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Kule Ukrainian Canadian
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About the Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre

Ukrainian Canadian studies have been a high priority for the Institute since its inception in 1976. Indeed, CIUS has set the standard in the field for more than thirty years. CIUS has organized numerous national conferences on Ukrainians in Canada, exploring diverse themes ranging from religious traditions to cultural expression and community life. Much important research has been undertaken and many groundbreaking books have been published by the CIUS Press on the subject of Ukrainians in Canada.

To mark the centennial of Ukrainian settlement in Canada in 1992, CIUS created a permanent half-time position in Ukrainian Canadian studies. This post was filled from 1992-2000 by Dr. Frances Swyripa. The work of the Ukrainian Canadian Program (UCP) was subsequently taken over by Jars Balan and Andrij Makuch, who continue to coordinate the Institute’s endeavours in the field of Ukrainian Canadian studies while simultaneously working on their research specialities. In 2007 the UPC was elevated in status with the creation of the Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre (KUCSC) at CIUS. This was made possible thanks to a generous endowment established by the well-known educational philanthropists, Drs. Peter and Doris Kule of Edmonton.

Our Mission

The Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre at CIUS is dedicated to promoting scholarship on all aspects of the history of Ukrainians in Canada. It is equally concerned to produce high quality publications on subjects that pertain to the evolution of the Ukrainian Canadian community and issues relevant to its contemporary existence. One of the goals of the KUCSC is to provide accurate and detailed information about Ukrainians in Canada. Another objective is to facilitate the integration of the Ukrainian experience into the narrative of Canadian history.

By working with graduate and undergraduate students, the Centre also plays a key role in nurturing and developing the next generation of specialists in the field. It collaborates with other scholars and academic institutions in Canada and Ukraine on projects of mutual interest, and similarly partners with volunteer organizations dedicated to the preservation of Ukrainian Canadian heritage.

The Centre at the same time realizes that it has a responsibility to serve, as best it can, the needs of the general public and the Ukrainian Canadian community. Although constrained by the limitations of its human and financial resources, the KUCSC attempts to provide advice and practical assistance to individuals and groups with requests that fall within the competence of its staff and associates.

Publishing

The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies has over the years published a great many books as well as research reports on topics that are germane to Ukrainian Canadian studies. Special issues of the Journal of Ukrainian Studies have also been devoted to Ukrainian-Canadian themes. Furthermore, the coordinators of the KUCSC regularly have their own articles published in conference proceedings, essay collections and the media, thereby contributing to the growing body of literature that is available on a wide variety of topics dealing with Ukrainian Canadian history.

The Centre is especially committed to producing a comprehensive, multi-volume scholarly account of the development of the Ukrainian community in Canada from 1892 to the present. It is active in the writing and updating of the Ukrainian-Canadian entries in the highly-respected English-language Encyclopedia of Ukraine, currently being revised and digitized. In the meantime, the Centre is preparing to a launch a new series under the imprint of CANU Books, which will put out quality trade titles and other publications that will expand the resources that are available on Ukrainian life in Canada.

Since 2004 KUCSC has been producing a quarterly digital bulletin, “Field Notes from Ukrainian Canada,” providing news about its activities as well as useful information about developments in the field of Ukrainian Canadian studies. Besides listing new publications and films, databases and dissertations, the bulletin announces and reports on conferences and usually includes a feature article on a subject of Ukrainian-Canadian interest. To subscribe to this electronically disseminated newsletter, contact KUCSC administrative co-ordinator Jars Balan at jbalan@ualberta.ca.

Conferences

The KUCSC is committed to organizing conferences that advance the study of Ukrainians in Canada by stimulating fresh research by scholars and graduate students. Over the decades of CIUS’s existence, periodic gatherings of Ukrainian Canadian specialists have been held on many different themes, often resulting in publications.

The coordinators and associates of the KUCSC at the same time take part in meetings, workshops and academic symposia across Canada and internationally. In recent years they have delivered papers at scholarly conferences in Toronto, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax, London, Ottawa, Quebec City, Calgary, and Edmonton, as well as Ann Arbor (USA), Nizhen and Chernivtsi ( Ukraine). They regularly attend the sessions organized by the Canadian Association of Slavists and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association, and hope to increasingly participate in the Diaspora Studies conferences that are becoming more common in Ukraine.

Upcoming conferences in the early planning stages include one on the post-Second World War immigration to Canada and another that will examine Ukrainian community relations across the Canada-US border and within the wider Ukrainian Diaspora. The KUCSC also joins with other groups in hosting events that include Ukrainian Canadian sessions, and participates in panels that address issues in the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Community Outreach

Community outreach has always been a very important part of the work of Ukrainian Canadian studies at CIUS. Over the years, the Ukrainian Canadian Program offered workshops and courses on popular topics such as­ Ukrainian foods, folk medicine, dance and family history in various off-campus settings. The KUCSC co-ordinators and associates are available upon request to give public talks and to speak at organizational events.

In 1991 CIUS along with Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism spearheaded the creation of­ the Kalyna Country Ecomuseum, which is now regarded as the largest and one of the most successful ecomuseum projects in the world. Thanks to the experience gained through his on-going involvement in the development of Kalyna Country, KUCSC administrative coordinator Jars Balan has travelled on several occasions to southern and central Ukraine to consult on ecotourism and heritage conservation initiatives in rural areas of Kherson and Cherkasy oblasts.

Because of the rapidly evolving communications environment and the changing circumstances and demographic make-up of the Ukrainian community in Canada, the KUCSC has been receiving a growing number of queries for advice and assistance from scholars, students, journalists, writers and filmmakers, as well as members of the general public pursuing research projects dealing with family histories. While it is often difficult to reply to the many phone calls and emails that we now routinely receive, it is hoped that the additional funds provided by the Kule endowment will enable the Centre to more efficaciously respond to the obvious need for this public service.


The Diaspora Studies Initiative at KUCSC

In the fall of 2006 Drs. Peter and Doris Kule gave a lead donation of $100,000 to create an endowment for the study of the Ukrainian Diaspora. Through this endowment the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies established the Ukrainian Diaspora Studies Initiative (UDSI) within the Ukrainian Canadian Program. The Diaspora Studies Initiative is headed by Dr. Serge Cipko, an historian and the author of many studies on Ukrainian settlements abroad. According to the Ukrainian World Congress, there are around twenty million people of Ukrainian descent living outside of Ukraine (http://ukrainianworldcongress.org/info/index.html), a number that is greater than the combined population of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. At the turn of the twentieth century, mass migration from Ukraine resulted in the establishment of large Ukrainian communities in North and South America, and within the Russian Empire in an area in the Far East known as the Green Wedge (Zelenyi klyn). More recently, at the turn of the twenty-first century, large-scale migration from Ukraine has been directed to Portugal, Spain, and Italy, where before 1991 there was hardly any Ukrainian immigration, as well as to neighbouring countries such as Russia and Poland. The UDSI has begun conducting investigations into these diverse Ukrainian settlements, assisting scholars with their research and monitoring trends in the Ukrainian Diaspora. It issues an electronic newsletter, “Ukrainians Abroad: News and Views,” which compiles news stories about Ukrainians living beyond the borders of Ukraine. To subscribe, send an email to scipko@ualberta.ca.