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Kule Ukrainian Canadian
Studies Centre

From the Co-ordinators: New Challenges, Fresh Opportunities

With the creation of the Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre and the inauguration of the Diaspora Studies Initiative, the work of the former Ukrainian Canadian Program has entered a new and exciting phase of development. Increasingly hampered in recent years by budgetary constraints, the KUCSC can now begin addressing some of the challenges and opportunities that have arisen with the changes in the Ukrainian Canadian community, the nature of scholarly research, and the transformation of communications technology.

As always, the focus of the Centre’s efforts will be the study of Ukrainian settlement and community life in Canada. Although research into the interwar and post-Second World War periods are the Centre’s major priorities at the present time, new work continues to be done on the pioneer era and information is also being gathered on the latest of wave of Ukrainian immigration and on contemporary Ukrainian-Canadian organizational life.

An on-going concern is the fate of archival collections and libraries that are essential not only for scholars but for the preservation of the Ukrainian heritage in Canada. In recent years, CIUS has been approached by a growing number of institutions and individuals with requests for assistance in disposing of collections of books and files documenting various aspects of Ukrainian life in Canada. Evaluating and finding a home for these resources is often difficult and time-consuming, but the Centre has been trying to play a helpful role in this process so as to prevent the loss of many valuable books. For instance, in collaboration with the Alberta Ukrainian Heritage Foundation and the Alberta Ukrainian Pioneers’ Association, KUCSC has started to assemble duplicates of Ukrainian-Canadian books for shipping to academic institutions and Diaspora Studies Centres in Ukraine.

The launching of the Diaspora Studies Initiative provides another example of how the Ukrainian Program has evolved with its elevation to a full-fledged centre. The Ukrainian Canadian community has had a long and rich history of interaction with Ukrainians in the United States, South America, Europe and Australia. By branching out into investigations of these and other Ukrainian settlements abroad, new insights can be gained into cross-border relations and it will be possible to assess how Ukrainian Canadians immigrants have fared in comparison to their ethnic kinsmen who settled in very different and far-flung countries.

The KUSCS is especially excited about the close working relationship that it has begun to forge with the Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore at the University of Alberta. While the latter is primarily focussed on the study of popular culture and oral history, whereas the KUSCS concentrates its efforts on the history of community organizations and the fine arts, Ukrainian participation in Canadian society, and the achievements of prominent Ukrainian Canadians, both centres have overlapping areas of interest and complement each other in terms of their research specialities.

So there is much to be done.

We therefore encourage other supporters of Ukrainian Canadian studies to come forward like the Drs. Peter and Doris Kule have, with donations to our new centre. The timing couldn’t be better. Thanks to the Province of Alberta’s matching gifts program, large donations to CIUS are eligible to be doubled by the government, ensuring donors can maximize the impact of any investment they make in the future of Ukrainian Canadian studies.