraine has been a consistent commitment to defending the religious and ethnic rights of all the people of Ukraine. Current President Victor Yushchenko has continued this unambiguous commitment by pledging to bring minority groups together and reconciling historic conflicts.
The International Religious Freedom Report for 2005, published by the U.S. State Department, recognized that President Yushchenko has, since taking office, spoken publicly about his vision of a Ukraine in which religious freedom flourishes and people are genuinely free to worship as they please.
There is no place in any civilized society for the type of vicious and malignant sentiments being espoused in the name of MAUP. Such ugly views must be openly and unequivocally denounced and not allowed to influence and distort either Ukraines domestic or external dialogue.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, is a non-for-profit organization working in Ukraine for 15 years to facilitate democratic development, encourage free market reform, and enhance human rights in Ukraine. The Foundation creates and sustains channels of communication between the United States and Ukraine for the purpose of Building Peace and Prosperity Through Shared Democratic Values. USUF is dedicated to strengthening the mutual objectives of both nations while advancing Ukraine as a cornerstone of regional stability and as a full partner in the community of nations.