“Your university [the Ukrainian Catholic University] is the most progressive. Very much depends precisely on you. Ukraine is changing thanks to active citizens. Your activity is an important part of how the world will accept Ukraine.” With these words the President of the Ukrainian World Congress, Eugene Czolij, addressed students of the Ukrainian Catholic University.
The UWC President visited UCU at the start of December, as part of his visit to Lviv. He met with Natalia Klymovska, UCU’s Vice-Rector for Communications and Development; Ihor Skochylias, UCU’s Vice-Rector for Research; Volodymyr Holyk, Director of UCU’s School of Rehabilitation Medicine; and students.
Eugene Czolij told UCU’s students about the main activities of the World Congress of Ukrainians and the networks of its Ukrainian civic organizations in 53 countries of the world, which in particular focus on all-around support of Ukraine. In particular, about the international action Inextinguishable Candle, a joint project of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Coordinating Committee of the Ukrainian World Congress to mark the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. A torch lit in Australia was brought from country to country, and in this way it visited 33 countries of the world. “Some 25 or 30 years ago professors from various countries did not exactly know what I’m talking about. Today, thanks to our various projects, like Inextinguishable Candle, 16 countries of the world with corresponding acts acknowledged the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. On the one hand, it’s a great step forward, But…” admitted Eugene Czolij.
UCU’s students also learned that the UWC is involved with the question of Ukraine’s entering the EU. “We are now working together with various international institutions to find a formula for signing agreements. Because of a referendum in Holland, this process slowed down. We are also actively engaged in the process of accepting a visa-less regime for Ukrainian citizens. Unfortunately, there is a conflict among European structures regarding this question. Until these conflicts are resolved, the question of a visa-less regime will not move forward,” explained the head of the UWC.
Eugene Czolij emphasized the importance of work in the field of information. In his words, it’s necessary to present Ukraine in a true light and in such a way as to combat Russian disinformation, which tries to show that Ukraine is a failed state.
“The American Secretary of State revealed that the aggressor state spends 1 billion, 4 million rubles yearly to disinform the world. In 30 languages, 130 countries of the world, and so we have 600 million people. Today 1.5 billion people use Facebook, and our common task every day is to check on disinformation about Ukraine and combat it.”
The UWC President gave special attention to the importance of building up UCU’s School of Rehabilitation Medicine, which was founded by Dr. Ulana Suprun, former director of humanitarian initiatives of the UWC and current acting Minister of Health of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Holyk, Academic Director of UCU’s School of Rehabilitation Medicine, talked about the School’s activities and the use of western knowledge to educate medical workers in the field of rehabilitation in accordance with international standards.
“Ukraine is in dire need of rehabilitation specialists. For a population of 42 million there are 2 occupational therapists and 86 members of the Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapy, who only in August 2016 received an official name for their specialty. To compare: Canada has a population of 35 million with 24 thousand physical therapists and more than 9 thousand occupational therapists. UCU’s newly-created School of Rehabilitation Medicine is called to change this situation,” admitted Volodymyr Holyk, Director of the School of Rehabilitation Medicine.