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Cultural and humanitarian cooperation
24 April 2020 17:21

Information updated as to May 2020

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 cultural and humanitarian cooperation and promoting traditions, history and cultural heritage of Ukraine in the U.S.

All types of Ukrainian art, including art exhibitions, concerts of classical, folk and popular music, film screenings are widely represented throughout the United States.

Over the last several years, Ukrainian stars such as the winner of «Eurovision-2004» Ruslana Lyzhychko, rock bands «Okean Elzy», «DakhaBrakha» and «KAZKA», pop singers Anastasia Prykhodko and Bria Blessing, folk duo «Gerdan» (Solomia Gorohivska and Andriy Pidkivka), bandura band «Shpyliasti kobzari», 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 five years, Ukrainian films «Dobrobaty», «Homeward», «Cold Blood», «Cyborgs», «Povodyr» («The Guide»), «Haytarma» («The Return»), «Plem’ya» («The Tribe») and «The Russian Woodpecker» were successfully screened in the United States. In 2019, a miniseries about Ukraine «Chernobyl» was very popular on HBO, and on NETFLIX one can watch a movie about the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine «Winter on Fire. Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom». The exhibition «Not just the bullets» started its tour around the US and Art Exhibit «The Revolution of Dignity: Images of Ukrainian Maidan 2013-2014» returned this year to the Ukrainian Embassy.

From the moment of establishment of the Ukrainian Embassy in the US, traditionally the «Ukrainian Embassy’s Open House» (the beginning of May) generates great interest among the American public. During these annual events visitors have a chance to mingle and communicate with the 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 Ukrainian cuisine.

There is also a great interest by U.S. audience in the traditional cultural and charity events held at the Embassy of Ukraine. The most popular among these are the concerts of classical and folk music, co-sponsored by the cultural and charity organizations of US «Revived Soldiers Ukraine», «US Ukrainian Activists», «International Club of DC», «Things to do in DC» and the «Embassy Series».

One of the brightest examples of cooperation between the security agencies of US and the Embassy of Ukraine was the return of two paintings, Mikhail N. Panin's «Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible before the Oprichnina» and Louis Goudreaux's «An Amorous Couple», to the cultural heritage fund of Ukraine.

A number of cultural and public diplomacy projects have been organized together with the U.S. Congress, such as the 2020 briefing «Heroes Of Liberty: Enhancing Well Being, Resilience, And Civic Engagement Of Ukrainian Veterans» with Ukrainian veterans, which focused on Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine and the development of post war rehabilitation system in Ukraine.

Similarly, such events are organized together with NGOs and think-tanks, such as a series of events in Washington in 2020 with the famous Ukrainian filmmaker and former Kremlin political prisoner Oleg Sentsov.

The U.S. Ukrainian community plays a significant role in promoting Ukrainian culture, traditions and art in the U.S., as well as in raising awareness about Ukraine among US policymakers. The leading U.S. Ukrainian organizations include 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 around forty Ukrainian weekend schools in the U.S., which aim to preserve the Ukrainian language and culture.

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 are financed by the U.S. Congress, Department of State and USAID, and implemented through a number of 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. A monument to the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine was erected in Washington, D.C. in 2015, and is located near the U.S. Congress.

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