A Message from the CIUS Director

 

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Greetings to all supporters of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies!

CIUS has been busy wrapping up various fall projects. I hope you had a chance to attend our virtual lectures and seminars either at the time of their presentation on Zoom and Facebook or after they were posted on the CIUS YouTube channel. It is impossible for me to list all the events here and thank the guest speakers and individuals involved in the organization of these events. Please check out our latest CIUS Newsletter for more detailed information on many CIUS activities and developments. Expect your copy of the newsletter to arrive soon in the mail if you are a subscriber.

2020 has been a year of anticipation and change for CIUS. At the beginning of the year, the search for the institute's director was occupying the minds of many stakeholders, members, and supporters of CIUS. While still awaiting the appointment of a new director, in early spring the institute plunged into the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. A swift adaptation was required of members of the institute, and, embracing new challenges, the team effectively adjusted, delivering successful programming and engaging in various initiatives. My arrival in the summer coincided with many other changes at the University of Alberta, which as a whole has been facing significant ongoing transformations in order to become a leaner and better-operated campus. With a second pandemic wave in the fall, we all faced further restrictions in our lives and work environment. Yet my CIUS colleagues, by now all well-versed in virtual collaboration, continued their excellent work, ensuring the success of our programs, events, and partnerships. 

Other more constructive changes were happening on the ground at the same time and I can only mention a few here. The institute successfully negotiated the enhancement of our CIUS post-doctoral fellowship program. Our post-doctoral fellows will now have the option to be co-hosted at the University of Alberta by the departments of Anthropology, History, Classics, and Religious Studies, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, Political Science, or Sociology. This collaboration will allow emerging scholars to engage with Ukrainian studies at CIUS and various disciplinary and interdisciplinary networks spanning the U of A campus. Another exciting development is the inauguration of the Temerty Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Holodomor studies, offered under the auspices of the institute's Holodomor Education and Research Consortium. I am equally pleased to share the renewed call for applications for the Bayduza Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship for the Study of Modern and Contemporary Ukraine. In addition to these post-doctoral opportunities, the institute continues to offer awards and fellowships at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as research grants.

Institutional administration and governance have both seen some enhancements as well. The institute's organizational chart was redeveloped. An executive committee represented by the senior officers of the institute was established, and its terms of references were finalized. The role of a Community Relations Coordinator was created. Two working groups have been mobilized to produce recommendations to the CIUS Director and the institute's Executive on how to enhance working protocols concerning record keeping, file sharing, communication, and public outreach strategies. These new teams will be working toward this end for the next several months after which they will share their recommendations with the senior administration. Our Toronto Office has moved. A notable change in the Edmonton Office, meanwhile, is the renovated boardroom. We are looking forward to using it once restrictions are lifted. All these and other changes and initiatives have kept us busy. 

With the year nearing its end, the time has come to embrace the arrival of 2021 and to bid proper farewell to the eventful 2020 that kept us all on our toes. As we are already in the season of winter holidays, I wish all you a very Merry Christmas and much happiness and joy in the new year! The institute is looking forward to reconnecting with all its supporters in 2021. Please visit our website and social media platforms to see what is being planned and join us in our next events.

Meanwhile, stay well and healthy,

Natalia Khanenko-Friesen,

CIUS Director